Congregation Sons of Israel

Congregation Sons of Israel (HM2H2O)

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N 43° 33.022', W 96° 43.857'

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First Jewish House of Worship in South Dakota

—1916 —

Since the territorial days of 1870s, Jewish people have played an important role in the social, economic and cultural life of South Dakota. In the 1880s, Sioux Falls experienced an influx of Reformed Jews from Germany, who became some of the city's leading merchants and entrepreneurs.

In 1903, the Mt. Zion Cemetery Society was formed by the Reformed Jews. On October 5, 1910, it was announced in a Sioux Falls newspaper that another group, the Orthodox Jews had engaged in meetings that resulted in the first steps taken toward the acquisition of a synagogue.
Finally, in October of 1916, a merger of the two groups was achieved and the Congregation Sons of Israel was created and chartered. A church building, formerly the United Evangelical Church, located at 320 North Minnesota Ave. was purchased. It became the first Synagogue in the State of South Dakota.

But the merger lasted only a couple of years as differences in ritual and practice caused a separation. The Orthodox Jews retained the name Sons of Israel and continued to worship in the temple at 320 North Minnesota Avenue, while the Reformed Jews had to plan for their future. On September 29, 1919, they met at the home of Julius Kuh to discuss a strategy to create a congregation using the Reformed ritual and secure a permanent Rabbi.

They chose the name Mt. Zion Congregation

and in 1924, they purchased the Grace Chapel Lutheran church at 14th and Duluth Avenue in Sioux Falls. For two years, both religions shared the same house of God. They separated in 1926 after the Lutherans built a new church. Thereafter, the Mt. Zion people rededicated the old Lutheran church a Jewish house of worship.

The Sons of Israel sold their synagogue on North Minnesota Avenue, and for several years thereafter they had no house of worship. Then in 1934, the sons of Israel relocated in a new temple at 610 South Dakota Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Congregation Sons of Israel was created in accordance with the sacred American principles of freedom of religion and assembly.
HM NumberHM2H2O
Series This marker is part of the series
Year Placed2019
Placed ByJewish American Society for Historic Preservation and the Minnehaha County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, May 24th, 2019 at 11:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14T E 683289 N 4824436
Decimal Degrees43.55036667, -96.73095000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 33.022', W 96° 43.857'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 33' 1.3199999999999" N, 96° 43' 51.42" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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