About Temple of Aaron
Temple of Aaron, a congregation affiliated with the Conservative Movement, is an egalitarian congregation devoted to the service of God (Avodah), the study of Torah and commitment to the Jewish people. We will energetically enrich and serve the diverse spiritual, emotional and social needs of our members through both traditional and innovative approaches to our Jewish heritage. Join us to worship, learn, find community, grow spiritually, help Judaism thrive, and share in God’s work.
Mission: Temple of Aaron has a long history of proud service to the St. Paul Jewish community. Dedicated to strengthening faith in our people’s covenant with God, the purpose of Temple of Aaron is to create Life-Long Learners and future leaders of the Jewish community. Here individuals and families can find meaning for their lives from serious engagement with the texts, wisdom, and celebrations of Judaism. Temple of Aaron is dedicated to perpetuating and affirming Judaism by strengthening the faith and nurturing the religious development of its members spiritually, intellectually, and socially.
Temple of Aaron; A Synagogue History
The Beginnings: 1910–1923
It was Rosh Hashanah afternoon, a crisp October day in 1910, and a handful of Orthodox St. Paul Jews had come together to express their common concern for the future of Judaism in the New World. They spoke of the fact that their children and grandchildren, unlike themselves, were being raised and educated in the United States, and they expressed a fear that these young people would lose interest in their religion. They affirmed their conviction that St. Paul Jewry should have a Conservative movement to preserve the basic traditions of their faith while adapting that faith to the demands of twentieth century America.
Three days later, they held a formal meeting at Bowlby Hall in the Hill district with the avowed purpose of insuring “that Judaism should live forevermore.” To accomplish this purpose, they pledged themselves to establish a Conservative synagogue in St. Paul. Their task was a difficult one, for the Conservative movement was so young that there was not yet a Conservative synagogue association to guide them…
(Click Here for Full History PDF)
The sanctuary is the heart of the Temple of Aaron. You will notice its upward sweeping beams meet in a ceiling arch dominated by a star. Two pillars flanking the Ark represent columns named Yahin and Boaz that flanked the throne of King Solomon. Following the ancient tradition for building the original Temple in Jerusalem, the main Sanctuary is constructed entirely of wood and brick. We added wood railings and a wood ramp to make the bemah more accessible for the 21st century. There is no metal visible to remind people of the instruments of war and violence. We have ten stained glass windows based upon the theme of a lifetime of a Jew and they were designed by Minneapolis artist William Saltzman: birth, first steps, Hebrew education, bar/bat mitzvah, confirmation, marriage, parenthood, community responsibility, old age, and immortality. The Spicer Kiddush Cup is magnificently sculptured to reflect the joy of Shabbat and the sheer joy of all creation. Our Ark curtain follows ancient tradition serving as a symbol of mystery and awe. It is hand woven and the Bible inspired three design aspects: Cloud, Wings, and Two Trumpets. The main Ark is made of wood, is the dominating force of the entire building and contains two tiers of Torahs. The Ark is flanked by Israeli marble symbolizing our eternal ties with Israel. Our building combines a vast awareness of the past with a deep sense for the future. The building sculpture facing the Mississippi is a study in fluid motion. It symbolizes the necessity for righteousness ever to flow through society, purging it of evils… for justice ever to well up from the fountainhead of the heart.
The Leifman Family Chapel has enabled people to pray every day while having a magnificent view of the Mississippi. We have observed yahrzeits, conducted funerals, celebrated weddings, brises, baby naming and bnai mitzvah. Like the first sacred Ark in the Book of Exodus, our Ark is also portable. Our faith is dynamic and moves as we move. Judaism is not fixed in things, nor any group, nor any given time. It moves about as it interplays with ideas and ideals. This portable Ark is symbolic of our belief that religion is stable but it does not stand still. The Effress Family Garden was added in the 1980s to add beauty and promote reflection for those participating in the Chapel.
The synagogue’s former building sustained a great fire in 1952 and many neighboring institutions offered us the use of their buildings ( churches and Macalester College).We built the Stein Good Neighbor Room so we had a great hall for community gatherings to serve our neighbors, regardless of creed or sect. The Greenberg Room transitions to our sanctuary and is a multipurpose room. We added a Rain Garden in 2012 to accent our connection to the community and its environment.
The Shirley Schlieff Greenberg Memorial Alcove was created so we can light a memorial candle prior to observing a yahrzeit of a loved one thus reaffirming the dignity of a person. The solitary flame of the Yahrzeit candle is a silent tribute to the precariousness and indestructibility of the human soul.
Our historical display cases are filled with ritual items created by artisans from every corner of the globe. Rabbi Bernard S. and Leah Raskas served our members for nearly 40 years and traveled the world to collect an impressive array to show the striking beauty and variety of our tradition.
Sisterhood Gift Shop:
- Sunday 9am-Noon
- Tuesday 10am-1pm
- Wednesday 10am-1pm & 6-8pm
Also open by appointment. Call Marcia Taple at 651-688-3030.
Temple of Aaron Gift Shop features collections by Gary Rosenthal, Tamara Baskin, Quest, Badash Crystal, and more…
Planning a Tour
Temple of Aaron Synagogue, have successfully provided tours for area churches for over 40 years, and would be glad to welcome yours. To schedule a tour please email Susie Haim or call her at 651-698-8874 ext. 100.