Monday, May 14, 2012

Temple Jacob in Hancock to celebrate centennial Aug. 9-12

Temple Jacob in Hancock, Mich., the only active synagogue in Michigan listed on the National Historic Register, will celebrate its centennial anniversary Aug. 9-12, 2012. (Photo courtesy Temple Jacob)

HANCOCK --  Temple Jacob in Hancock, Mich., will mark its centennial anniversary with a three-day celebration Aug. 9-12, 2012. This historic building, at the north end of the Portage Lift Bridge separating Houghton and Hancock, has its roots in the copper mining boom of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Preparations are under way for this once in a lifetime weekend of festivities to honor Temple Jacob’s 100-year history and launch its second century. Events will include a Friday night Shabbat service and Oneg, the opening reception for the Temple Jacob exhibit at the Carnegie Museum, a tour to historic Jewish Community homes and businesses, a gala Saturday night dinner party and a Sunday bagel brunch.

A Centennial Campaign has been organized to ensure the financial stability of Temple Jacob for generations to come. Anyone who has an interest in this small Jewish community or has a connection to Temple Jacob personally or through family history, is invited to contact to be included in the invitation list, to share their stories, and to contribute to the fund to maintain this architectural treasure.*

Temple Jacob, with its distinctive copper dome and magnificent stained glass windows, is the only active synagogue in Michigan listed on the National Historic Register and the oldest continuously active Jewish House of Worship in the Upper Peninsula. Its architect was Charles Maass, who also designed other well-known buildings in the Copper Country.

In 1889, when the founders -- Jacob Gartner, Henry Pimstein, Herman Joffee, Henry Feldman and J. Gottliebson -- established the "Congregation of Israel," there were approximately 100 Jewish families in the Copper Country. By 1912, when the building was completed, the demand for copper had begun to decline. Although membership in the congregation has diminished over the years, Temple Jacob continues to serve a diverse and ever changing congregation with High Holiday services, Passover Seders, Torah Study, Jewish camping programs, Sukkot and Purim celebrations and more. All this is done through the efforts of a committed core of community members and occasional visiting clergy.

Affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism, Temple Jacob is supported by its members and the continued generosity of a small, but growing group of friends. Over the years, many Jewish students and faculty at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, as well as other professionals who have sojourned in the Copper Country, have benefited from an affiliation with Temple Jacob.

For further information, contact Susan Burack at 906-482-3270 or 

* Contributions can also be made online at, which includes a video describing Temple Jacob’s historic role in the Copper Country.

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