100 Years of Congregation Brith Sholem: Honoring the Jewish Community in Ogden, Utah


Graphic for Brith Sholem

On August 21, 1921, over 2,000 people of various denominations gathered at 2750 Grant Avenue between Twenty-Seventh and Twenty-Eighth Streets in Ogden, Utah, to witness the laying of the cornerstone for Congregation Brith Sholem. Former Governor Simon Bamberger, the first Jewish governor of Utah, gave the principal address followed by speeches from Mayor Frank Francis and other prominent members and church leaders of the area.[1] One hundred years later, Congregation Brith Sholem still stands as the oldest, continuously active Jewish synagogue in Utah. This exhibit, One Hundred Years of Congregation Brith Sholem: Honoring the Jewish community in Ogden, Utah, shares the history of Congregation Brith Sholem and its stories from a multifaceted Jewish community filled with resilience, celebrations, and unity. It shares a broad historical overview of the synagogue, which include its inception in 1890; the fire of 1989, which gutted most of the synagogue’s interior; the religious education program; and biographical information about the seven in-house rabbis that served the congregation from 1914 to 1931.  

This exhibit also presents biographical information on various Congregation Brith Sholem members, who represent the myriad of members from 1890 to 2021. Unquestionably, those highlighted reflect a very small portion of members who have been a part of Congregation Brith Sholem. Note that the members featured do not take precedence over other members, but rather demonstrate the diversity of the synagogue’s community since its establishment.   

The archival materials used for this research project include primary sources from University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, Utah Digital Newspaper Project, Utah State University Special Collections & Archives, Weber State University Archives, and archives from Congregation Brith Sholem. The archival materials include newspaper articles and advertisements from sources like Ogden’s The Standard-Examiner and Salt Lake City’s Tribune; correspondence, invitations, meeting minutes, newsletters, and photographs from Congregation Brith Sholem; maps; and Polk Directories.  

David Geller, professor of aerospace engineering and a member of the Brith Sholem Synagogue since 2004, initiated this digital exhibit, which was also created in partnership with Utah State University Special Collections & Archives, members of Congregation Brith Sholem, and Ogden Union Station Museums.

Exhibition Credits:

  • Rebecca Andersen (Public Historian Consultant)
  • Monique Davila (Exhibit Curator)
  • Anastasia Davis (Metadata)
  • Brad Duncan (Digital Initiatives Assistant)
  • Jennifer Duncan (Faculty Exhibit Advisor)
  • David Geller (Faculty Exhibit Advisor)
  • Shay Larsen (Graphic Designer)
  • Branson Roskelley (Digital Project Coordinator)
  • Becky Thoms (Digital Initiatives Consultant)
  • Abby Thorne (Copy Editor)
[1] “Ogden Synagogue Cornerstone Laid,” Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), August 22, 1921.