1341 West Minnehaha Parkway
This building is home to the congregation called Shir Tikvah (Hebrew for “Song of Hope”; pronounced "sheer TEEK-vah"), which is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism, a national organization. Shir Tikvah was founded in 1988; the congregation bought this building in 1994 after experiencing rapid membership growth.
Before becoming a synagogue, the building belonged to the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. It was the third church built by First Universalist since their founding in 1859. Plans for this building, to be called The Church of the Redeemer, were announced in 1944 after a decline in membership forced them to sell their previous church. However, a building material shortage during World War II prevented construction, and the building was not completed until 1949. The church was dedicated on the 90th anniversary of the First Universalist congregation.
Construction of the Church of the Redeemer was part of a wave of building in the 1940s by Minneapolis religious organizations in which more than fifty new buildings, additions, and remodelings were planned. The building’s Colonial Revival style, evidenced in the red brick, white trim, and classical Doric portico, was inspired by the architecture of Thomas Jefferson and pays homage to the earliest Universalist and Unitarian churches in New England.
The First Universalist congregation added the school wing on the building’s west side in 1950. The congregation continued to occupy the building until 1993. At that time, they purchased the former Adath Jeshurun Synagogue at 3400 Dupont Avenue So. Shir Tikvah bought the building soon thereafter, citing the building’s central location in the Twin Cities, the shape of its sanctuary, its history as a religious space, and the school wing as factors in their choice. Since buying the building, the Shir Tikvah congregation has installed an accessible entrance, built a playground, and has designed an egalitarian and welcoming worship space. On the building’s east side, a window has been modified to accommodate the synagogue’s Ark of the Covenant, where sacred Torah scrolls are kept. These changes reflect Shir Tikvah’s dedication to inclusivity and accessibility for all members of the Jewish faith.