B’nai Abraham shares Range Jewish history with stories, music

B’nai Abraham Cultural Center, Virginia, Minnesota

When the Iron Range received a surge of immigrants in the early 20th Century it become one of the most diverse places in the country, a fact that often seems foreign on the Iron Range of today. Among its many groups was a vibrant Jewish community, and though that community mostly dispersed after the natural ore mines wound down in the 1950s and ’60s, elements remain. Key among them, the B’nai Abraham Cultural Center in Virginia, Minnesota, still located at the corner of 4th Avenue and 5th Street.

B’nai Abraham will host a series of events in June that you might find interesting.

On Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m., Paul D. “Dave” Wellstone, son of the late senator, will speak about his life growing up in Northfield, memories from his family, many of whom were lost in the terrible 2002 plane crash, and his continued affinity for the Iron Range. He’ll also discuss his new book and work. Before the lecture at 6 p.m., the musical duo WHITE COVERED TREES will perform. White Covered Trees is a folk acoustic duo originating in Minneapolis, MN. The group is made up of harmonies from Sam Blustin and David Milavetz, who both have a passion and love for creating music with meaning. Our goal is to share our love for music with our audience.

Then, on Saturday, June 8 at 7 p.m., Maria Jette, a lyric soprano, and Dan Chouinard, two stars of the Twin Cities musical scene, will perform popular, jazz, and operatic and show tunes. Maria sings, Dan plays the piano, and together they have appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, and on nearly every stage in the Twin Cities. Tickets for this show are on sale now and cost $10. You can get them through the Virginia Area Historical Society at (218) 741-1136, and from Louise Grams at (218) 749-2037. Payments must be in cash or by check in advance, and tickets can be picked up the evening of the concert at the B’nai Abraham Museum and Cultural Center.

These events made possible in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


  1. I’ll see if I can get these posted on the NWFA Facebook page. We’re in our Spring Arts Expo, here in Cook, with Timber Days next weekend, but we do like to at least mention events in the area. But we have so many postings tight now.

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