Fargo Hebrew Congregation

Fargo Hebrew Congregation photo

Photo of Fargo Hebrew Congregation’s synagogue from page 68 of Images of America Fargo North Dakota 1870-1940 by David B. Danbom and Claire Strom.

Lesk family photo

Rabbi David Lesk and his wife, Chaye Lesk, with their son Ben.

While there is little information on the Fargo Hebrew Congregation, it was the first Orthodox Jewish temple in Fargo. On July 6, 1886 William Giles, Abraham Rubel, and David Mezirow incorporated the temple, however it did not open its doors until 1906 and it took two years to complete the building.  The synagogue was built across from Island Park on First Street. Until it opened, the congregation held services in their homes.  The rabbi was David Lesk, who also provided services to smaller settlements in the area.  One possible reason for the lack of information regarding this original temple is the fact that later in its history there was a split within the congregation between those that were Orthodox and Reformists, as well as the fact that the temple is no longer in use.[1][2]

 

Heather Brinkman, Digital History 2012


[1] Caron, John. “Fargo, N.D., History Exhibition, Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU.” Fargo, N.D., History             Exhibition, Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU. North Dakota State University, 2004. Web. 30          Oct. 2012. <http://library.ndsu.edu/fargo-history/churches/fargo-hebrew-cong.htm>.

 

[2] Bizapedia.com. “FARGO HEBREW CONGREGATION OF THE CITY OF FARGO IN THE STATE OF NORTH                 DAKOTA.” Bizapedia.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.              <http://www.bizapedia.com/nd/FARGO-HEBREW-CONGREGATION-OF-THE-CITY-OF-FARGO-IN-   THE-STATE-OF-NORTH-DAKOTA.html>.

 

Lena Bertha Kopelman

Lena Bertha Kopelman

April 29, 1869 – December 3, 1947

 

Lena Bertha Kopelman photo

“My mother… [was] a wig maker and maker of hair switches and other hair goods. [She] taught us all how to weave human hair and we became 


fairly adept at it, but we could never make our fingers fly like our mother did… Kopelman’s Beauty Shop was one of the very first beauty shops in Fargo…

Rose, Dorothy and I helped to make the shop a going business, all of us merely helping our mother who was quite a business woman.”

~ Jeanette Kopelman Saval, letter, 1977. [1]

            Mrs. Kopelman was the owner of Fargo’s first beauty salon.  She was a wig maker, widow, and mother of seven children.  One December 22, 1901 she became the president of Sister’s of Peace, which is a Jewish charity organization.[2]  As a devoted member of the Jewish community, she also had a business agreement with the Fargo Hebrew Congregation to run the mikvah in the basement of her store.  (A mikhav is a bath meant to purify women within the Jewish faith before a Sabbath or after menstruation.[3])  She would charge $1 and provide towels, water, and soap. (See agreement between Mrs. Kopelman and The Fargo Hebrew Congregation)[4]

Heather Brinkman, Digital History 2012

[1] Schloff, Linda Mack. And Prairie Dogs Weren’t Kosher: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest since 1855.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1996. Print.

[2] “American Jewish Year Book.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.  <http://books.google.com/books?id=0LUyAAAAMAAJ>.

[3] Farlex, Inc. “Mikvah.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex, 2012. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mikvah>.

[4] Schloff, Linda Mack. And Prairie Dogs Weren’t Kosher: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest since 1855.       St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1996. Print.

Kopelman Building photo

This is the outside of the Kopelman building. This building housed many different offices as well as the beauty salon run by Mrs. Lena Kopelman.

 

Inside of the Kopelman Store photo

This is a photo of the inside of the Kopelman store.