James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Serving Iowa’s smaller Jewish communities.

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B'nai Jacob in Ottumwa, Iowa

B'nai Jacob in Ottumwa, Iowa

Iowa is Jewishly a very small place.  Only about 6,000 Jews live in the entire state.  Iowa City, where I live currently, has only one synagogue.  Des Moines, the largest city and where I grew up, has only three.  Only one in 500 people in the state is Jewish.

Iowa City is small with its one synagogue, but there are smaller places still.  Ottumwa is one such place.  It once had a larger Jewish population, but today it could not assemble a minyan if every Jew in town showed up.  It is a pity because it has a beautifully restored synagogue, Bnai Jacob.

And so, several times a year, Jews from Iowa City make a pilgrimage to Ottumwa and bring a minyan.  This morning was one such time.  The hospitality shown to us is always amazing and if Jews from Des Moines or other Iowa communities want to be informed of such pilgrimages, just let me know in the comments.  You can also usually stay informed with Bnai Jacob’s webpage.


Written by JamesEJ

Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Posted in judaism

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