Sons of Zion (B'Nai Zion) Synagogue

The Congregation of the Sons of Zion, or B'nai Zion, was organized in 1883 by newer Russian Jewish immigrants who were said to not want to affiliate with the already established Orthodox Sons of Jacob , a synagogue generally known as a “Polish” congregation. The congregation dedicated its new synagogue at 150 State Street in 1895.

Interestingly, an article in the St. Paul Globe newspaper lists their establishment of a congregation at 104 State Street. The 1904 Sanborn map shows this as a "tenement", and a 1960 photo shows this address to be a 3-plex residential building. It is possible that the congregation first met in a member's home.

Clearly the Russian Brotherhood and the Sons of Zion congregations had, at least in the early years, the most lively and active congregations on the West Side. A search of the St. Paul Globe in the late 1880s and into the early 1900s reveals dozens of articles about the activities of both congregations. No articles about any other synagogues were found for that time period.

They weren’t always competitive, as a number of articles in 1896 followed their combined efforts to remove a Kosher “meat inspector” with whom they had conflicts. In the newspaper this was called “the butcher wars.”

The two congregations together may have had the largest membership of all the other synagogues in the neighborhood.