B'nai Abraham SynagogueEdit profile
The B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia Minnesota is a story of loss and reuse. Built in 1909-10, it was the last remaining active synagogue on the Iron Range, and its once-robust congregation dwindled to a handful of members who could no longer maintain the handsome brick structure. It closed its doors in the min-1990s. Many religious places such as B'nai Abraham slowly become vacant in areas where scant resources are available to continue serving their communities or rekindle new purposes. Their fate often means erasure from the landscape, though not from the memory of those whose lives were shaped by them. It was acquired in 2004 by a not-for-profit organization, The Friends of B'nai Abraham, who raised funds, and continue to do so, for the building's restoration. Its restoration is underway and reuse of this unique religious, cultural and historical building is ongoing. It has been rededicated as the B'nai Abraham Museum and Cultural Center in order to serve the citizens of Virginia, Minnesota and surrounding areas, and to preserve the history of its Jewish community, of which it was so much a part. The building reopened in the summer of 2008, and is jointly managed by the Friends organization and the Virginia Area Historical Society. It is used as a cultural center and museum and includes a permanent exhibit documenting the history of Jewish settlement on the Iron Range.