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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Collection Description

On May 14, 1882, a group of men of the Jewish faith met in Bloomington “for the purpose of forming a Congregation.” One week later it was decided that the congregation would be named Moses Montefiore, after the Jewish philanthropist of the same name.  Services were first held in the basement of the Free Congregational Church (which was later called the Independent Church, then the Unitarian Church).  On April 6, 1884 Maik Livingston gave a donation of $100 to go towards building a house of worship.  In five years, a Byzantine edifice was constructed on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Prairie.

By the 1940s the population of the congregation was becoming too large for the temple to accommodate.  In 1956, under the leadership of Rabbi Moses Landau, a movement was begun to build a new, larger temple.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of Sam Stern and his building committee, and to Oscar Cohn, funds were raised and construction began in the fall of 1958.  These efforts can be seen in this collection, as there are many records of letters and donations.  The new temple, also called Moses Montefiore, was completed in the summer of 1959. 

This collection includes record books, constitutions, correspondence, architecture plans, event programs, etc. 


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