ADAS ISRAEL Synagogue - Third Street Shul

Adas Israel Congregation was founded, in 1885, by Lithuanian immigrants. Members met in a house on St. Croix Avenue in what is now the Canal Park area of Duluth. The synagogue was incorporated in 1899 about the time that the new facility was constructed on Third Street in Duluth. The building was destroyed by fire in 2019. More information on the congregation is available on MNOPEDIA in an article written by Laura Weber and Joanne M Sher:
     Adas Israel Congregation, Duluth

The information about and pictures of Adas Israel Synagogue presented on this page were obtained from a variety of sources, some indicated below.

Adas Israel Synagogue

History of the Adas Israel Congragation from the Jewish Fellowship News

Note: Expanded view of this photo with ID in the Group Photos section - click here

Source: Jewish Fellowship News - A Collection of Memories Celebrating Jewish Life in the Northland - Jubilee Edition - 1996 - click here

hi res .......................................................... hi res

An image of Adas Israel looking south, cropped from a 1962 picture showing downtown Duluth - - full image

Photo taken during Simchas Torah at the Adas Israel Synagogue in 1914
Full picture at hi resolution: click here. A cropped version is shown below.
An enlarged version was displayed on the wall of the synagogue until it was destroyed in the 2019 fire.

More Research on identification of the men and about them.
After the fire that destroyed Adas Israel Synagogue in 2019, more research was performed to better identify the men shown in the picture and to provide a bit of information about each of them. Where available, the info includes birth and immigration years, occupation, spouse, where they lived, their kids names and birth years and links to their webpages. The research and compilation of the results was performed by Karen Alpert Entous and Pat Redman Fuller. The results of this research are provided here. A larger view of this photo with ID is provided in the Group Photos section - click here

Adas Israel from Google Maps - 2012 - - hi res

Adas Israel & Chevri Kadisha Synagogue
Incorporation Document

State of Minnesota Charter - - December 7, 1899

Over fifty men signed in document as charter members. The names are shown on the document. The names are also tabulated on the attached pdf file along with further information on each. The tabulation was created by Karen Alpert Entous using data from the 1900 census and from Jack Abramson's Family Tree Database.

Click here or on thumbnail to the right to see the charter document at high resolution.

Adas Israel & Chevri Kadisha Synagogue
The Cornerstone was laid on November 28, 1901. Memories of the occassion written by Hattie Goldish were summarized by Karen Alpert Entous in the attached pdf. The complete document is also available: click here.

This image of the cornerstone was taken by Karen Alpert Entous in 2014. Click here or on thumbnail at the right to see a larger view of the cornerstone at high resolution.

A long newspaper article entitled "New Synagogue for the Jews" reported that the cornerstone was laid and the "Ceremony was Impressive." The article, dated November 29, 1901, is also available here: click here.

The origins of the synagogue building and an elegant description of its inside and outside were included in the Memories document written by Hattie Kenner Goldish in the 1970s.

According to Hattie, the synagogue was designed "to accommodate at least 600 people. They looked quite far into the future for the coming generations. They were indeed, farsighted with high hopes in their hearts and much bravery and responsibility for times such as theirs to venture into such a huge responsibility."

Hattie's description and photos of the inside of the synagogue are presented in the attached pdf file. The photos were taken by Karen Alpert Entous in 2014 and document was compiled by her.

Additional photos taken by Bob Wolfe: click here.

The first marriagte that took place in Adas Israel was in 1902. Albert H. Polinsky of Duluth was married to Sarah Shapiro of Eveleth. The ceremony was one of the largest ever attended in Duluth. Information about the wedding was published in a news article. in the Duluth News Tribune on November 7, 1902.

In 1916, the famous singer Sophie Tucker (ne Sonya Kalish) came to Duluth for a performance at the Orpheum Theatre. While in Duluth, she attended Rosh Hashana services at Adas Israel. Many years later, the operatic singer Jan Peerce (ne Jacob Pincus Perelmuth) visited Duluth and attended services at Adas Isreal. Recollections of the Tucker and Peerce visits were included in the document written by Hattie Goldish of her Memories. A summary of those recollections, links to related newspaper articles and more about Sophie Tucker and Jan Peerce have been archived here.

In 1976, Bertha Singer wrote "A Short History of the Duluth Jewish Community - - 1870-1976" for the Jewish American Biucentennial Celebration. A portion of that history related to Adas Israel and the Orthodox Congregations is shown below. To see the full document, click here.


2019 Fire Destroys Adas Israel
The Adas Israel Synagogue was completely destroyed by fire during the early morning hours of September 9, 2019. The building was almost 120 years old and built of wood. Some of the Torahs were saved. The fire was caused by arson but it was not thought to be a hate crime. Pictures of the aftermath of the fire and news articles about the fire are shown below.

view from the rear of the building

Duluth firefighter delivers scrolls to synagogue members after the fire destroyed the Adas Israel building.
Ten of 14 Torah scrolls were recovered from the debris, though several others are stuck in the blackened walls, too damaged to be saved.

Official Board Comments written by Phil Sher

2019-9-11 9pm Adas Fire - Update from Phil Sher - -
2019-9-11 9pm Adas Fire - Official update from the Adas Israel Board - written by Phil Sher

2019-9-14 9pm Adas Israel - Another Update from Phil Sher - -
2019-9-14 9pm - Adas Israel Fire - Second Update from Phil Sher - summary of building contents saved, etc

2019-9-24 Adas Israel fire - Third update from Phil Sher - -
2019-9-24 Adas Israel fire - Third update from Phil Sher - For now, we have continued to meet in member's homes. Obviously the 'feel' is not the same, yet, we are together and we are able to daven. - So far, my sense of our congregants is that we will continue. There are too many people to thank.
Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year, Phil

Audio and Video History and Recollections of Adas Israel

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) invites you to participate in a project to record memories of the Adas Israel Synagogue. In the wake of the tragedy, many people shared their thoughts in newspapers and on-line (see below). We also have an opportunity to record (audio and video) interviews with individuals through a platform called TheirStory. More information can be found on the invitation to participate issued by JHSUM and sanctioned by the Adas Israel Board.

Written History and Recollections of Adas Israel
Personal Comments received by email

"My dad (Sid Garon) was an architect ... and on the building committee of the Shul. He had so many headaches with the aging structure ... leaking roof, stained-glass windows that were not weatherproof, the unreliable city-run steam heating system, sewer gas issues. Sadly, the all-wood structure never had a sprinkler system. Every time I drive to the cemetery in Duluth, I marveled at all the history and memories. Very sad." - Andy Garon

"As a child until 6th grade ..., our family belonged to the Adas Israel Congregaton. It was a half a block from my Grandparent's (Israel and Mary Garon) home on 3rd street. ... My Grandfather Israel was an early member of the Adas Israel Synagogue and he and his friends used to gather at my Grandfather's home and 'loudly' discuss synagogue politics. The Adas Israel was referred to as 'The Third Street Synagogue' and there was another Jewish synagogue one block up the hill, 'The Fourth Street Synagogue.'" - - full comments - - Arlis (Garon) Grossman

"I have been a small part of Adas Israel for almost 70 years and my sadness over its loss is profound; however, I know there will be beautiful lasting memories for me, family members, and so many others. From the time I was a young child, I began attending Shabbat services with my father, Maurice Krovitz, z'l, and brother Benjie, along with going to Sunday School. I always loved the Chanukah dinners where the aroma of delicious Jewish cooking wafted through the kitchen into the social hall where every chair was filled for these events. My father was synagogue Vice President and President for a number of years, and my mother, Esther Goldish Krovitz, z'l, was heavily involved in Sisterhood." - - full comments - - Ida Krovitz Davis

"Nancy remembers the shul because her mother's great grandparents settled in Duluth from Lithuania in the late 1800's as did many Jewish families coming into the country through the Great Lakes. No immigration documentation papers were required. The joke was that every Jewish person in Duluth was related! As a child Nancy and her family lived in St. Paul and visited Duluth often to see her great-grandmother and grandparents and cousins. It was just a four hour drive (now a 2 hour drive on a superhighway.)"
- - full comments - - Nancy Margolis Berkley - September 2019

My father "took me occasionally to attend services at Adas Israel in Duluth. I was devastated to see it burned down. I am still holding some anger about it that I may never get over. The man who burned it down only got 3 months in prison and community service. - - full comments - - Cantor Daniel Singer, New York City - - November 2019

Published Comments

"My family synagogue burned down in Minnesota this week. We lost much more than a building." - Opinion - The Jewish News of Northern California - by Sarah Rose

"The day my grandfather's synagogue burned." - "My heart goes out to the congregants of Adas Israel. May the memory of 3rd Street Schul be a blessing." Opinion - Star Tribune - by Bryan Altman

"Building Lost, But Family Memories Remain Amid Adas Israel Fire." Guest Post - - TC Jewfolk - - by Matt Erickson, Bruzonsky family history

"Tragedy of Adas Israel fire hard to even talk about" - "Inside Adas Israel were many irreplaceable pieces of secular and religious art, as well as 19th century books written in Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, and Yiddish." Local View Column - Duluth News Tribune - by Sandford S Baddin

"How should I feel about synagogue fire? ... I will not forget the feeling I had when I saw the pictures of Adas Israel in flames on Sept. 9. It felt like my gut had been kicked; a wave of nausea hit me. I had just been to Adas Israel in 2017 and saw the beautiful Bima, the now-lost stained glass windows, and all the history of the families who shared it for over 100 years." Local View Column - Duluth News Tribune by Joli R. Shamblott

News Articles About the Fire

2019-9-9 9am Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-9 Emergency crews are responding to a fire at a synagogue in downtown Duluth.- - Firefighter rescued from synagogue balcony after hit by falling debris

2019-9-9 9am JTA - -
2019-9-9 - Fire destroys Minnesota synagogue - An early Monday morning fire destroyed a synagogue in northern Minnesota. - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

2019-9-9 10am Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-9 Fire destroys synagogue in downtown Duluth - A fire official said the building is "pretty much a total loss." Fate of the Torah scrolls are unknown. - Star Tribune

2019-9-9 11am Adas Israel fire JCRC statement - -
2019-9-9 Minneapolis – Steve Huneg, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued a statement regarding the fire at Duluth's historic Adas Israel Congregation:

2019-9-9 1pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-9 Duluth synagogue fire under investigation - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-9 4pm Adas Israel fire - Rob Shamblott - KBJR - -
2019-9-9 4pm - Fire Destroys 120-Year-Old Synagogue, Torah Scrolls Saved - A synagogue in northern Minnesota went up in flames on Monday. - comments by Rob Shamblott - KBJR

2019-9-9 7pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-9 Update - Fire destroys synagogue in downtown Duluth - A fire official said the building is "pretty much a total loss." - Attention focused on saving Torah scrolls. - Star Tribune

2019-9-9 9pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-9 Congregation grieves after fire destroys synagogue in downtown Duluth - - Members grieve loss of 117-year-old structure as cause investigated - comments from Chuck Cohen, Nina Cohen, David Sher, Jack Haskovitz . - Star Tribune

2019-9-9 Adas Israel fire - No Accelerant - NYTimes - -
2019-9-9 No Accelerant Signs at the Synagogue Fire in Minnesota City - The New York Times


2019-9-10 2am- Adas Israel fire - Congregants mourn - MPR - -
2019-9-10 2am - Congrants mourn loss of synagogue and so much history in fire. Comments from Mike Baddin and Jack Seiler. 'It's just heartbreaking to see so much history go away," Seiler said. - MPR News

2019-9-10 Adas Israel fire - 8 scrolls recovered - WDIO - -
2019-9-10 Eight Torah Scorlls Recovered from Burned Synagogue - Mike Baddin quotes - WDIO

2019-9-10 12pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-10 Burning synagogue 'a most terrifying image' - featuring Sarah Rose, Author with roots in Duluth - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-10 7pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-10 7pm - ATF Leading Investigation of Adas Israel Synagogue Fire in Duluth - WCCO

2019-9-10 8pm Adas Israel fire - -
2019-9-10 8pm - New Evidence Collected, Still No Cause in Duluth Synagogue Fire - WDIO

2019-9-10 8pm Adas Israel fire - community uniting - WDIO - -
2019-9-10 8pm Jewish Community Uniting in Wake of Duluth Synagogue Fire - WDIO

2019-9-10 Adas Israel fire - New Evidence - NYTimes - -
2019-9-10 Police: 'New Evidence' Recovered in Minnesota Synagogue Fire - The New York Times


2019-9-11 Adas Israel fire JNNC - -
2019-9-11 OPINION > FIRST PERSON - My family synagogue burned down in Minnesota this week. We lost much more than a building. BY JTA, Sarah Rose - The Jewish News of Northern California

2019-9-11 4pm Adas Isael Fire - -
2019-9-11 4pm - Anti-hate group keeps eye on investigation in Duluth - David Goldenberg, Midwest regional director for the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago, - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-11 6pm Adas Israel fire - Bryan Altman - -
2019-9-11 7pm - The day my grandfather's synagogue burned by Brian Altman - My heart goes out to the congregants of Adas Israel. May the memory of 3rd Street Schul” be a blessing. - Star Tribune


2019-9-12 Adas Israel fire - Matt Erickson - Bruzonsky - -
2019-9-12 Building Lost, But Family Memories Remain Amid Adas Israel Fire - by Mat Erickson, Bruzonsky family history - tc Jewfolk


2019-9-13 Adas Israel fire - suspect arrested - NYTimes - -
2019-9-13 Suspect Arrested in Fire at Historic Minnesota Synagogue - The New York Times

2019-9-13 Adas Israel fire - Suspect arrested - StarTrib - -
2019-9-13 Suspect arrested in fire at historic Duluth synagogue - Details will be released Sunday morning. - Star Tribune

2019-9-13 4pm Adas Israel fire - suspected arrested - DNT - -
2019-9-13 4pm Suspect arrested in Duluth synagogue fire - City officials will meet the media Sunday - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-13 5pm & 6pm Adas Israel fire - Arrest - WDIO - -
2019-9-13 5pm & 6pm Police: Arrest Made in Duluth Synagogue Fire - WDIO

2019-9-13 11pm Adas Israel fire - Suspect arrest- StarTrib - -
2019-9-13 11pm Suspect arrested in Duluth synagogue fire - Duluth man booked on suspicion of felony arson - quotes from Diane Hamou and Fred Davis - Star Tribune

2019-9-13 11pm Adas Isreal fire - man charged - CNN - -
2019-9-13 11pm Minnesota police charge man with arson in connection with fire that destroyed a 119-year-old synagogue - CNN


2019-9-14 10am Adas Israel fire - Views by Sanford S Baddin - DNT - -
2019-9-14 10am - Local View Column: Tragedy of Adas Israel fire hard to even talk about - by Sandford S Baddin - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-14 Adas Israel fire - Suspect Arrested - Time - -
2019-9-14 - Suspect Arrested After Fire Destroys Historic Minnesota Synagogue - Time


2019-9-15 11am Adas Israel fire - Suspect named - DNT - -
2019-9-15 11am - Update: Suspect named in Duluth synagogue fire - Matthew James Amiot was arrested in connection with the fire that destroyed Duluth’s Adas Israel synagogue Sept. 9 - quotes from Phil Sher, Sarah Rose and the late Bob Goldish - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-15 12pm Adas Israel fire - Man Held - ABC News - -
2019-9-15 12pm - Man Held in connection to fire that destroyed 119-year-old Minnesota synagogue - Duluth Police arrested Matthew Amiot. - ABC News

2019-9-15 12pm Adas Isreal fire - Press Comnference - WDIO - -
2019-9-15 12pm - Duluth Police Holding Press Conference on Synagogue Fire - WDIO

2019-9-15 1pm Adas Israel fire -man charged - WashPost - -
2019-9-15 1pm - A 117-year-old synagogue burned to the ground. Police say they’ve charged a man with arson. - comments by Rabbi Phillip Sher - The Washington Post

2019-9-15 1pm Adas Isreal fire - Man Arrested - WDIO - -
2019-9-15 1pm - 36-Year-Old Man Arrested Friday Suspect in Duluth Synagogue Fire - Matthew James Amiot was located, interviewed, and arrested Friday afternoon in downtown Duluth - Police Chief Tusken says police have no reason to believe this was a hate crime. - WDIO

2019-9-15 3pm Adas Israel fire - Not motivated by hate - CNN - -
2019-9-15 3pm - Police don't believe a Minnesota synagogue fire was motivated by hate - Rabbi Phillip Sher praised the efforts of firefighters and police, calling their actions 'heroic.' Firefighters went back into the building, which was still on fire, Sher said, to save religious artifacts important to the congregation. - CNN

2019-9-15 3pm Adas Israel Fire -Man Arrested - NYTimes - -
2019-9-15 3pm The Duluth police said they had found no evidence that hate or bias motivated the fire that destroyed the Adas Israel synagogue last week.- quotes from Phillip Sher, Sarah Rose and Steve Hunegs - The New York Times


2019-9-16 10am Adas Israel Fire - homeless man - -
2019-9-16 10am - Charges: Homeless man tried to put synagogue fire out after starting it The fire caused more than $350,000-worth of damage.

2019-16 11am Adas Israel fire - Man charged - DNT - -
2019-16 11am - UPDATE: Man charged in Duluth synagogue fire - A criminal complaint says Matthew James Amiot admitted to starting the fire and tried to extinguish it by spitting on it, but "when it would not go out, he walked away." - Duluth News Tribune

2019-9-16 Adas Israel fire - Police charge- JP Morning Read - -
2019-9-16 - Police charge suspect with arson in fire at historic Minnesota synagogue - JP Morning Read

2019-9-16 1pm Adas Israel fire - neglected flames - -KARE11 - -
2019-9-16 1pm *Charges: Neglected flames led to Duluth synagogue fire - The suspect's family says the homeless man was trying to stay warm on a cold night, and the flames accidentally spread. -KARE11

2019-9-16 1pm Matthew Amiot charged - WCCO - -
2019-9-16 1pm - Matthew Amiot Charged In Duluth Synagogue Fire - The man accused of starting a fire in a Duluth synagogue last week was formally charged Monday, according to a criminal complaint. - WCCO

2019-9-16 4pm Adas Israel fire - Bail set -StarTrib - -
2019-9-16 4pm - Bail set at $20,000 forhomeless man charged in Duluth synagogue fire He tried to spit the fire out, complaint says, but when it wouldn't go out he walked away. - Star Tribune

2019-9-16 4pm Adas Israel fire - Suspect CNN - -
2019-9-16 4pm - Suspect in Minnesota synagogue fire tired to put it out, police say. CNN


2019-9-17 Adas Israel fire - Legislative Update - -
2019-9-17 - Jen Schultz, State Representative - community feeling the shock and heartbreak - Legislative Update

2019-9-17 Adas Israel fire - Our View - DNT - -
2019-9-17 - Our View: Synagogue fire remains a major blow - Duluth News Tribune Editorial Board

2019-9-19 Adas Isreael Fire - Joli Shamblott DNT - -
2019-9-19 - Local View Column: How should I feel about synagogue fire? Written By: Joli R. Shamblott Duluth News Tribune

2019-10-4 Adas Israel arsonist returned to jail - -
2019-10-4 - Duluth Man who set Adas Israel fire to remain jailed.

2019-10-25 Fire starter gets some jail time and treatment StarTrib - -
2019-10-25 Duluth synagogue fire starter gets some jail time, treatment and fine - loss estimated at $1.4 million - - Mpls Star Tribune

2019-11-20 Adas Israel - artifacts burned again - -
2019-11-20 - Remains of artifacts charred in Duluth synagogue fire burn again in garage.

2019-12-8 Adas Israel - remains torn down - -
2019-12-8 - Adas Israel Congregation Synagogue demolished


Much of the information on this page was captured from the following sources
where more details are available:

A Collection of Memories Celebrating Jewish Live in the Northland - 1996 - - click here   (pdf)
Jewish Fellowship News - Jubilee Edition - - Welcome to the story of your community! by Phil Myzel and Harry Bergal
Stories and photos from the pages of the Jewish Fellowshp News, 1936-1995

Old Newspaper Articles related to Adas Israel Synagogue - - click here    (page on this site)
Extracted from a collection newspaper articles from as early as 1860 related to our ancestors and their communities
The articles are mostly from the Duluth newspapers.

Memories written by Hattie Kenner Goldish - - click here    (page on this site)
The memories of Hattie Kenner Goldish (1899-1999) include information about Adas Israel Congregation.

Also see:
Rabbis of Duluth and Superior - Pages Index (protected area)
Rabbis of Duluth and Superior - Chronology
Rabbis of Duluth and Superior - Links to Additional Information
Rabbis of Duluth and Superior - Old Newspaper Articles

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Page created Aug 2016; major update in Sep 2019