“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Congregation Sons of Israel

First Jewish House of Worship in South Dakota


— 1916 —

Congregation Sons of Israel Marker side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jerry Klinger, May 22, 2019
1. Congregation Sons of Israel Marker side 1
Inscription.  Since the territorial days of 1870s, Jewish people have played an important role in the social, economic and cultural life of South Dakota. In the 1880s, Sioux Falls experienced an influx of Reformed Jews from Germany, who became some of the city’s leading merchants and entrepreneurs.

In 1903, the Mt. Zion Cemetery Society was formed by the Reformed Jews. On October 5, 1910, it was announced in a Sioux Falls newspaper that another group, the Orthodox Jews had engaged in meetings that resulted in the first steps taken toward the acquisition of a synagogue. Finally, in October of 1916, a merger of the two groups was achieved and the Congregation Sons of Israel was created and chartered. A church building, formerly the United Evangelical Church, located at 320 North Minnesota Ave. was purchased. It became the first Synagogue in the State of South Dakota.

But the merger lasted only a couple of years as differences in ritual and practice caused a separation. The Orthodox Jews retained the name Sons of Israel and continued to worship in the temple at 320 North Minnesota Avenue, while the Reformed Jews had to plan for their future. On

Congregation Sons of Israel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jerry Klinger
2. Congregation Sons of Israel Marker
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September 29, 1919, they met at the home of Julius Kuh to discuss a strategy to create a congregation using the Reformed ritual and secure a permanent Rabbi.

They chose the name Mt. Zion Congregation and in 1924, they purchased the Grace Chapel Lutheran church at 14th and Duluth Avenue in Sioux Falls. For two years, both religions shared the same house of God. They separated in 1926 after the Lutherans built a new church. Thereafter, the Mt. Zion people rededicated the old Lutheran church a Jewish house of worship.

The Sons of Israel sold their synagogue on North Minnesota Avenue, and for several years thereafter they had no house of worship. Then in 1934, the sons of Israel relocated in a new temple at 610 South Dakota Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Congregation Sons of Israel was created in accordance with the sacred American principles of freedom of religion and assembly.
Erected 2019 by Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation and the Minnehaha County Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation Markers series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 29, 1919.
Location. 43° 33.022′ N, 96° 43.857′ W. Marker is in

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on Minnesota Avenue. Marker is located inside Van Eps Park adjacent, to the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 N Minnesota Avenue, Sioux Falls SD 57104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Baptist Church (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Law Exchange Block (about 700 feet away); The Minnehaha County Courthouse (about 700 feet away); Willey-Williams Building (about 800 feet away); The Hanging of an Innocent Man (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Deere (approx. 0.2 miles away); Quartzite Paving Stones (approx. 0.2 miles away); Divorce Capital (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sioux Falls.
More about this marker. Planned dedication was for 2016. It was deferred until 2019 due to the development of Van Eps Park.
Regarding Congregation Sons of Israel. Text was written by the Minnehaha County Historical Society with special note of the earliest presence of Jews in Sioux Falls. Consistent with first synagogue marker projects of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, the text reflects on American freedom of religion and assembly
Additional keywords. First Synagogue, ecumenicism, Jewish mid-western
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 23, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 157 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 23, 2019, by Jerry Klinger of Boynton Beach, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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May. 27, 2022