Jewish Salt Lake City
(source Jewish Genealogical Society of Utah website: http://www.ujgs.org/utahjud.htm - see website for more information)
Jewish history in Salt Lake dates back to 1849 when the first Jews came to Utah because of arriving too late to stake claims in the California gold rush. The early settlers were of German and Hungarian descent. The appearance of U.S. Army troops at Camp Floyd in the fall of 1857 attracted several Jewish merchants to the area.
The earliest record of Jewish religious observance in the area is the celebration of Yom Kippur in 1864 at the home of one of the Jewish merchants. The Hebrew Benevolent Society was formed in 1864 and was the first instance of organized Judaism. Religious services were held in the rented Masonic Hall in the spring of 1866. This same year saw the first cemetery, on land deeded to the Jewish community by Brigham Young. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in 1867 were observed in the Seventies Hall at the invitation of Brigham Young.
The first formal Jewish congregation was established in 1873 with the name Congregation B'nai Israel. However, the articles of incorporation for the congregation were not filed until 1881.
The year 1878 saw the first recorded discussions of the building of a synagogue. Property for the building was finally purchased in 1881 on the corner of Third South and First West streets, and a brick schoolhouse was completed there in the fall of that year. The synagogue section of the building was added in 1883.
While Utah's Jewish population is relatively small, numbering about 4,000-5,000, it does have an active Jewish community.
(source: Congregation Kol Ami's website)
There is a United Jewish Federation, The Joanne & Richard McGillis School at 668 South 1300 East, the I.J. and Jeanne Wagner Center at #2 North Medical Drive, as well as local chapters of Hadassah, Hillel, National Council of Jewish Women, O.R.T., and B'nai Brith.
Walking Tour Guide of Jewish Salt Lake City
Visit the Hospitality Desk for your free-copy of "Self-Guided Jewish Walking Tour of Downtown Salt Lake City". The Guide was created by Rochelle Kaplan, the conference's Hospitality Chairperson.