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Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis Collection

Identifier: umja0130

Scope and Contents

Collection includes various administrative materials including: board manuals, reports, bulletins, memorandum, programming materials, newsletters, scrapbooks, by-laws and articles of incorporation.


  • 1924-2004


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 need for a Jewish Community Center in Minneapolis was recognized as far back as 1913. In 1917, the YMHA and the YWHA, meeting in rented quarters on 6th Avenue North, urged the Talmud Torah to build additional facilities to house its social and recreational activities. A program was started the following year and, in March 1919, the Talmud Torah voted to build an addition including a gymnasium, swimming pool, and shower baths. The new facilities were ready for use in January 1920. In was also in 1920 that the Jewish program began receiving support from the Town Tea Kettle, forerunner to today's United Jewish Fund. By the following year there was already considerable talk about the lack of space and the need for expanded facilities.

When the space shortage became painfully acute in 1923, a committee was appointed to find additional facilities. This group paved the way for the purchase and remodeling of a building at 909 Elwood Avenue North, through funds left for this purpose by Emanuel Cohen, a prominent attorney and civic leader. The Emanuel Cohen Center was formally dedicated on April 27, 1924, and a two story brick building. The Center's Board of Managers was appointed by the Talmud Torah. A new facility, at 1701 Oak Park North, was dedicated in May 1940.

On November 12, 1959, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis was formed when the Emanuel Cohen Center merged with the Jewish Camping Association and the Park Jewish Youth Service. In the early 1960s, conditions caused by changing times and shifting populations dictated a new move. A Federation survey of the community's recreational needs showed the importance of transferring the Center to an area where it would be closer to the majority of clientele it served. On March 30, 1969, the new Center was opened at 4330 Cedar Lake Road.

The mission upon opening stated "Members of the Community of Greater Minneapolis have built the New Jewish Community Center, in order to help individuals develop to their fullest capacities, to affirm and interpret the enduring values of the Jewish tradition, and to make a positive contribution to the greater community of which they are a part."

(Source: Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis Board Member manual, 1969)


2 Cubic Foot (3 boxes -- 1 Hollinger box, 2 oversize box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of administrative and programming materials from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis, earlier known as the Emanuel Cohen Center and now known as the Sabes Jewish Community Center.


This collection was organized by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, bringing together materials related to the JCC that were donated by various people over time. The collection has been kept in tact in the organizational arrangement that was created by the Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis in 1987. Collection added to by various other donors over time, including Rhoda Lewin and William Wolpert.

Jewish Community Center of Greater Minneapolis collection, 1924-2004
Erin Smerage
December 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • February 2023: Revised to add newly found materials

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area