Good Neighbors: The Beth Jacob Synagogue Gets Involved

In December 2002, members of the MMDC approached members of the Beth Jacob Congregation, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Mendota Heights only one mile from Pilot Knob, asking for their help in opposing the development. According to one congregation member, members of the Beth Jacob synagogue were motivated to get involved because disturbing the burial grounds of anyone is inconsistent with Jewish teachings. Another member of the congregation’s Social Justice Committee said that he felt motivated to support the MMDC because of their shared identity as religious minorities in Mendota Heights that have to cooperate to protect their sacred places. The Social Justice Committee, which addresses issues of social justice in the immediate community, decided to spearhead the congregation’s action supporting the MMDC. Both the Social Justice Committee and the Congregation’s Board of Directors wrote letters to the City Council supporting protection of this sacred site.

In July 2003, residents of Mendota Heights, including Bruce White, decided to create a multi-faith, multi-ethnic organization dedicated to preserving Pilot Knob. In September, they incorporated the Pilot Knob Preservation Association (PKPA). In February 2004, the PKPA compiled The Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob Burial Register and presented it to the City Council to impress upon the Council that the bluff is indeed a cemetery that must be left undeveloped.1

  1. Pilot Knob Preservation Association. "The Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob Burial Register." Pilot Knob Preservation. Last modified February 17, 2004. Accessed June 20, 2015.