Shaarai Tov / Temple Israel of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1878 –

Temple Israel, Formerly Congregation Shaarai Tov, 1878 –


In 1877, the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society was established in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Shaarai Tov was founded in 1878 as an Orthodox congregation.

Twenty three founders rented space at Nicollet and Washington Avenues.


Rabbi Henry Friedman was the first Rabbi.

In 1879, Rabbi Schrieber became their Rabbi.


In 1880, after Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Henry Ilowizi became the leader of Shaarai Tov.

He led the congregation to change their Orthodox worship style and developed a “Conservative Reform” style of worship.

Rabbi Ilowizi started the practice of Confirmation for teenagers, instead of the Bar Mitzvah. 

He officiated at public conversions.

The synagogue’s new prayer book now included both Hebrew and English.


The First Building

Shaarai Tov’s first building, built in the Moorish revival style, was located at 5th Street and Marquette Avenue.

In 1888, Shaarai Tov moved to Tenth Street and Fifth Avenue South.

It burned down in 1902.

In 1903, Shaarai Tov dedicated a new synagogue building on the old site.

Temple Israel, Minneapolis

Temple Israel, Minneapolis

In 1902, Rabbi Samuel Deinard became the Rabbi of Shaarai Tov.

He founded the American Jewish World, a newsletter for the Twin Cities.


Temple Israel

In 1920, Shaarai Tov joined the Reform Movement and the congregation changed its name to Temple Israel.

Rabbi Albert Minda became the new Rabbi and served Temple Israel for 43 years.

He led Temple Israel in the construction of a new building.

In 1928, the congregation moved into their new synagogue at 2324 Emerson Avenue.

Temple Israel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Temple Israel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This building was designed by Jack Liebenberg.

Rabbi Minda helped found the Minnesota Urban League and Minneapolis Round Table of Christians and Jews.


In 1963, Rabbi Max Shapiro was the next Rabbi of Temple Israel.

In 1985, Temple Israel was the 10th largest Reform synagogue in North America.


Around 1987, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman became the first woman Rabbi on staff at Temple Israel

In 2001, she became the first woman Senior Rabbi of a congregation of more than 2,000 families.



Plaut, W. Gunther.  The Jews in Minnesota: the first seventy five years. New York: American Jewish Historical Society, 1959.


Samantha Silver is curator for this Exhibit.

Older pictures of the synagogue, artifacts, etc. would be appreciated.