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Exhibit opening: Symbolic Significance

September 11, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Celebrating the opening of the exhibit

Join us on Sept. 11 at Elmer L. Andersen Library to celebrate the new exhibit Symbolic Significance: Tracing the History of Jewish High Holidays and the First Day of School. Curated by Kate Dietrick, Archivist for the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives, this will be an opportunity for an engaging conversation around the topics and documents brought to light. The program will include a panel conversation with Natan Paradise, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies; Riv-Ellen Prell Emeritus Professor, University of Minnesota; Benjie Kaplan, Director, Hillel; and Steve Hunegs, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council.

The event will be held in person at Elmer L. Andersen Library with heavy appetizers. Please RSVP by Sept. 1.

Register for Symbolic Significance


  • 5-6 p.m. — Exhibit viewing/Reception
  • 6-7 p.m. — Program
  • 7-7:30 p.m. — Exhibit viewing & curator Q&A in the gallery

About Symbolic Significance

The first day of school holds a certain kind of magic — the anticipation, the fresh beginning, the promise. It is a day filled with symbolic significance for students from kindergarten to college. In Minnesota, this first day of school occurs in September and has at times conflicted with the Jewish high holidays, forcing students, staff, and faculty to choose between their religious practice and the symbolic start of their education.

Over the past decade, more school districts have begun to recognize non-Christian faith holidays as they plan their academic calendars. These changes and the shifting respect for other religions and cultures didn’t happen overnight, but rather have played out over a decades-long struggle for minority visibility and understanding.

This exhibit examines the history of Jewish community members working with local school districts to make space for Jewish Minnesotans to practice their religion without conflict. The exhibit is open Sept. 5, 2023 through Jan. 30, 2024 at Elmer L. Andersen Library, third floor.

Sponsored by the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives and co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, Minnesota Hillel, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.


September 11, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 21st Ave. S, room 120
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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