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The St. Louis Park Eruv (Jewish Neighborhood)
Authored by Jacob Cohn, Maggie Goldberger, Maya Margolis
St. Louis Park, an inner-ring suburb which borders the west side of Minneapolis, has a disproportionately large population of observant Jews, and close-knit Orthodox and Conservative communities are based there. Several of the city’s congregations, such as the Orthodox Kenesseth Israel and the Conservative Bnai Emet, have long histories in Minneapolis and relocated to St. Louis Park in the 1950s and 1960s, along with many of their members. The heart of the Jewish population lies within the eruv, an area of around one square mile, symbolically bounded for Talmudic legal reasons but which has taken on a larger meaning for the community. Our project summarizes the history of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Park Jewish communities and the eruv, and explores the ways in which living in a concentrated community affects the religious and cultural life of the Jewish community in St. Louis Park. We have also attempted to chart the changes that have occurred within the community and how different strains of Judaism in the eruv relate to both each other and the broader (non-Jewish) community in St. Louis Park. Finally, my research has given me an idea of what challenges face the community and how Judaism is likely to grow in the future.