Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Part of the IAGenWeb Project



620 N. Adams Avenue, Mason City

The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Mason City Centennial Issue
Monday, June 01, 1953, Section 7, Pages 26 & 38

Jewish Community

The building of a Jewish community in Mason City started with the arrival of Mier Wolf and family from Cedar Rapids in 1898. In 1902 the Frank Kropman family moved here, followed by the Sam Woldman, Morris Shulman and Wilham Larger families.

By 1908 there were a sufficient number of families to support a rabbi and that year Rabbi Isaac Schultz of Chicago came to Mason City and organized the Adas Israel congregation. In 1910, a small synagog was built at 621 Adams S. W. The charter members were Mier Wolf, Frank Kropman, Sam Woldman, Morris Shulman, William Larner, Morris Miller, T. Benblit, Sam Kitsis, Herman Goldstein, Louis Tokman, Sam Garfin, J. Friedman and William Alter.

Rabbi Schultz was succeeded in 1915 by Rabbi Simon Levinson. In 1929 Rabbi Schultz returned to find the Jewish community increased to 35 families. As the synagog grew Rabbi Schultz was retained for the more orthodox member and a more modern rabbi for the younger members.

NOTE: Mier Wolf was born in 1871, and died in 1938.

Rose Woldman was born in 1879, and died in 1968.

Sam Garfin was born in 1905, and died in 1979. Florence Garfin was born in 1908, and died in 1994.

The Adas Israel congregation erected a new synagogue at 7th and Adams N. W., which was dedicated in May, 1942. The structure is of brick with tile roof and has a seating capacity of 300 and is provided with ample grounds, beautifully landscaped.

[Section 8, Pages 6 & 10] The construction of the Adas Israel Synagogue at 7th and Adams N. W. in early 1942 brought the fulfillment of the dream of members of this congregation since the first Jewish families came to Mason City a half century ago. The church seats 300, with a spacious social room in the basement.

Transcription and notes by Sharon R. Becker, December of 2014

~ ~ ~ ~


Adas Israel Synogogue was founded on September 10, 1910 when fourteen men contributed $175 to establish a congregation. Presently there are fourteen families associated with the synogogue. Due to the fact that the synogogue is situated approximately 100 miles, more or less, from another congregation, Adas Israel's membership includes traditional Jews to the Reformed.

~ ~ ~ ~

Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
September 26, 2012, By Laura Bird

MASON CITY — As David Kropman of Mason City blew a horn called the shofar Wednesday night, he marked the end of 10 days of repentance and a celebration.

North Iowa Jews celebrated Yom Kippur — the Jewish faith’s holiest day — at the Temple Adas Israel, Mason City.

“Grant us atonement,” around 12 members read in unison from a prayer book.

The services marked the “culmination of 10 days of repentance,” said spiritual leader Michael Libbie, Des Moines, who conducted the services.

The High Holy Days started with Rosh Hashanah, which celebrated the birth of the world, Libbie said.

“That began 10 days of introspective,” he said. “We come to see other people we’ve wronged and ask for their forgiveness.”

The night before Yom Kippur included more services and the start of fasting at sunset, which allows even clearer thinking, Libbie said.

Jews then spend Yom Kippur praying and confessing their sins several times.

“The idea is we recognize we may not be in tune with all the sins we’ve done,” Libbie said.

“We believe on Yom Kippur, God physically comes to earth and listens to the prayers of the Jews and makes the judgement on what’s going to happen to you in the next year,” he added.

Gary Levinson, Mason City, said the reflecting is very meaningful.

“It’s the ability to look back on the year and see how you’ve done,” he said. “And to be ready to say, ‘I’m going to try to do better.’ I think that’s the meaning of this week.”

It is hoped that after the horn is blown, everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life for the next year and they are put back on the right path.

“We know very clearly what our job is, but we run away from it,” Libbie said. “That’s why we have Yom Kippur — to get back, to get right.”

After the services and blowing of the horn, the 27-hour fast was broken with a celebratory meal.

The meal included traditional Jewish foods such as lox, challah, bagels, salads, wine and grape juice.

“It’s a great joy,” Libbie said, “because you don’t miss food until you lose it.”

~ ~ ~ ~

Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
September 04, 2013, By Mary Pieper

MASON CITY — Two candles were lit after sundown Wednesday at the Adas Israel synagogue in Mason City to usher in the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.

“The year gone by has faded with the sunset as we move always forward into life,” said Michael Libbie, spiritual leader of Adas Israel, at the beginning of the Eve of Rosh Hashana service, which was conducted partly in English and partly in Hebrew.

Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, which end in 10 days with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

Dr. Gary Levinson, of St. Ansgar, one of the 20 members of Adas Israel, said Yom Kippur is “the holiest day of the year.”

This is when Jews ask forgiveness for their sins.

If they have wronged God, they ask God’s forgiveness. If the wrong is against another person, “you have to make amends to that person,” Levinson said.

Jews also fast the entire day on Yom Kippur, which, like all Jewish holidays, begins at sundown the day before.

After the Rosh Hashana evening service, those who attended gathered in the basement of Adas Israel for a meal which included soup and challah, a braided bread served on the Sabbath as well as on Jewish holidays.

A special cover that has a Hebrew prayer embroidered on it is placed over the challah. It can’t be touched until the service is over.

Today there will be another Rosh Hashana service at Adas Israel beginning at 10 a.m.

Levinson said members of the synagogue will take turns reading from the Torah during this service. The Torah is written by hand on a scroll.

Yom Kippur services are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, and at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

David Kropman, 57, of Mason City, has been attending Adas Israel his entire life.

He said at one time 80 families were in the congregation, but nowadays there are usually only about eight to 10 people at Sabbath services, which are now held once a month instead of each week.

Libbie travels from the Des Moines area where he lives to Mason City to lead the services.

Kropman said some non-Jews come to the services because they enjoy them.

One of them is Ruth Newman, of Kensett, who began coming to Adas Israel about 10 years ago.

She said her mother knew the Kropman family and that’s how they found out about Adas Israel.

Newman said one of the things she likes best about Adas Israel is the people.

Transcription and Submission by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013


  • Passover Seder, 2016



  • Return to Cerro Gordo Church Index Page

  • Return to Cerro Gordo Home Page


    © Copyright 1996-
    Cerro Gordo Co. IAGenWeb Project
    All rights Reserved.