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Judaism is a monotheistic religion which has existed for millennia. There are roughly 14.3 million Jews worldwide, 0.2 % of the total population, with 43% of all Jews living in the United States and Canada and another 43% living in Israel. Judaism's core sacred text is the Torah, the Pentateuch or the Five Books believed to have been written by the prophet Moses. Informed by a tradition of the Oral Torah, the Talmud consists of authoritative early commentaries on Torah, and takes its place in the interpretive tradition that gives shape to Jewish law. There have emerged several major movements within modern Judaism including Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Reform Judaism. Each movement differs in their approach to Jewish Law and ritual practice.

Although there have been important Jewish communities from the earliest colonial days, the story of Judaism in America has been most deeply shaped by 19th and 20th century immigration. In the mid-19th century, Jewish immigrants came largely from Northern and Western Europe, where they had lived lives already integrated into the broader culture, education, economy, law, and polity. From the 1880s to the 1920s Jewish immigrants largely hailed from Eastern Europe, fleeing persecution and bringing with them the Yiddish language world of shtetl-based Jewish enclaves.

The story of Jews in Minnesota in many ways reflects the story of Jews in America, their exclusion and subsequent integration. Early Jewish history in Minnesota is marked by several waves of immigrant Jews who arrived in small numbers and began modest lives in metropolitan areas like St. Paul, where the first Jewish Organization in Minnesota, Mount Zion Temple, was founded. As more immigrants arrived, a strong network of Jewish social services began to spring up, many of which still exist today. Jews in Minnesota experienced significant anti-Semitism in the mid 20th century, some naming Minneapolis the capital of anti-Semitism in the United States. The oppression came in the form of employment, housing, and accommodation discrimination, which was particularly bad in Minneapolis, where Jewish immigrants were excluded from the social and economic practices of the established New Englanders. In the late 20th Century, decades of communal focus on hard work, assimilation, and education yielded relative integration into the greater Minnesota community, with many families leaving behind blue-collar jobs and moving towards the suburbs. Today, 30 synagogues and Jewish ritualistic religious spaces exist in Minnesota, with 45,750 Jews making up roughly 1.5 percent of the state's population.

The St. Louis Park Eruv (Jewish Neighborhood)


St. Louis Park, an inner-ring suburb which borders the west side of Minneapolis, has a disproportionately large population of observant...

Unpublished Exhibits

Mount Zion Temple and Jewish Public Discourse


Shir Tikvah: A Progressive Reform Community

Shir Tikvah, A progressive Reform synagogue located in Minneapolis, is a place where wonderful things are happening. Energetic prayer services,...

Joint Religious Legislative Coalition

Interfaith political advocacy organization between Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims