Utah's Jewish heritage honored

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Political and religious leaders honored Utah's early Jewish pioneers Thursday.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined Rabbi Tracee Rosen in recognizing the Peery Hotel as occupying the site of the first Jewish house of worship in 1883--a fact recently discovered by historians.

"We looked back into the annals of history to the origins of the Jewish community, the Jewish presence here in Salt Lake and here in Utah," Rosen said.

Utah's first Jewish congregation, B'Nai Israel, was formed in 1873. For a time they used the LDS Church's Assembly Hall for worship until their own building was built in 1883, where the hotel now stands.

That site was used for about two decades, until the congregation grew and split. Today, Jews in Utah number about 4,000.

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