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Shaare Zion Synagogue / Mt. Sinai Temple records

Identifier: IWA1041

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Scope and Contents

The Shaare Zion records date from 1901 to 2007 and measure 10.2 linear feet. The records are split into six series: Shaare Zion (1914-2004), Mt. Sinai Temple (1951-1991), Congregation Beth Shalom (1994-2007), Jewish Federation of Sioux City (1935-2001), Photographs (1901-2001), Audiovisual (2004-2015) and Artifacts (1950-1984).

The Shaare Zion Synagogue series provides an overview of the inner workings and activities of Sioux City’s conservative Shaare Zion Synagogue from the early twentieth century until its merger with Mt. Sinai Temple in 1994. It is split into five sub-series. The Administrative sub-series has bylaws, records of board meetings, annual meetings, and of some committees. It also includes membership directories and birth and death records as kept in the synagogue’s Book of Life and Book of Remembrance. The Financial sub-series contains materials regarding budgets, building costs, employees, and scholarships. This sub-series also includes documentation of Shaare Zion synagogue’s sale prior to its merger with Mt. Sinai Temple. The Activities sub-series is made up of programs, newspaper clippings, and other records of Shaare Zion’s religious and social activities. The final sub-series documents the Shaare Zion’s Women’s League, as well as a few women’s groups that existed prior to its founding. These records contain meeting minutes, Torah Fund materials, event planning documents and related correspondence. This sub-series also includes two scrapbooks focusing on Women’s League activities.

The Mt. Sinai Temple series contains a small amount of materials regarding the history of Sioux City’s reform congregation, Mt. Sinai Temple, from a photocopy of its 1901 membership list to its last set of bylaws written a century later. Besides these items, the series includes materials related to services and buildings, and a 1969 history of the temple.

The third series, Congregation Beth Shalom, documents the 1994 merger of Shaare Zion Synagogue and Mt. Sinai Temple and the activities of the organization they formed, Congregation Beth Shalom. The series includes documentation of administrative, financial, and committee activity as well as religious school materials. Holocaust memorial materials can be found in this series within folders from the Congregation’s library and in parts of “Keeping the Faith: The Sioux City Jewish Community.”

The Jewish Federation of Sioux City was incorporated in 1942 and served as an umbrella organization for Jewish community activities that were untethered by congregation membership. The Federation was responsible for acquiring the Jewish Community Center, which hosted a variety of Jewish organizations and events from 1950-1994. The Jewish Federation of Sioux City series contains materials related to the Federation administration as well as activities that were organized by the Federation or took place in the Jewish Community Center. It is split into three sub-series.

The General sub-series is made up of administrative documents such as annual meeting reports, newsletters and a Jewish Federation yearbook, and documents concerning the Jewish Community Center building. In this series, there are also materials related to events that the Jewish Federation sponsored such as youth programs and the visiting exhibit “Here is Israel.” The General sub-series also contains issues of the newsletter "Regards from Home", a publication aimed at Jewish men serving in the military during World War II.

The Social and Service Organizations sub-series contains documents related to various social and service clubs of the Jewish community in Sioux City and held meetings or events at the Jewish Community Center. It includes materials of Sioux City chapters of international Jewish organizations like Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA), B’Nai B’rith, and Young Judea. Included also are Sioux City specific organizations such as the Inter-club council, the Newsboy Club, and the young women’s group, AWR. This sub-series also includes a file dedicated to Jewish community support of Jewish men serving overseas during World War II.

In the latter half of the twentieth century many Jewish people moved away from Sioux City, Iowa. The Jewish Federation helped to organize reunions in Sioux City in 1984 and 2001. The Sioux City Reunions sub-series houses materials related to the planning and execution of Homecoming 1984 and Homecoming 2001. It also includes the script “Yasher Koach,” by local congregant, Richard Poole, which dramatizes the history of Sioux City’s Jewish community and was performed at Homecoming 2001. This sub-series also contains several issues of The Sioux City Californian, a newsletter for members of Sioux City’s Jewish community who had moved to California, as well as materials from some reunions in California.

The Photographs series contains photographs of people and events connected to Shaare Zion Synagogue, Mt. Sinai Temple, Congregation Beth Shalom, and the Jewish Community Center. This series is arranged alphabetically and locations are identified if possible.

The Audiovisual series is made up of two floppy discs from Homecoming 1984 and Homecoming 2001 in Sioux City and seventy compact discs with images from activities at Congregation Beth Shalom from 2004 to 2015.

The Artifacts series consists of three items: a framed proclamation from Sioux City’s Israel’s 26th Anniversary Week in 1974, a plaque commemorating donors for a window preservation project, and an oversized key from the Jewish Community Center’s 1950 dedication.


  • Creation: 1901-2015


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

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 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 for 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 the 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.


10.20 Linear Feet

70 CDs [d0385] - [d0455] are shelved in the digital collection, 1 videocassette [v977] is shelved in the videocassette collection items

Language of Materials



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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated by Rabbi Guy Greene (donor 1499) in 2017.

Related Materials

Judith Brodkey papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries.

Shaare Zion Synagogue / Mt. Sinai Temple records
Jeannette Gabriel, 2017; Anna Tunnicliff, 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)