Skip to main content

Mt. Sinai Temple



  • Existence: 1901 - 1994


The first Jews arrived in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1860s. The population was initially too small to establish a congregation, but several other Jewish organizations were formed between 1869 and 1892. First, they established was a small cemetery called House of Peace. By 1869, the Jewish Cemetery Association was formed. The Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society (later called the Jewish Ladies’ Aid Society and the Mt. Sinai Cemetery Association were formed in 1884. In 1892, the Hebrew Ladies’ Friendship Association was formed. As a result of the Galveston Project, which encouraged immigrating Jews to settle west of the Mississippi, the Jewish population of Sioux City exceeded 2,500 by 1919 and included orthodox, reform, and conservative communities. In 1892, Adas Yeshurun, a small orthodox congregation, opened. In 1894, the Orthodox Jewish community set up the Hebrew Charity Association. At the turn of the century, two orthodox shuls, Tifereth Israel (1907) and Congregation Beth Abraham (1910) were established on the west side of Sioux City At the same time, the women of Mt. Sinai formed a chapter of the Council of Jewish Women. The city’s reform congregation, Mt. Sinai Temple, was founded in 1901 and led by Rabbi Leiser. In 1914, Conservative Jews broke away from the orthodox congregations to set up the short lived United Synagogue with Rabbi Waxman. After this, the Ladies Auxiliary of Shaare Zion represented Conservative Judaism in Sioux City, followed by the 1927 dedication of Shaare Zion Synagogue. Rabbi Rabinowitz stayed with the congregation for over twenty years. The orthodox community was served by Rabbi Bolotnikov from 1936 until his death in 1995 at the age of 88. The Jewish community organized the Federation of Jewish Social Services in 1921. In 1942, they established the Jewish Federation of Sioux City and opened a Jewish Community Center. The Center was open to members of all Jewish congregations and provided a space all activities and organizations in the Sioux City Jewish community. Some groups that used the facilities included: B’nai B’rith, Aleph Zadik Aleph or A.Z.A. – a Jewish boys club, the Jewish Women’s Red Cross that became the Hadassah chapter, Junior Hadassah, Pioneer Women, the Zionists of America, the Council of Jewish Women, Workmen’s Circle, the National Worker’s Alliance, the Auxiliary Women’s Circle, the Mizrachi, the Sioux City Independent Farane, the Hebrew Mother’s Club, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Young Council, the Ivre Club, the B’nai B’rith Girls and AWR Girls. The Sioux City Jewish population peaked at just over 3,000 people in the 1950s, but the population began to dwindle in the following decades. In 1955, the three orthodox shuls merged into a single Orthodox congregation. The congregations’ schools and the Jewish Federation’s Hebrew school consolidated in the 1980s. In 1994, Shaare Zion and Mt. Sinai merged into Congregation Beth Shalom. The Jewish Community Center closed the same year. In 1984 and 2001, the Sioux City Jewish community threw reunions, inviting people who had moved away to come back and reminisce.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Shaare Zion Synagogue / Mt. Sinai Temple records

Identifier: IWA1041

Records of Sioux City’s Shaare Zion Synagogue, Mt. Sinai Temple, Congregation Beth Shalom, and the Jewish Federation of Sioux City.

Dates: 1901-2015