Setting the Stage: 

Jewish Theater in the Upper Midwest from Its Origin to the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company
by Doris Rubenstein with Natalie Madgy
Upper Midwest Jewish Journal Volume 8

For decades, Jews in Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest had little opportunity to participate in theatrical enterprises, either amateur or profes­sional. Thespian seeds planted among the footlights of Jewish institutions dur­ing the Great Depression blossomed following World War II. These Jewish flowers spread out and sprouted in many forms: Amateur productions became an important part of most synagogues and their youth programs, Jewish Community Centers, Jewish summer camps. These amateur shows built skills, strengthened talents, and cultivated appreciative audiences. The generation who matured during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century took bold new steps in every aspect of theater: homegrown acting, writing, and technical tal­ent; impresarios who started innovative theater companies; leadership on Boards of Directors. The culmination of this movement resulted in the estab­lishment of the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company which celebrated its twenty-fifth continuous season in 2019-2020. The MJTC proves that Jewish the­ater can have broad audience appeal without losing its yiddishe neshuma. Authors Doris Rubenstein with Natalie Madgy trace the roots of Jewish theater in Minnesota and neighboring parts of Wisconsin that resulted in the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. Profiles of local Jewish artists-past and present-in our region reveal the outsized impact this population has had on the richness of theater life in Minnesota.

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We Spoke Jewish Book

The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and author, Susan Weinberg are proud to present We Spoke Jewish. Through the lens of artwork and story, Susan explores the three groups of Jewish immigrants of the 20th century, weaving together a multi-layered storytelling experience. Learn more about the book and upcoming events at and how you can contact Susan if you are interested in having her speak to your organization.

Read the American Jewish World’s review of We Spoke Jewish. “The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, along with editor Susan Weinberg, has produced a lovely and lavishly illustrated book titled We Spoke Jewish: A Legacy in Stories.”

The paintings allow the viewer to feel the heartbeat of the subject  and their testimonies…create an emotional connection to historical moments- Meryll Page, educator and co-author of Jewish Luck

$22.95 plus $5 shipping


North Side DVD CoverWe Knew Who We Were: Memories of the Minneapolis Jewish North Side DVD
An affectionate portrait of the Jewish time and space the was the North Side – a beautiful bridge that carried a community from the shtetls of the Old World to the suburbs of the New World. Now digitally remastered with bonus features including extended scenes, a present-day neighborhood tour and a spirited rendition of the North High rouser, We Knew Who We Were is a classic example of the American Jewish experience as well as one that relates to the experience of all immigrant communities.

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Click here to read one of the producer’s experience of working on We Knew Who We Were.

Past Upper Midwest Jewish History Journals

JHSUM publishes a biennial journal called Upper Midwest Jewish History. Journal copies are available for purchase through JHSUM.

Jewish Scrap Stories from the Upper Midwest Jewish Scrap Stories from the Upper Midwest
Upper Midwest Jewish History Vol. 7

Hot off the press! Our latest journal- Jewish Scrap Stories from the Upper Midwest is now available.  The journal accompanies our Scrap Stories exhibit which is currently on display in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery at the Sabes JCC in Minneapolis, MN. Order your copy today! All new members receive a complimentary copy join today!

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About our exhibit: Learn how the barely tolerated Jewish junkman, who picked up everything from bones and bottles to rags and iron, became a leader in the Green Revolution. You may find your grandparents’ story here. Produced by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest. On display in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery & Shared Walls Exhibition Areas from April 3rd- May 26, 2016.

Who Knew? Stories from the Archives was a run away bestseller and we are sold out. New Members will receive a copy of Prairie Perspectives: Our Jewish Veterans Remember World War II.

From the Minnesota Historical Society Minnesota History Magazine:
The Fall 2011 issue of Upper Midwest Jewish History (journal of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest,volume 6) is, simply put, a gem. Who Knew? Stories Unearthed from the Archives is a riveting and engaging collection of first-person accounts that should serve as a model for how to use archival material. With the power and immediacy that only a personal story can deliver, the many short entries merge to tell a larger story- and show that no community speaks with one voice. Editor Linda Mack Schloff has arranged these highly diverse pieces into seven chapters that allow for a wide range of topics: Privileged and Not So Privileged, Greater Minnesota, The Dakotas, Urban Neighborhoods, Creating Community, Contesting Community, and Community Responses to Outside Forces. Her clear and informative introductions to each entry provide the context that enables readers “with no knowledge of the speaker or topic to follow along.

Who Knew? Stories from the Archives is now available online. Click here to download.  To be sure you don’t miss the next one join or renew today!

Click here to renew or join today.

Prairie Perspectives WWII CoverPrairie Perspectives: Our Jewish Veterans Remember World War II

Upper Midwest Jewish History Vol. 5

The culmination of a three-year World War II Oral History Project, this book-length journal is the first-ever compilation of Upper Midwestern Jewish World War II experiences.

Click here to download Prairie Perspectives.

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Journal 2004 IssueThe 2004 Issue: In America People Were FREE

Contains four personal accounts of immigration and settlement. Essays include: Holy Moses by Beryl Bearman Gordon, The Tenenbaum Family by Morris Tenenbaum, An Early Account of the Schochet Family by Philip Schochet and History of the North Dakota Jewish Community by Isadore Papermaster.


The 2000 Issue: North Side Memories: An Oral History of Minnesota’s Largest Jewish Neighborhood is now available online. Click the links to download.
Part 1
Part 2

The 1998 Issue: first edition of Upper Midwest Jewish History
This volume of Upper Midwest Jewish History is out of print and only available online.
Part 1
Part 2