Iowa Jewish Historical Society

Iowa Jewish Historical Society The Iowa Jewish Historical Society collects, catalogues, houses and preserves the history of the Jewish people of the state of Iowa and to deepen community understanding of Jewish history and culture.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, listen to Manuel “Manny” Soodhalter, a Jewish veteran and longtime owner ...
06/06/2019
Honoring Jewish Veterans of Iowa | Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, listen to Manuel “Manny” Soodhalter, a Jewish veteran and longtime owner of Quad Cities landmark Debs Drive In, who was born in Des Moines, recount his experiences in taking part in D-Day, not only by being in the 2nd wave landing on Omaha Beach but also with pre-planning for the invasion. http://bit.ly/IJHSveterans #DDay75

The Honoring Iowa’s Jewish Veterans project seeks to identify and recognize Jewish men and women of Iowa who have served in all U.S. military branches.

A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village
04/18/2019
A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village

A brief history of Judaism in Iowa | Little Village

106SharesThe first Jewish mayor of an American city, by some accounts, was Iowa City’s Moses Bloom. Bloom left his native Alsace, France in 1850 and arrived in Iowa City in 1857, where he soon took over ownership of a clothing store on South Clinton Street (in the space currently occupied by Ewers...

Frankel Building to get historical marker
04/17/2019
Frankel Building to get historical marker

Frankel Building to get historical marker

OSKALOOSA — The unveiling ceremony for the Frankel Building Historical Marker will take place on the Smokey Row stage, 109 S. Market St. at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

03/06/2019
State Historical Society of Iowa

March is #IowaHistory month! The first known Jewish settler in Iowa was Alexander Levi, who settled in Dubuque in 1833.

It's official: March is #IowaHistory Month! Governor Kim Reynolds issued the following proclamation earlier today.

"Whereas, people have called what is now Iowa their homeland for more than 12,000 years; and whereas Iowans have been blessed with a beautiful and productive land; and whereas Iowans from diverse backgrounds have formed strong attachments to each other and to their communities; and whereas Iowans have led the nation in the creation of an inclusive and exemplary system of education; and whereas Iowans produce agricultural and manufacturing products sold world-wide; and whereas Iowans have produced artists and writers of international distinction; and Iowans have championed laws promoting equality and inclusion; and whereas, these stories represent adversity and achievement, tragedy and triumph, and continuity and change; and whereas, what makes Iowa so special is the character of our people, no matter where they come from, whether it's a small town or our state capital; now, therefore, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim March 2019 as Iowa History Month."

The museum will be open at 1:30 this Sunday. Hope to see you there!
12/14/2018

The museum will be open at 1:30 this Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 16 2:00 pm – 3: 30 pm
Join Us for a Movie at the Caspe Terrace!

“1945” Winner of Awards at Jewish Film Festivals in San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Berlin, and Jerusalem.

The film concerns two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who arrive in a Hungarian village in August 1945, and the paranoid reactions of the villagers, some of whom fear that these and other Jews are coming to reclaim Jewish property.

“A fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance.”
- Berlin Film Review

Refreshments will be served. RSVP to [email protected]

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! This Des Moines Register newspaper clipping fro...
11/21/2018

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! This Des Moines Register newspaper clipping from 1934 shows the long history of local philanthropy by the Jewish community of Des Moines.

09/10/2017
09/07/2017
Come join the Iowa Jewish Historical Society for two exciting events in September!Hear Celina Karp Biniaz, the daughter ...
08/09/2017

Come join the Iowa Jewish Historical Society for two exciting events in September!

Hear Celina Karp Biniaz, the daughter of Irvin and Phyllis Karp and one of the last living survivors from Schindler's List, tell her personal story-her family's life in the ghetto and the forced labor camp, her family's inclusion on Oskar Schindler's list of workers for his new munitions factory; the "accidental" diversion of the train carrying Celina and Phyllis to Auschwitz instead of Schindler's factory in Czechoslovakia; Celina's terrifying encounter with the "Angel of Death" Dr. Joseph Mengele; liberation and immigration to Des Moines; and building a life in the US.

Sunday, September 10 at 2 p.m.
"Second Chance: My Story"

FREE Admission, First come, first seated

Staplin Performing Arts Center
Valley High School
3650 Woodland Ave.
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Tuesday, September 12 at 11:30 a.m.at Caspe Terrace

"When Memories Unfold: A Luncheon with Celina"

The personal story of a "Schindler Jew" who graduated from North High School and Grinnell College.
The program includes readings from poems Celina has written about her experiences.

Seating for the luncheon is limited, for more information on tickets and to make your reservation by Sept. 1 visit www.ijhs.online

IJHS is excited to announce our next upcoming event!
07/18/2017

IJHS is excited to announce our next upcoming event!

Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal
03/31/2017
Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal

Survivor Celina Biniaz: The youngest of Schindler’s Jews — Jewish Journal

“Get in rows. March,” the block leader ordered the nearly 300 women in the Auschwitz barracks who had arrived from the Plaszow concentration camp only weeks earlier, in mid-October 1944. Thirteen-year-old Celina Karp dutifully obeyed, though this was the first time in Auschwitz that she had been sep...

In honor of #internationalwomensday: Julia Bloom Mayer was the director of the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines fro...
03/08/2017

In honor of #internationalwomensday:

Julia Bloom Mayer was the director of the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines from 1925-1945. After her death in 1945 this bas relief plaque was commissioned by the JCC and designed and cast by artist Christian Petersen.

The inscription on the plaque, written by Rabbi Eugene Mannheimer, reads:

“Born in Iowa City, a tireless worker in the causes of peace, education, citizenship, and community loyalty who gave a lifetime of finest social service and civic leadership to the people of Iowa. The Jewish Community Center which she loved and brilliantly directed for twenty years stands as a living tribute to her nobility of mind and to her greatness of heart which knew no distinction of race, color, or creed.

Flashback to 84 years ago--this is a program from Tifereth Israel Synagogue's Chanukah Concert on Wednesday, December 28...
12/28/2016

Flashback to 84 years ago--this is a program from Tifereth Israel Synagogue's Chanukah Concert on Wednesday, December 28th, 1932. Among the patrons listed on the back page is the cosmetics company Armand Co., founded by Carl Weeks, the man who built Salisbury House here in Des Moines.

The Des Moines Register
12/19/2016
The Des Moines Register

The Des Moines Register

Many families can trace their membership to the Eastern European immigrants who founded the congregation in 1885.

Shanah Tovah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!This article from September 1942 shows WAACs from Fort Des Moines a...
09/30/2016

Shanah Tovah from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society!
This article from September 1942 shows WAACs from Fort Des Moines attending Rosh Hashanah services at Tifereth Israel Synagogue. During the services, attended by numerous WAACs and enlisted soldiers from the congregation, Rabbi Levens dedicated the synagogue's service flag and spoke optimistically about recent gains by Allied forces.
Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) started training at Fort Des Moines in July 1942. Over 140,00 women would go on to enlist and serve their country in what later became the fully incorporated Women’s Army Corps. Of that 140,000 over 72,000 were trained at Des Moines.

Join us on September 18th for our 20th Anniversary Celebration featuring Keynote Speaker Rabbi Barry Cytron! See details...
08/22/2016

Join us on September 18th for our 20th Anniversary Celebration featuring Keynote Speaker Rabbi Barry Cytron! See details in the invitation below. Reservations required by Sept. 9th.

Come check out our booth at the Wonder of Words Festival and get your copy of our cookbook-available for purchase for $3...
06/18/2016

Come check out our booth at the Wonder of Words Festival and get your copy of our cookbook-available for purchase for $36!

Jacob Szneler, who survived the Holocaust and later resettled in Des Moines, on Yom Hashoah at Temple B’nai Jeshurun. ...
05/04/2016

Jacob Szneler, who survived the Holocaust and later resettled in Des Moines, on Yom Hashoah at Temple B’nai Jeshurun. Unknown date. #YomHaShoah #HolocaustRemembranceDay

Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
05/04/2016
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Wednesday, 6:00 pm at Tifereth

Harry Brod is one of three children of Holocaust survivors who will speak at Wednesday's Holocaust Remembrance Day program at Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines, Also speaking are Mira Engler and Pnina Luban, both from Ames.

140 Years ago, in April 1876, articles of incorporation were signed for Children of Israel Synagogue on the east side of...
04/28/2016

140 Years ago, in April 1876, articles of incorporation were signed for Children of Israel Synagogue on the east side of Des Moines. This photograph from 1887 shows the early wooden building which was destroyed by a fire in 1911, after which a new brick structure was built in its place. In 1962, freeway construction necessitated a move to a new building at 9th and Forest, now the home of Mount Hebron Missionary Baptist Church.
When the new building was dedicated in July 1911, a time capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the building. The box contained newspapers from the day and these papers with a list of congregation members.

Photo of the Day: In 1915 Isadore and Sadie Lipsey moved from Chicago to Des Moines. A year later he opened his first gr...
04/20/2016

Photo of the Day: In 1915 Isadore and Sadie Lipsey moved from Chicago to Des Moines. A year later he opened his first grocery on E. Walnut. In 1924 he built a new store at 4347 Hickman called the Maryland Park Grocery. Pictured are Isadore and Sadie in front of the store in 1933.

Happy Purim from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! Here’s a photo from our collections taken at Purim in 1969 at the...
03/23/2016

Happy Purim from the Iowa Jewish Historical Society! Here’s a photo from our collections taken at Purim in 1969 at the Des Moines Bureau of Jewish Education.

Join us December 17th at Beaverdale Books!
12/15/2015

Join us December 17th at Beaverdale Books!

Happy Veterans Day! Pictured below is a USO-Jewish Welfare Board Seder at the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines on A...
11/11/2015

Happy Veterans Day! Pictured below is a USO-Jewish Welfare Board Seder at the Jewish Community Center in Des Moines on April 19, 1943.Thank you to all those who have served our country and those currently serving.

Join us Aug. 14 at the Des Moines Social Club's Culinary Loft for recipe demonstrations from our new cookbook. Tickets a...
07/16/2015

Join us Aug. 14 at the Des Moines Social Club's Culinary Loft for recipe demonstrations from our new cookbook. Tickets are $100, price includes a copy of the book. Reservations can be made through the link below:
http://snipurl.com/2a1unz6

06/25/2015

Our open hours for Sunday, June 28 have been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

From the Collection: Large Star of David stained glass window from the Oskaloosa, Iowa Synagogue. The Oskaloosa Synagogu...
06/22/2015

From the Collection: Large Star of David stained glass window from the Oskaloosa, Iowa Synagogue. The Oskaloosa Synagogue was constructed under the guidance of Rabbi William Shepherd Handler. Rabbi Handler immigrated to the United States in 1899 and came directly to Oskaloosa, Iowa.

From our new exhibit: This high chair was used in Lincoln, Nebraska by John and David Gradwohl in the late 1920's to the...
06/17/2015

From our new exhibit: This high chair was used in Lincoln, Nebraska by John and David Gradwohl in the late 1920's to the early 1930's. This is also a sneak peek from our new exhibit called 'Food in Jewish Life' which opened this past Sunday, June 14th.

Please come to this wonderful event.  Feel free to share this post on your own page.  We would love to have a c...
06/08/2015

Please come to this wonderful event. Feel free to share this post on your own page. We would love to have a crowd! It will be a lot of fun.

From the Collection: The Fair, Madrid, Iowa, was owned and operated by Louis and Fannie Toubes from 1899 to 1913.  In th...
05/27/2015

From the Collection: The Fair, Madrid, Iowa, was owned and operated by Louis and Fannie Toubes from 1899 to 1913. In the photo, Fannie is on the far left, and Louis on the right. The inventory included fabric, sewing supplies, and "general" merchandise. Fannie made beautiful hats. Later, after the Toubes family moved to Des Moines, they owned a store on East 6th Street, between Grand and Locust.

From the Archives: photograph of Maurice L. Nathanson. Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nathanson served as Captain in the ...
05/06/2015

From the Archives: photograph of Maurice L. Nathanson. Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nathanson served as Captain in the Iowa National Guard and the Iowa Guard. Captain Maurice L. Nathanson served in the 634th Tank Destroyer Battalion in WWII.

From the collection: Tire spreader used to repair tires on Model-T Fords at Simon Tire in Des Moines, Iowa. Harry Simon ...
04/29/2015

From the collection: Tire spreader used to repair tires on Model-T Fords at Simon Tire in Des Moines, Iowa. Harry Simon started Chicago Metal and Rubber in Downtown Des Moines. The business originally bought and sold scrap and auto parts and installed tires right on the street. In the 1940's the scrap yard was turned into an automotive garage and tires became the main part of the business. Harry's son David and his wife, Ruth renamed the business Simon Tire and expanded it to primarily Goodyear tires. In the 1970's David's son Harry Simon joined the company and expanded it to full automotive services and added five more lines of tires.

From the Collection: Photograph of the Children of Israel Choir from the early 1900s. The Children of Israel congregatio...
04/24/2015

From the Collection: Photograph of the Children of Israel Choir from the early 1900s. The Children of Israel congregation first organized in 1876 on the East side of Des Moines, Iowa. In 1989 the congregation closed and the building was bought by another church.

From The Jewish Press collection: The early issues of the Jewish Press were called The Iowa Jewish News. This issue is f...
04/22/2015

From The Jewish Press collection: The early issues of the Jewish Press were called The Iowa Jewish News. This issue is from August 21, 1942 during WWII. The featured article, “B’nai B’rith $100,000 Bond Drive Will Officially Start with Auction at Picnic Sunday,” covers the details of the picnic, thanks those who volunteered to help run the picnic, and highlights a list of the items that will be auctioned off at the drive in an effort to raise bonds for the war effort.

From the Collection: Photo of Dr. Bob Krigsten with the first iron lung in the nation and a patient at Ft. Leonardwood, ...
04/10/2015

From the Collection: Photo of Dr. Bob Krigsten with the first iron lung in the nation and a patient at Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri. Dr. Krigsten and his brother Dr. Joe Krigsten both received their medical degrees from the University of Iowa. Their parents, Fanny and Mike Krigsten wanted the best education for their boys and worked day and night at the family grocery in Sioux City, Iowa to put them through school. The brothers continued to practice medicine in Sioux City, Iowa for more than 50 years.

From Collection: Dr. Corn’s microscope and case. Dr. Henry Corn was a long time pediatrician in Des Moines and served ...
04/01/2015

From Collection: Dr. Corn’s microscope and case. Dr. Henry Corn was a long time pediatrician in Des Moines and served in the US Army Medical Corps in World War II. This microscope was used by Dr. Corn while he was at the University Of Iowa School Of Medicine.

Thank you to Gary and Loretta Fingert for the photographs of Sons of Israel Congregation in Marshalltown, IA. If anyone ...
03/18/2015

Thank you to Gary and Loretta Fingert for the photographs of Sons of Israel Congregation in Marshalltown, IA. If anyone else can provide any photos or information on the synagogue’s exterior and interior for an upcoming exhibit on the synagogue, please contact us via Facebook or email us at [email protected].

From Collection: This WWI uniform jacket and bag were worn by Herman Krause who was a Litter Bearer in the 343rd Machine...
03/18/2015

From Collection: This WWI uniform jacket and bag were worn by Herman Krause who was a Litter Bearer in the 343rd Machine Gun Battalion. In early 1918 he was wounded in battle and gassed in Argonne Forest in France. Herman Krause was the father of Joan Krause Lipsey, formerly from Des Moines, IA.

From Collection: Cash register from 1900. The cash register was used in Meyer’s Kosher Meat Market in Sioux City, Iowa...
03/06/2015

From Collection: Cash register from 1900. The cash register was used in Meyer’s Kosher Meat Market in Sioux City, Iowa. In fact, the cash register drawer still contains some of the sawdust that was used on the floor of the meat market. The cash register was donated to The Iowa Jewish Historical Society by Dave and Marv Arkovich.

03/04/2015

The Sons of Israel Congregation in Marshalltown, Iowa closed in 1985. The IJHS is looking for photos or information on the synagogue’s exterior and interior for an upcoming exhibit on the synagogue. You can contact us via Facebook or email at [email protected].

From Our Collection: Phi Epsilon Pi Jewish Fraternity paddle from Alpha Beta chapter at University of Iowa 1920-1957. Th...
02/22/2015

From Our Collection: Phi Epsilon Pi Jewish Fraternity paddle from Alpha Beta chapter at University of Iowa 1920-1957. The paddle belonged to Z.W. Rosenbaum who pledged on September 23,1923. Rosenbaum owned Peanut Products Co. in Des Moines, Iowa.

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33158 Ute Ave
Waukee, IA
50263

General information

The Caspe Heritage Gallery is located on the lower level of The Caspe Terrace in Waukee, Iowa. The Gallery features changing exhibits pertaining to Jewish history and Jewish Iowans.

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