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Mt. Sinai Jewish New Year Bulletin

Date: 1947


Description: This is a bulletin posted for the Jewish New Year by the Mount Sinai Temple, the first Jewish religious house here in Sioux City. Mount Sinai is a Reform Jewish Temple, started in 1898. Jewish people were among the earliest peoples of Sioux City, showing up as early as 1869. The first Jewish settler in Sioux City was Godfrey Hattenbach and with his son-in-law, David A. Magee, he started the Mt. Sinai Cemetery Association in 1884 to form a Jewish cemetery for the settlers of Sioux City. Land was purchased adjoining Floyd Cemetery, and today this land is the Mt. Sinai section within Floyd Cemetery. Jewish women formed the Ladies Aid Society, and it conducted the first Jewish school in town. These ladies were the main driving force behind the building of the temple.


Before Mt. Sinai Jewish ceremonies were usually held at the Unitarian Church, and Jewish rabbis and speakers were often invited there by the Reverend Mary Safford. The Mt. Sinai Congregation was founded in 1898 and their first order of business was to build a Jewish temple with a permanent rabbi. They purchased a lot at 14th and Nebraska and appointed Rabbi Emil Ellinger out of a series of applicants. It took the Congregation three years to gather the funds necessary, mostly from donations from Jewish people within Sioux City, but eventually Mt. Sinai Temple was built and dedicated in 1901. Since then the temple has grown with the Jewish population and despite difficulties and several buildings, the Mt. Sinai Temple still runs today as part of Congregation Beth Shalom. It is one of the many Jewish houses that stand today, but its rich history still marks it as the first. Today Sioux City has one of the largest Jewish populations in Iowa, and significant percentage of them belong to the Mt. Sinai Temple in some way.


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