Mount Sinai Temple (Sioux City, Iowa)

Mount Sinai Temple is an historic former Reform synagogue located in Sioux City, Iowa, in the United States. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Mount Sinai Temple
The former Reform synagogue, in 2011
Ecclesiastical or organisational statusSynagogue
Location1320 Nebraska Street, Sioux City, Iowa
CountryUnited States
Mount Sinai Temple (Sioux City, Iowa) is located in Iowa
Mount Sinai Temple (Sioux City, Iowa)
Location of the former Reform synagogue
in Iowa
Geographic coordinates42°30′18″N 96°24′10″W / 42.50500°N 96.40278°W / 42.50500; -96.40278
General contractorOstling & Johnson
Date established1898 (as a congregation)
Completed1901, 1922
Mount Sinai Temple
Arealess than 1 acre
NRHP reference No.99001268
Added to NRHPOctober 21, 1999



There were Jews living in Sioux City as early as the 1860s, but a synagogue was not built in the city until 1884.[3] Adas Jeshurun was an Orthodox congregation. The Jewish community in Sioux City grew from 200 in 1890 to nearly 2,500 by World War I.[4] Sioux City was home to the second largest Jewish community in the state of Iowa at the time.[3]

Mount Sinai Temple congregation was established in 1898. However, the Reform Jewish community had organized a cemetery association in 1869 and had been worshipping regularly in concert with the Unitarian Church of Sioux City.[5] The Mount Sinai Temple was designed by George Washington Burkhead in the Queen Anne-style, was built as a 1+12-story, frame, clapboard- and shingle-sided, building, and opened in 1901. Its 1922 addition was designed by William L. Steele was in Prairie School style.[2][5][6]

Between World Wars I and II the Jewish Community Center in Sioux City hosted 60 to 70 clubs, classes, and organizations that ranged from socialist workers to Zionists. A one-mile section of West Seventh Street was home to 22 Jewish owned businesses in 1944.[4]

In 1956, the congregation outgrew the Nebraska Street synagogue, and a larger facility was constructed on 38th Street. The Nebraska Street synagogue became home to the United Orthodox Synagogue, formed from several Orthodox congregations whose numbers were diminishing.[5][1]

After World War II the Jewish community in Sioux City began to decline. By the mid 1980s the population was down to 700 people,[4] and by 2001 it was down to 300.[3] The Jewish congregations in Sioux City combined their religious schools in 1990. In 1994, the Conservative Shaare Zion and the Reform Mount Sinai congregations merged into a dual-affiliation synagogue called Beth Sholom.[4]


  1. ^ No evidence of closure of the United Orthodox congregation, although numbers had dwindled to less than a handful, as of 2004.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Baron of the Orthodox keeps old faith going". Sioux City Journal. May 25, 2004. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Iowa". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Klass, Tim (August 21, 1994). "Jews Dwindle In Small Towns Of Mid-America -- Sioux City Is Typical; Population Falls To 560, Synagogues Merge". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Castleberry, Glenda (June 6, 1998). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Mount Sinai Temple / United Orthodox Synagogue". National Park Service. Retrieved August 11, 2019. With accompanying 16 photos
  6. ^ Gebhard, David; Mansheim, Gerald (2012). Esperdy, Gabrielle; Kingsley, Karen (eds.). "United Orthodox Synagogue, [Sioux City, Iowa]". SAH Archipedia. Charlottesville: Society of Architectural Historians and University of Virginia Press. Retrieved January 8, 2024.

Further reading