By Kent Larsen
Jerusalem Post Looks At Jews In Mormon Country
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Yesterday's Jerusalem Post looked at the history of
Jews in Salt Lake City, giving an interesting look into a minority that is
favored by Mormon doctrine, but which was not always favored in practice.
The article indicates that Jews arrived in Utah soon after the first Mormon
pioneers and that like most places, all three main branches of Judaism have
developed in Utah.
According to Jewish editor and historian Eileen Hallet Stone of Salt Lake
City, the first Jews arrived in Utah soon after 1847, and by 1849 Jewish
entrepreneurs were supplying miners headed for California with supplies like
picks, shovels, clothes and food. The gold rush also brought more Jews, from
Germany and Hungary, who stayed in Salt Lake after they realized they were
too late to stake a claim in California.
Relations with the majority Mormon population of Salt Lake City were
generally good, with Mormon leader Brigham Young donating land for a Jewish
cemetery in Salt Lake in 1866 and providing premises for the 1867 High Holy
Days. But the Church then established ZCMI in 1868, and Brigham Young's
self-reliance policies encouraged Mormons to shop there, instead of
Auerbachs, the department store established by Samuel J. Auerbach, a Jew,
several years earlier.
But after the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in 1879, relations
with Mormons improved as the Church dropped its attempts to be isolated from
the rest of the US. At the turn of the century Jews in Salt Lake City
prepared to build a new synagogue. The cornerstone for Congregation
Montefiore's synagogue was laid on August 13, 1903, and dedicated by LDS
Church President Joseph F. Smith. The congregation claims that the Church
made a large contribution to the building fund.
The article gives many details about Utah and the Jewish presence in Salt
Lake City, including the success of Simon Bamberger, a Jew who was elected
Utah's first non-Mormon governor in 1916. It also talks about the Jewish
resources in the area and the cultural institutions in Salt Lake City.
The Jews of Temple Square
Jerusalem Post 26Nov00 N6
By Schelly Talalay Dardashti