The South Bend Cubs Team Store was once the home of the Sons of Israel (B’nai Israel) Synagogue, which was built in 1901 to serve part of the Orthodox Jewish community in downtown South Bend. However, after the city’s largest employer, Studebaker, closed in 1963, many members of the Sons of Israel left the city. For a time, this building held a small Reconstructionist congregation.
In 1986, the baseball stadium was built and now is home to the South Bend Cubs. The synagogue stopped holding services in 1991, and in 2001 it became the property of the city of South Bend. We are thankful to Andrew Berlin, the owner of the South Bend Cubs, for preserving the building at this location. Go around the corner to the south entrance and see a plaque reminding everyone that this once was a synagogue.
Thanks to Indiana Humanities for awarding us a grant for this project and to all the volunteers who helped put this together (especially past and present community members who agreed to tell us their stories).