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B'nai Abraham (Virginia, Minn.) Synagogue records

Identifier: umja0090

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of administrative materials dating between 1884 and 2021 and inlcudes: meeting minutes, by-laws, financial materials and account books related to both B'nai Abraham Synagogue and two support groups: the Virginia Ladies Aid Society and the Virginia Federation for Jewish Service. Research materials are also included, as members collected clippings, photographs, and writings that pertained to the history of B'nai Abraham.


  • 1884-2021


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Congregation B'nai Abraham was founded in 1905 in Virginia, Minnesota by Russian Jewish immigrants who were drawn to the area's industries of lumber and mining. In 1908 the Ladies' Aid Society was created to help aid in fundraising to build a permanent synagogue. When the construction of the red brick synagogue was completed in 1909, it was the first synagogue to be built on the Iron Range (neighboring congregations in Eveleth and Hibbing used converted spaces). The Ladies' Aid Society continued after construction, providing outreach and aid to the local Jewish community. The synagogue itself became a vital space for the Jewish community, not only providing space for worship, but also as a meeting space for local Jewish organizations such as the Virginia Federation for Jewish Service, and the local chapters of B'nai B'rith and Hadassah.

As the Jewish population on the Iron Range declined, congregations throughout the Iron Range shuttered their doors; by 1990 B'nai Abraham was the last synagogue in the area. By the mid-1990s B'nai Abraham closed their doors due to lack of members. In 2002, the building was listed as a threatened historic structure and so, in 2004, the Friends of B'nai Abraham was established to save the building. Through fundraising and grants, the group was able to restore the historic building and open the space as a local cultural center. The Friends of B'nai Abraham are still active and the building is still in use during the warmer months. For more information, visit


3.1 Cubic Foot (4 boxes -- (2 Hollinger boxes, 2 Paige box))

Language of Materials




This collection consists of the administrative materials and historical research related to the B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia, Minnesota, as well as the Virginia Federation for Jewish Service and the Virginia Ladies Aid Society, which met at and supported B'nai Abraham over the years.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest in 2011 by Marjorie Ostrov acting on behalf of the Friends of B'nai Abraham Synagogue. Further materials donated in 2018 by Marjorie Ostrov on behalf of the Friends of B'nai Abraham Synagogue. Materials also donated in 2020 by Dianne Siegel.

Related Materials

Two related collections exist at the Minnesota Historical Society -- B'nai Abraham Society Orgnaizational Records [microform] M450, and the B'nai Abraham Synagogue Ladies' Aid Society Organizational records [microform] M451. These are microfilm copies of originals, of which it appears there is some overlap with this collection.

B'nai Abraham (Virginia, Minn.) Synagogue records, 1884-2021
Kate Dietrick
March 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • May 2018: Revised to add new acquisition
  • March 2022: Revised to add newly donated materials

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area