Our Story


For more than 113 years, Tifereth Israel Synagogue has been the spiritual home for Conservative Judaism in the Des Moines area.  In 1901, our founders saw the need for a synagogue that would be a bulwark for the perpetuation of traditional Judaism in Des Moines – and from their leadership Tifereth Israel Synagogue, the Glory of Israel, was founded.

Generation after generation, newcomers, natives and guests have found spiritual solace and a supportive, caring community within the walls of our synagogue and within the hearts of our congregational members.

Tifereth Israel Synagogue was founded in 1901 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. Marks. During its first years, congregants gathered in a rented hall at 7th and Grand where services and educational programs were conducted. In 1906 a cornerstone was laid at 3rd and Crocker, then the center of Des Moines Jewish life.

In its early years, Tifereth Israel assisted in establishing the Coordinated Des Moines Talmud Torah, the Jewish Community Center, and local Zionist organizations. By 1928, the synagogue had outgrown its center-city quarters. The cornerstone at the present Polk Boulevard location was laid on December 1, 1929. The synagogue’s former majestic sanctuary was built in the Byzantine style and seated 750 people. The facilities at Tifereth Israel were dramatically expanded in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Additions included the Bookey Chapel, the Youth Center, a Religious School building, and the Clubhouse Auditorium. In 1979, construction of the social hall was completed.

The Tifereth Transformation

The Tifereth Transformation in 2012 provided our congregation with an updated, modern facility that meets the needs of all our congregants. Our refreshed building, designed by architect Brad Hartman, represents the future of Tifereth Israel.  We are a young, modern building anchored by our past.  As you look around, you will see how the design of our new building incorporates both the new and the old into the mix.