This first Jewish congregation in St.
Louis Park was first known as B’nai Abraham, started in 1889
in a south
Minneapolis neighborhood of Romanian emigrants. About
40-50 families first met in the Park at local churches and
the Calhoun Beach Hotel. The congregation purchased an
old house that was on the site at 3115 Ottawa Ave. and
another adjacent house. As of May 1956 the houses were used
for a chapel, office, and classrooms. Eventually the
congregation bought three-fourths of the block. (The
property had belonged to J.W. Hayes in 1893.)
Work was begun on the synagogue building in July 1958. The $300,000 building was designed by Ackerman and Cooperman.
It was financed by the sale of the former synagogue in
Minneapolis and a fundraising drive. It was
completed in March 1959 and dedicated on June 19-21, 1959.
700 people came to the dedication, including Mayor Herbert Lefler,
who welcomed the congregation to the Park. The congregation
consisted of 373 families and while the Minneapolis
synagogue had been orthodox, the new one was conservative. In 1960 it was advertised as “Your
NEW conservative congregation serving St. Louis Park and
A January 1968 article in the Dispatch reported that
the congregation had 550 families.
In 1971 B'nai Abraham merged with
Congregation Mikro-Tifereth to become B'nai Emet.
B'nai Emet was used by the Coen Brothers as a setting for
their 2009 film "A Serious Man," which also used the names
of their St. Louis Park classmates and businesses.
Because of the cost of maintaining the aging building and
declining membership, in 2010 the congregation voted to
merge with another local conservative synagogue. On June 2, 2011, the congregation voted to
merge with Adath Jeshurun Congregation, located at 10500
Hillside Lane W. in Minnetonka. Adath Jeshurun started
in 1884 and was one of the first conservative synagogues in
The final weekend at B'nai Emet was June 24-26, 2011.
On April 2, 2012, the building was sold to
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.