B'nai Israel Synagogue Add to Favorites

B'nai Israel Synagogue is the only Jewish institution in active use in southwest Iowa, serving Jews in Iowa, and Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Our goal is to keep Jewish traditions alive! We aim to do this through Jewish worship and celebrations, historical preservation of the building, and maintaining the Jewish heritage and culture of Council Bluffs. We celebrate the Jewish holidays and monthly services for Shabbat.

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Address: 618 Mynster Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
B'nai Israel Synagogue was founded in 1904 and has a rich history in Council Bluffs. The current building dates from 1931, rebuilt following a fire, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. A fully lay-leadership arranges monthly religious services, which include speakers whose presentations relate to Jewish history and culture, or current events which shape our neighboring communities. The synagogue and its members have been good neighbors in Council Bluffs, proud to be part of the rich history of the area. Maintaining and preserving the historic building is of utmost concern. In order to allow access to all who wish to visit this historic building, a stair lift has recently been installed. Omaha Gives proceeds help so much with these extraordinary expenses!
"We both moved to Omaha from other parts of the Midwest and were looking for a diverse, welcoming congregation. We found that with the folks at B'nai Israel in Council Bluffs who opened their arms and made us feel at home. The High Holiday Services are a special time for us at B'nai Israel, we met there during breaking of the fast service several years ago. We always look forward to making the short drive to Council Bluffs for a perfect blend of culture, religion and tradition. As part of a younger generation that is cautious about how we use our time and resources, we believe this is an organization well worth supporting and hope you will do the same."
Ben Justman & Jeannette Gabriel

"I am pleased to be a congregant and board member of B'nai Israel. Growing up in small town Iowa (Missouri Valley), although we were not members at B'nai Israel (we belonged in Omaha), we often attended holiday events there because we had great friends who were active. As Council Bluffs grows with exciting projects such as Rivers Edge, we are hoping to attract new families who move to these new developments. B'nai Israel has developed a reputation as an inviting gathering place for Jews of all ages. Our monthly Sabbath service has grown markedly in attendance over the last three years. My wife Iris and I are happy to be a part of this renewal."

"I support B'nai Israel in Council Bluffs in order to perpetuate the legacy of my forebears. My paternal grandparents emigrated from Russia in the early 1890's settling in Council Bluffs. My father, Louis Katelman, was born in
1895, followed by 9 siblings. In 1905, his parents, along with other immigrants, created the first synagogue. A strong kinship amongst families and friends led to an active congregation. Today, our families may not be as numerous, but the synagogue remains a significant remembrance of the past. Our diverse congregation is very welcoming. It is my intention to perpetuate the legacy I inherited and encourage anyone who has a strong feeling for tradition and heritage, who loves history and supports Jewish causes, to consider a donation of any size."