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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 01, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 27Nov00

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


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