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Long History

THE LAURENTIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY - OUR PROUD HISTORY

The following narrative was made possible by the efforts of Ruth Singer and her committee for original publication in the HOUSE OF ISRAEL 50th Anniversary Souvenir book

OUR STORY

FOREWORD

They were all proud to be a part of history in bringing the HOUSE of ISRAEL CONGREGATION to the attention of the Laurentians. There are scores of stories that come as stunning revelations when you go and look back at them. Our point is to really peel back these stories and try to open up the memory banks of witnesses, both past and present, that have chosen to tell us their experiences. It's those surprising details which makes our history come alive. Our story is recorded from the ground up.

It was a time when small orthodox synagogues were being formed led by laymen, who provided a challenge to Jewish affiliation and loyalty, personal leadership, a platform for education, a common meeting place, and a social and service centre. It was hoped that with the formation of the House of Israel, the spirit, aura, traditions and Jewish values would enforce the memory of our people. This, for many thousands, during many decades, was Jewish life.

PART ONE                               'In the beginning...'                                              

 

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Tuberculosis was rampant and the discovery of the fresh air of the Laurentian mountains became a great antibiotic to those suffering with this ailment. Hence, the Mt. Sinai Hospital, located in Prefontaine, was built in 1909. People wanted to be close to their ailing family members and thus, began the Jewish migration to the Laurentians. As a result, during the Thirties and Forties, kosher boarding houses and hotels beganspringing up in order to accommodate patients' visitors and eventually, attracted tourists from all over the world.. From that time on, the Jewish community in the Laurentians began to flourish.

It was thanks to the Immigration Department of the early 1900's that Gedaliah Dalif's(Z'L) name became transformed to George Dalys. Gedaliah was a carpenter by trade. The Dalys Family, who came from London, England, were the first Jewish settlers in Prefontaine in 1906, where they became farmers.Although Gedaliah owned a great deal of farmland, "The law at the time was," stated grandson, Lionel, "That if you owned a farm and the road went through it, you were responsible for maintaining that road." Gedaliah had bought two farms from the original homesteaders which had fronted on the road and he found it very difficult to maintain because of the hilly terrain. The roads would wash out in the spring, and the snow clearing (as there were no township services then) would be difficult to keep up with. As a result, Gedaliah, sold pieces of his property, a little at a time, in order to acquire help with the roads.

In the Twenties, the family moved to Lac Brulet where they built the Sun Ray Hotel. Lionel Dalys remembers his father, Abraham (Z'L), telling of how he would peddle eggs to Macaza where he met the Pascal Family (of hardware fame) who had settled there because members of the family had Tuberculosis. The Pascal Family tried settling as farmers, however, the lack of experience made it too discouraging.

The Sun Ray, like many hotels which were to follow, became, "Montreal's answer to the Catskills,"  claimed Lionel Dalys. In 1941, Lionel's grandfather sold the Sun Ray to his children, Ann and Jerry Levine, and Henry and Queenie. The two couples changed the name of the Sun Ray to the Edgewood.

The Edgewood continued to operate until 1970, however, in the meanwhile, Ann and Jerry moved to Ste. Agathe because Ann found that living in a large building in such a remote area was difficult to maintain, especially over the winter period. After Jerry died, Lionel Dalys and his brother-in-law took over The Edgewood. In June of 1943, Murray Dalys became one of our original signers for the petition to have a shul.

Henry and Bernice Kaufman (Z'L), owners of the Palamino Lodge, arrived in Ivry in 1918 and never looked back. Henry's parents were originally from Roumania and so the French language came easy to them. When Henry first moved to Montreal in 1904, there were six million people in all of Canada and prided himself on the fact that they were among the first Jews to settle in that part of Ivry.

When they arrived in Ivry, the buildings were owned by an American, Morris Ryan (Z'L). Morris' daughter, Bernice, later became Henry's wife. At first, Ryan rented his buildings out to the Elman Family and then to Moe and AnnRabinerwho took a lease for the next twenty years. Henry worked on the grounds until he semi-retired in 1938 when he began breeding horses. He had the first Palaminos in the Province of Quebec which he had imported from Aboline, Texas. From two horses, he ended up breeding fourteen. This became a rare attraction and for $1.00 a ride, one could ride a Palamino through the beautiful forested area for an entire day. Henry recalled how especially fond The (Sam) Steinberg Family were of his horses and frequently came to visit. Many years later, when the Kaufman's gave up the Palamino Lodge, the Steinberg Family bought it 'for sentimental reasons'.

Originally, the Kaufman's property was on the main highway (Route 11). Eventually, the land was expropriated for the new highway which led right through their property, and so the Kaufman's had to re-locate and build closer to the North River. It was here that his new neighbours included such prominent people as The Molsons and the Drummonds. Henry built a stone stable and was the first to build a reservoir which held 30,000 gallons of water. As it was during the war, people had to respect building material rations and, "Because I was Jewish," said Henry, "I didn't want the other people to say I was building during this period." (Although many others disregarded the law.) When he finally completed his buildings, Henry proudly claimed that they were, "The first modern Jewish hotel which held eighteen private bathrooms."

The Kaufman's day would begin at 5:00 a.m. and finish at 11:00 p.m. The hardwood floors were washed twice a day and they had the first stainless steel dishwasher in the area. Henry treated his staff, "Like family and always gave them 'kovod' (respect), however, the word vacation was never in our vocabulary" Henry and Bernice's hotel was always open to prominent tourists from Canada and the U.S.A. and one year, even included Princess Alexandra, the Queen Mother's granddaughter. The Kaufman's maintained that they always supported the people in Ste. Agathe by purchasing their supplies and hiring professionals from the town, Eg., Mr. Delormier installed the plumbing for his 'modern bathrooms', while Mr. Fiche looked after all the electrical needs. However, "In those days," said Mr. Kaufman, "We never had to lock a door or a car; our doors were open day and night." The Kaufman's also prided themselves on the fact that they had the best of everything for their clientele: hospital sheeting and Hudson Bay blankets, Beautyrest mattresses, and hand made rugs from Nova Scotia in all thirty-six rooms of the two main buildings which housed 125 people. The daily fresh bread would come from Sam Weiner's bakery or Shawbridge Bakery (the Louis Cohen Family) at the time.

In 1916, when Ann Rabiner's in-laws arrived, it took a little over two days by car to reach Ivry. Her father-in-law, a Rabbi, came from Russia and frequently would visit the harbour looking for lost immigrants. He would house all the Jewish immigrants, (four people to a room) while her mother-in-law attended to the cooking. The stable was occupied by twenty-five cows and a 'shoichet' would come up on a regular basis to slaughter the cows. Ann recalled that there was no refrigeration then ( only huge ice blocks ) or any ectricity (only kerosene lamps). The family would remain in Ivry all year round, otherwise, the cattle would die - especially during the winter.

Ann remembered when, during the late Thirties, Route 11 was the main artery. It was a one car road, and it would take three days to get into Montreal. According to Ann, "If there was an on-coming car, you had to back up and that could even mean as far as a mile." One day, during the winter, Ann left Ivry for Montreal by train as it was going to be her brother's wedding. Her husband, Moe (Z'L), occupied with the grounds at the time, decided that he would follow a day or two later by car. Needless to say, "He was late for the wedding thanks to the one-car road." Because of this experience, Moe gathered nine businessmen and signed a note at the bank to buy a   plough and a truck. They became the first ones to open the road from St. Jovite to St. Jerome.

During the winter, the Rabiner children were 'driven' to school by the stableman. "A special built sleigh which was surrounded by wooden planks formed four walls and a roof. Inside, there was a little coal stove with a chimney, so this would shelter the children from the cold and brutal winds."

Eventually, the Rabiner's gave up the land in Ivry because of the growing vegetation in the lake. Although harmless, the vegetation would surface to the lake during the height of tourist season, and this would make the people somewhat unhappy as it didn't 'look' good and, after all, swimming and boating were most important attractions for the guests.

In June, 1941, the Rabiners bought a property in Ste. Agathe which was once a tavern, and opened twenty rooms for business. Ann was once asked if the local citizens ever appreciated the Jewish hotel keepers and she answered, "Many were not happy to see Jewish people as the new owners. At one time, we were very few Jewish hotels with the exception of The Greenbergs, and The Chalet - OscarAbe Handelman, the Shapiros, and The Fasmans." (As a note of interest, in the late Seventies, Dr. Jack Cohen (surgeon) hosted a surprise party for the Handelman to which he brought together over one hundred prominent lawyers and doctors who were once former bus boys and waiters at The Chalet to show their gratitude.)

The property which the Rabiners bought was situated next to a stream and they needed to expand,therefore, they had to fill the stream with sand and lots of it! Eventually, all the water was filled and, "This was some expensive job!" claimed Ann, "It cost $6.00 a load to fill the stream and you can just imagine how many loads it took. At that time, the neighbourhood school was also being built so we took advantage of the situation and also their extra landfill." Although Ann was somewhat disappointed with this new venture, she recalled how Moe was forever the optimist because, "I don't think I ever bought a pair of lady's hose as fast as he bought this (property)." Moe Rabiner became instrumental in starting up the Tourist Bureau, the Wmter Carnivals, the Chamber of Commerce, and was also among the first to petition for a charter requesting a House of Worship in the Laurentians.

The Rabiner name remained for over sixty years because of their excellent reputation. Arm would say that, "In front of the stage, everything seemed very easy, but when you had to deal with a staff and had to organize everything backstage - especially before the High Holy Days and Passover- everything had to look just right and in its proper place." Although work was hard and often difficult, Ann had no regrets. "We gave up our lives because our guests meant everything to us and yet, it also managed to keep our family together."

      

                                   

In 1942, Julius married Sara and while operating a lunch counter in a drug store in Montreal, he said that, "I wasn't happy with the set-up there." As his sister had just begun a business on Vincent Street in Ste. Agathe (where Irving Levine once had a business), he thought it would be a good idea to go North. By 1945, he bought what was originally known as the Laurentian Lunch Bar, located on St. Vincent Street. In 1981, when Julius was asked if it seemed only like yesterday that he had opened for business, he replied, "No. It seems like thirty-five years." The business involved very long days but the Belsons did manage to take a break. Julius recalled how much he enjoyed visiting Florida in the 'off season' (especially in 1966) because, "I was so busy there.

                         

                    

In the mornings, I would bike for fifteen miles, then have breakfast                                                   
and either go to an arts and crafts course or to the beach. I even

tried my hand at golfing. At night, I attended Spanish school and loved every minute of it. I never liked to be idle." Eventually, his restaurant became as much an attraction as the hotels because it was considered a 'big event' just to be seen standing in front of it. It was during this period that Julius and Sara became founding members and ardent workers for what was to become the House of Israel and Sara became the first president of the Ladies Auxiliary.

In 1935, Mina Geiger(Z'L) moved from Montreal to Prefontaine. By 1936, during the Great Depression, she opened the Hollywood Beach Resort which was situated on the North River - the ideal place for summer guests. Left a young widow, she and her children, Leo, Ben, and Rose ran the bustling hotel. Years later, Mina bought a house on the corner of Prefontaine and Ste. Agathe Streets where she ran a successful boarding house. By 1942, Mrs. Geiger bought a larger house situated on Tour du Lac, in order to cater to the ever- increasing visitors. Sadly, in 1945, the house burned down.

During the War years, her daughter, Rose, says that, "My mother rented a separate house for the guys in the Air Force. They would come up for the week-ends from the military base, sleep on folding cots, and eat in the boarding house where my mother provided the best quality kosher food for both paying and non-paying clients. No one was ever turned away.

In 1946, the Mt. Cannel Kosher Hotel opened its doors and catered mainly to the religious clientele. At that time, the hotel's advertising brochure prided itself on the fact that it was located, 'Overlooking the refreshing waters of gleaming Lac des Sables...' and that 'Mt. Carmel Hotel is the brightest jewel in the famous Tour du Lac crown with private, tastefully appointed 3-room suites... for comradeship, for daytime and evening activities... come to Mount Carmel Hotel this year, next year, any time of the year.'

Meanwhile, the non-Jews extended their hands to Mrs. Geiger, "Without thinking twice," says Rose, and, "They held a great respect for one another." Mrs. Geiger and her children became founding members of the House of Israel and frequently, their hotel was offered to hold numerous synagogue planning and fund raising meetings, and also as a temporary House of Worship during the High Holy Days and Passover.

The Mt. Carmel Kosher Hotel officially closed its doors in 1955 at which time Oscar and Freida Kahn(Z'L) rented the premises. Two years later, the O'Kahn's opened their hotel across the street. Tragically, the O'Kahn's Hotel burned down and legend has it that Mrs. O'Kahn ran back into the blazing fire to retreat a client’s purse but never came out.

In 1925, Mr. Samson Stick and Mrr. Harry Berger, brother in laws, came to Lac Brulet and settled in Weinerville. Samson Stick rented a house from the Dalys in 1926. A year later, the brother-in­laws bought a hotel from Mr. Witcoff in Val Morin (where the golf course was) and remained there for three years. Samson enlisted in the Royal Canadian Legionaires in 1937 after which he and his brother-in-law purchased a hotel from The Goldbergs which was later to become known as The Castle Des Monts. It wasn't too long after purchasing the hotel, when they began to encounter problems.

   

    

Mr. Stick recalled that, "There was a notice in the middle of the lake stating, 'Jews, when you come here (a knife was drawn on the sign), you are going to get what's on the sign.' Vandals had also burned the bridge leading to the hotel. The police never mixed in until the French people began to lose their jobs as the hotel keepers began to bring in help from Montreal."

Mr. Stick continued to recall how, "The Chez Maurice Hotel would be infamous for advertising, 'No Jews....No Dogs!' and at the Laurentide Inn, they would accept reservations from Jews, however, when they would arrive, they would 'conveniently' be all booked up in the main house and would offer only their small cottages in the back. There had even been an incident when a prominent Jewish lawyer was walking down the main street and did not step aside to allow a priest to pass by and so, was arrested."

This was not to say that everyone living in the town were anti-semetic or vandals, just as Rose Geiger recalled from her family's experiences at the Mt. Carmel. As a matter of fact, Mr. Stick was quick to state that in actuality, it was a French man, Mr. Cloutier, who had gone to the police to ensure that the anti-Jewish slogans be washed down from the playgrounds and the boating docks, and insisted that a resolution to the vandalism be quickly put to an end. Mr. Stick went on to note how Mr. Lafreniere, a notary and Mayor of Ste. Agathe at the time, was an exceptional man as he involved the entire town in the War Bond Drive - Jew and non-Jew, alike. As a matter of fact, Mr. Dumochelle, a French-Canadian, who operated the only drug store at the time, is credited for having saved Gerald Golfs eye by removing a lodged fishing hook from his retina. Of the Lortie Family, one of the oldest families in Ste. Agathe, Mr. Stick recalled how hard-working they were in their laundry service to all the hotels (P.E. Lortie began the business in 1915). Presently, George Lortie continues to run the same business with the same qualityservice. Andre and Jean Paul Belisle, whose families go back six generations, used to own and operate the once active bowling alley where the 'Uni-Prix' now stands in Ste. Agathe. Jean Paul is credited for saving Trout Lake from pollution and it is the Belisle's original candy store, now known as 'Harvey's' (kosher) that has become an ever popular attraction and 'hang-out' during the summer months.

During the Thirties, the only kosher butcher was Mr. Dave Greenspoon, who, in 1943, became one of the signers for a petition for a House of Worship and who later acted as the Pro-Tern President. By the Fifties, Mr. Stick claimed that, "Most of the stores were Jewish owned, with the exception of two. There were four large grocery stores on the main streets, dress shops (Sally Schlesinger and Ruth Marks), shoe shops, a bakery (Sam and Yetta Weiner), butcher shops (Willie Marks, Irving Schlesinger and Jacob Fishbien) - among whose names were on the 1943 Petition for a House of Worship), and there were even movie houses (owned by Jack Adelson)."

Jack Adelson(Z'L) began going up North in 1935 with his father, Max, where they owned a summer residence in Val David. Eight years later, they moved to Ste. Agathe. Jack also recalled a time of discrimination especially one day while taking a drive to Mt. Tremblant (during the Sixties), stopping at a gift shop and seeing a sign, 'Christians Welcome!' He, too, recalled how the Laurentide Inn would accept reservations from Americans for New Years Eve and would ask the tourists which church they belonged to. "If you were Jewish, you found your bags all packed up and outside even if it was in the middle of the night," said Jack. As New Year's Eve would be filled to capacity at all the hotels, these tourists would be left with nowhere to go. However, Jack then proudly recalled how B'nai B'rith took an active interest and went to Court to abolish the 'No Jews' restrictions.

In 1946, Jack bought the Alahambra Theatre (once situated on Principale Street) and four or five years later, the Roxy. By the time Jack had bought these theatres, he recalled that, "Previously, the theatres (which held three hundred and fifty seats) had changed hands frequently. The owners had other businesses as well, which didn't allow them to run it in a very business-like manner and I wanted to change the system." When Jack took over the business, tickets were thirty. cents - a bargain, as in comparison to today's $9.75.

Asked if there were any conflicts between he and the hotel keepers, Jack answered, "We were able to be friends with the

hotel keepers because often I would have to visit them to bring in movie posters and circulars. During this period, hotels would show 60 millimetre pictures on white projection screens. Although it did affect my business slightly, no one could stop other people from showing movies." Jack is also credited as being a staunch supporter of the House of Israel, and years later, his wife, Rose, became one of the founding members of the Women's Council.

When the hotels were at the height of their popularity, Mr. Stick remembered that it was a trend to send a 'runner' to count the number of cars at each hotel. This would indicate to the other hotel keepers how busy (or not) each hotel was. "It seemed that the hotel keepers didn't want to accept the fact that the other was doing good business - the competition was stiff," said Samson.

The Castle Des Monts was described as being a 'Town within a town', and the brother-in-laws would be referred to as 'Stick'n'Berger'. Samson recalled with pride how one summer there was a convention of over two hundred rabbis staying at The Castle, among which was Chief Rabbi Solevechik (ofStreit's Matzah fame).

Mr. Stick gave credit to a gentleman of the Catholic faith, Mr. Zappa (owner of the lumber yard at the time) for one of the ways in which the House of Israel took root. Samson explained that, "We used to have a makeshift shul with a leaky roof, facing the police station. It was a little house on St. Joseph Street. Mr. Zappa used to say, 'Shame on you Jewish people! Shame on you that you don't have a home - a house to pray." One night, Mr. Zappa came into the little makeshift shul and put down $1,500 on the table and said to Harry, 'Match me!" Harry accepted the challenge. Then we began to raise money and started off with some $15,000."

 

During the High Holy Days and Passover, the Rainbow Room of The Castle would be used for services and appeals. When the appeals were held, half would go to Israel and the other half to the building campaign of the House of Israel.

Unfortunately, Harry Berger, the first President of the House of Israel, (who remained for nine years) died at the young age of sixty and, "The hotel went down with him," claimed Samson. Today, a memorial plaque in the shul reads, 'To an upright and benevolent man', and whose signature on the official petition of 1943 for our shul can be found.

Mr. Stick claimed that he always liked the hotel business. He once said that, "The owners of the chalets or hotels really didn't like the business because they couldn't go to weddings or Bar Mitzvahs as they were always tied down." He and Harry remained partners in The Castle Des Monts Hotel for over thirty years. The hotel had built up such-a reputation that once Mr. Stick claimed, "I wouldn't be able to be a criminal because everybody knows me." He even felt that Mordecai Richler, Montreal's famous writer, had drawn from his own life experiences, having worked as a waiter at The Castle, and wrote them in 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz'. Incidentally, this movie was completed just two weeks before The Castle burned to the ground (by which time the Stick'n'Bergers had not been the owners for several years).

Joseph Laing(Z'L) once described his hotel as having beautiful conference rooms which frequently held chess tournaments and could cater to 150 guests. There were luxurious pools, a curling rink on the side of the barn, and even a summer theatre which was the talk of the Laurentians. "Had this been on theAmerican side," Mr. Laing once said, "It would have been a gold mine!"

After being in a successful gasoline business in Montreal, Joseph's parents arrived up North in 1935, where they operated a small boarding house known asLaing's Cottage Inn. During the late Thirties, the boys from the military base would frequently visit and for $2.00 a day (or $18.00 a week), they would receive room and board. In 1944, the Cottage Inn burned to the ground and Mr. Laing recalled how, "The insurance guy (who just happened to be visiting at the time) forgot to insure a particular section of the  hotel and so, he stayed up all night fighting the blaze with a water hose. Of course, that section remained and we began rebuilding from there." It was rebuilt into a larger winterized hotel which became known as The Manor House.

 

During the War, many visitors came to The Manor House (and the other hotels) because they couldn't go to Europe. Frequently, Mr. Laing would go to the Immigration Department to bring in help to run the hotel for about $300 a month. He also claimed that, "My visitors were always nice people and we would frequently cater to a good cross-section of Americans who would read about us in The New York Times." (at which time a 1" space offered 14 lines). Joe Laing became an ardent worker for the shul, as well as one of the first honorary trustees. He and his wife, Tessna, would frequently offer their hotel for shul meetings and the Manor House would hold High Holy Day and Passover services before the synagogue was built.

Raymond Berzan (Z'L) bought his place in Ivry North around 1945, along with his brother, and brother-in-law, Joseph Laing. When he bought it, it was known as De La Fleur's and was operated by a French woman, Madame Fleury. Later, they changed the name to Manitou Lodge. The hotel, which included 50 rooms, operated only during the summer months. Raymond recalled that his uncle, Aaron Ness, had once bought a magnificent home in Ivry, "With the most beautiful furnishings and chandeliers." When Mr. Ness sold his home, it was then turned into a hotel called (Manny) Shapiro's Inn.

There were perhaps some twenty-two Jewish hotel owners at one time, and Mr. Berzan remembered how thirteen of them got together to buy the golf course in St. Faustin. The Manitou Lodge operated for some twenty-two years and approximately 60% of their clientele were Americans who had also read about the Lodge in The New York Times or the New York Post. "It was the days when hotel keepers were so independent," claimed Mr. Berzan, "that we wouldn't even take reservations."

The Lodge would be open only during the summer months

      

       

commencing in May and was especially frequented by many honey‑mooners. It offered planned afternoon activities like tennis, boat rides, and fishing, led by a social director.

The major entertainment was provided by The Lenny Rubin Orchestra who entertained the guests at the Lodge for some fifteen summers. Mr. Berzan prided himself on the fact that many of his young bus boys, who worked very hard during the short summers to see their way through college, had become successful doctors and professionals years later.

If the High Holy Days came in early Fall, then the Lodge would remain open and services would be held in their main hall which would be led by prominent visiting Rabbis and Cantors, as was the custom of many of the hotels at the time.

The pioneers and the settlers were not the only ones who enjoyed challenges. In 1949, Ruth Marks was the proud mother of three young sons; the oldest of which had just begun school. Her husband, Willie(Z'L), was in partnership with Irving Schlesinger(Z'L), as kosher butchers. Irving and his wife, Sally, had come to Ste. Agathe back in 1937 as newlyweds. During the summer seasons, they catered to the hotels, the various camps, and to the private trade.

The makeshift community synagogue at the time was located upstairs in the home of Shu Roness(Z'L), 'shoichet' (and who was also one of thirteen names who had petitioned for a Hou Worship in 1943), on St. Joseph Street. Although Shabbos and Holiday services were well looked there was no official teacher for the Jewish children of the community. This made Ruth, as well a father (a former Hebrew teacher) somewhat concerned and anxious. Ruth decided to commence a on a permanent House of Worship. She began with Harry Sourkes(Z'L), an ardent Zionist and owr Camp Hakoya (Trout Lake), and mentioned how anxious she was to get the Jewish community tog to begin work on a permanent dwelling. He told Ruth that if she could manage to get four hotel ke( assembled at a meeting, he would be there. That was all Ruth needed to hear! "Now, that was a chall to me!" recalls Ruth.

Ruth set about calling all the hotel keepers beginning with Henry Kaufman of the Palamino Lc She says, "He laughed but felt sorry for me when I told him that I called him first. He wished me luck and assured me that he would be at my meeting."

The meeting was called for Thursday night in late March of '49 and Ruth had managed to cal entire Jewish community as well as all the hotel keepers. They were all coming since Ruth, "Would not take 'perhaps' as an answer."

She anxiously baked, prepared her home with chairs enough for all, and called upon Mr. Sourk prepare a speech since Ruth, "Just couldn't talk to all those people." Mr. Sourkes complied but was somewhat unsure that all the people would turn up.

Surprise! Everyone Ruth had spoken to, came. "It was some evening!" recalls Ruth. As promised Sourkes called the meeting to order and mentioned what a wonderful job Ruth had done to get the e: community together. He then called on Ruth to explain the purpose of their gathering. "I had n talked in public before," says Ruth, "and with beating heart and stomach cramps, I got up and told them what I wanted." - a permanent shul and a Jewish education for the community's children!

Everyone present at the meeting unanimously agreed that there should be a permanent House of Worship. Joseph Laing offered his hotel, The Manor House, for the meeting, when they would choose a chairman. Unfortunately, Ruth couldn't attend the following meeting because of a bad tooth ache and swollen jaw (of all times) but when Willie returned from the meeting, he mentioned that they had chosen a set of officers. When Ruth asked who held which positions, Willie casually answered, "well, you were chosen as chairperson."

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Wasting no time, a week later, a follow-up meeting was held at The Vermont (originally owned by the Greenbergs and then by Sonny Marcovitch) when Ruth gave her acceptance speech. They were now well on their way formulating a Jewish education for their children al synagogue.

The time was ripe! Families had wanted a permanent House of Worship and a Hebrew school. The community rallied together and held a million meetings. Uppermost in Ruth's mind, as well as the families who were living year round in Ste. Agathe, was a Hebrew school. The first School Board and Committee consisted of: Lil Handelman, Ruth Marks, Jacob Fishbien, Oscar Kahn, and Irving Schlesinger. After placing an ad in the Montreal newspapers, Mr. Klinger was hired as the first teacher. With the business of the children's Jewish education now formalized, the

obvious had become inevitable - the business of building a permanent shul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

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In 1949, Ann Kazimirski arrived in Ste. Agathe, with her husband, Dr. Henry Kazimirski (Z'L), and their young children, Mark and Seymour. Ann, author of 'Witness to Horror', is proud to claim that, "My children's roots are in Ste. Agathe." As Ann and Henry were Holocaust survivors, they felt that the Laurentians would offer them peace and tranquillity - a refuge after the war. Dr. Kazimirski was hired by Mr. Joseph Rothbart, the Director of the Mt. Sinai at the time, to become the resident dentist for the Mt. Sinai residents and kept this position until 1976.

 

When the Kazimirski 's first arrived in Ste. Agathe, Ann recalls the impact of the anti-semetic signs which read, 'Dogs and Jews Not Allowed!' while the Laurentide Inn publicized, 'Strictly for Restricted Clientele' - quite the contrary to what they thought they had left behind. She was shocked at this 'welcome' and thought to herself, "This is the promised land?"

Ann and Henry settled on Albert Street, little realizing that one day the synagogue would be facing their front door. Ann says that, "During the tourist season, I couldn't see any cars without American license plates and no one could get reservations

for the popular summer theatre at the Laing's."

When the shul was finally built, frequently, Ann would be the stage director, costume designer, and pianist (all rolled into one) for the children in the Hebrew School when they would put on Chanukah and Purim plays.

Heidi (Kazimirski) Berger recalls growing up in a small community and claims that, "In general, it deprived me of having more Jewish friends, so I could hardly wait for the summer months when homes would be rented and become filled with new friends. Thank G-D the shul had been built as it stood as a reminder that I was Jewish. When I attended Hebrew School in 1957, Rabbi J. Mayer was my Hebrew teacher and we loved him." Heidi       

 

 

remembered one vivid incident when attending Ste. Agathe High School, how, "My teacher, M. R. Jacobson would pick on one of the Jewish boys in my class only because he was slightly overweight. Of course, the principal didn't do anything because the teacher was his sister! I guess you could say that the country is in my blood and that it will always be home to me because of the varied, warm experiences a small town had to offer which really differ from the big city"

Ernest Fishbien, son of Jacob Fishbien (Z'L), the second president of the shul, recalls how, "Happy I was growing up in a small town. I remember having so much fun with the Geiger boys - Leo and Ben - while we all attended school in the little wooden house."

In 1950, the Building Committee acquired a loan from the Bank of Montreal to buy the land where the House of Israel is presently located and the wheels were set in motion.

On Wednesday, March 29, 1950, at a General Meeting at The Castle, with Ruth Marks chairing, the first slate of officers were elected: Dave Greenspoon - Pro-tem President; Jacob Fishbien - Vice-President; Ruby Kaufman - Secretary; I. Mendelson - Treasurer. The Executive Committee were: HarryBerger, I. Shapiro, Jerry Levine, Joseph Laing, Harry Sourkes.

Sara Belson became the first President of the Women's Auxiliary (and remained so for many years), while Sally Schlesinger became the first Chairman of Ways and Means.

Everyone worked tirelessly - the greater the cause, the harder they worked. All of the main hotel keepers and families became involved in assuring that there would be a permanent House of Worship. Sara Belson, Sally Schlesinger, Ruth Marks, Leona Lauzoff, and Lil Handelman, spear-headed fund raising which included numerous bake sales, rummage sales, and fashion shows. With a twinkle in her eye, Sally recalls how, "With the help of many Ste. Agathe stores, we held a fashion show at the Vermont Hotel. It was in the heart of the winter - the biggest snow storm of the year - but to our amazement, we had a full house. It was simply miraculous!" She then continued to relate how, "The women were so excited and exuberant to make rummage sales. On one such occasion, many of them took their husbands' old shirts and pants to sell. The next day, the husbands were running after their wives asking for their garments. The wives earnestly replied that, "If you want them back - pay!"

Sara Belson tells of how the women conducted their membership campaign: "We went door-to-door, whomever we met, whomever we saw - we approached!" The membership fees were $20.00 and the expression was, especially to the men, "For a mere $20.00, you can become a'macher' (bigshot) too!" - and 'machers' they became!

On June 4, 1950, at The Castle, a special general meeting was held for the purpose of raising funds for the proposed synagogue. This was to mark the beginning of an all out appeal headed by Harry Berger. Similar meetings followed and were held at The Vermont, The Manor House, The Mt. Cannel Kosher, and Rabiners, all of which frequently offered their main halls for synagogue business. Through official records, a debt of gratitude is owed to the following people who were among the first to pledge: (It should be noted that one member had even said, "I pledge an additional $1,000 on the day that my daughter gets married.") Did the daughter ever get married? The mystery still remains.

Mr. & Mrs. Julius Belson, Mn & Mrs. E. Berger, Mr. & Mrs. Harry Berge4 Mr. & Mrs. Milton Dubin, Mt & Mrs. Jacob Fishbien, Mrs. Mena Geiger, Messrs. Ben Leo Geiger, Mt & Mrs. Dave Greenspoon, Mr. & Mrs. J. Hood, Mt & Mrs. R. Jacobs, Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Kahn, Mr. & Mrs. Ruby Kaufman, Mx & Mrs. H. Kaisennan, Mrs. Kirschner & Daughters, Mr. & Mrs Joseph Laing, Mr. & Mrs. J.M. Levine, Mr. & Mrs. Morris Levine, Mt & Mrs. Willie Marks, Mr. & Mrs. I. Mendelson,Mt & Mrs. Moe Rabiner, Mr. & Mrs. M. Rabinovitch, The Ste. Agathe Chalet, Mt & Mrs. Irving Schlesinger, Mr. H.L. Sourkes, Mt & Mrs. Samson Stick, Mr. Simcha Weber, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Weiner & Daughter, Mr. Murray Yanow, and Mr. A. Zappa.

 

A Building Committee was then appointed which consisted of: Messrs Harry Berger, Dave Greenspoon, Jerry Levine, I. Mendelson, Harold Paull, M. Rabinovitch, and Irving Schlesinger together with Mesdames Claire Fasman, Mania Berger, D.C. Greenberg, J. Levine, H. Steinberg, and Maria Stick. Through a suggestion made by Jacob Fishbien, Mr. Reuben Fischer, an architect, was to be approached with a view to drawing up a tentative set of plans of the new synagogue and community centre with a capacity of approximately 150 seats, including a basement and a gallery for a ladies' section. In October, 1950, Harry Berger and M. Rabinovitch were authorized to buy land on behalf of the synagogue.

On January 10, 1951, Mr. Dave Greenspoon resigned his position as Pro-Tem President and Mr. Harry Berger was elected for the position. One of Mr. Berger 's first 'official acts' was to approach Mr. I. Popliger, a noted Montreal attorney, to undertake the Campaign Chairmanship for the shul. Mr. Popliger accepted and stated that, "I will do my utmost and devote as much time as possible for our cause." He further stated that, "The local residents should all make their contributions before we can approach others to make donations and I ask that the Ladies' Auxiliary work closely with us in the raising of these funds for the construction of the new synagogue." One of their primary campaign goals was that any person who gave a donation of $50.00 automatically would become a member.

The time had come to approach the various newspapers and weeklies for outside contributors - The Montreal Daily Star; The Montreal Herald; The Canadian Jewish Revue; The Jewish Chronicle; The Jewish Daily Eagle; and The Montreal Standard - for publicity of an 'up and coming' shul in the Laurentians. Collections from the various hotels began pouring in from their High Holy Day and Passover Appeals.

During this time, the Committee had unanimously decided that their temporary dwelling, located on St. Joseph Street, be sold and it was agreed that the new building be erected on a lot located on St. Paul Street. By December, 1951, Jacob Fishbien reported on a house (owned by Mr. Touchette) which seemed suitable to be converted into a synagogue thinking that perhaps this would be a less costlier way than beginning from scratch with a new building. The options were very much divided, however, at the end, it was unanimously agreed that a new building be constructed. Mr. Berger reiterated that a lot which had been sold to him on behalf of the synagogue, was on the condition that a synagogue be built on it and that the entire campaign was based on erecting a new building.

Mr. Paul Guindon, a general contractor, was then hired to begin construction on a new lot at the corner of St. Henry and Albert Streets. In March of 1952, arrangements were made to rent Mr. Touchette's store as a temporary House of Worship during the summer months, however, it was no longer available. Jacob Fishbien then arranged to have the furniture and books removed from the temporary shul at Touchette's and brought over to Mr. Levine's Colonial Innfor a temporary House of Prayer.

At long last, at a special meeting held on July 6, 1952, plans were finalized and given the 'go ahead' for the construction. The contract was awarded to I. Guindon Co. for the construction, to Roland Cloutier for the electrical work, and to Josephat Raymond Inc., for the heating and plumbing - of which, all their businesses were in Ste. Agathe. Work was to begin immediately.

On the day of the turning of the sod, Ann Kazimirski, who had a 'bird's eye view' from across the street, recalls how, "That day was so ecstatic! I can still remember all the joyous people turning the earth with their shovels."

As with all best made plans, there is always some kind of hitch. Construction had begun and was almost completed by December, 1952, however, a few small changes had to be made, eg., the size of the furnace had to be enlarged and the construction was costing more than had been anticipated. It was time to go back to the drawing board to raise more funds. Just when things seemed to be at an all-time low, a welcome surprise was made by Sally Schlesinger of the Women's Auxiliary, who graciously handed a cheque to the President for $1,000. It was officially recorded that, 'the big ahs and ohs' of the members present was an indication of the deep appreciation for all the ladies who had worked so enthusiastically for this worthy cause. It was at this time when Mrs. Freida Kahn voiced the appreciation of the members present and thanked Harry Berger and Dave Greenspoon for, "Your untiring efforts in bringing the shul toits present completion and may you live long to enjoy the fruition of your efforts."

Although everyone was busy with the finishing touches of the construction, world events were still uppermost in the founders' lives, including the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II who, a few years later, visited the little town ofSte. Agathe in the late Fifties. Special services were held by the Congregation in the Queen's honour on her Coronation Day in June, 1953.

 

The time had finally arrived for the laying of a corner stone (by Mr. Grover), and the official opening date was set as Sunday, July 12, 1953 at 11:00 a.m.to be followed with a high kiddush. A special committee for the upcoming celebration was headed by Mr. D. Becker.

At long last, the day of the official opening of the House of Israel Congregation was at hand. Jews and gentiles alike celebrated together witnessing Mr. Hyman Grover(Z'L) officiating at the laying of the cornerstone, while the beautifully etched Tabernacles over the outside entrance doors were donated by Mrs. Louis Lavut, in memory of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. A. Shear(Z'L), and her brother, Dr. Maurice M. Shear(Z'L). Sam Weiner describes that day in July as most historic and remarkable because, "There was a tremendous parade in the streets as the Torahs were marched into the shul. Dignitaries, such as the Mayor of Ste. Agathe and the City Councillors, joined in with representatives from B'nai B'rith, Mr. Guindon, the builder, and Mr. Ginsburg of the Canada Adler. Forty-five families, all the hotel keepers, invited guests and the entire town gathered to-witness this historic day." Cantor Solomon Gisser conducted the opening services, while the acting spiritual leader at the time was Rev. Gene Klein. (He was responsible for heading up the Committee which wrote the shul's first official by-laws.)

With the official opening completed, it was time to look after other important matters of the new shul - benches and membership fees. After several ideas were discussed, Moe Rabiner suggested that fees should be increased to $25. a year and a separate fee for people wishing to purchase High Holy Day seats.This was accepted unanimously. Meanwhile, the Ladies Auxiliary continued with their exemplary work for the community. However, most importantly, in order to acquire the religious articles and other necessities, the dedicated members donated the following: Three Sefer Torahs - (by B Schacter Brothers; Mr. Gilleck; Mr. & Mrs. M. Levine; and Mr. & Mrs. C. Morantz); the 'Etz Chaim' - Mr. Kimmelfeld; a silver Torah crown - Mr. & Mrs. M. Rabinovitch; a silver breast plate for the Torah - Mr. & Mrs. S. Stick; and a piano - Mr. & Mrs. Black through Claire Fasrnan. In addition, a scholarship fund for the Talmud Torah (Hebrew School) was established.

In 1953, the following major events took place in the newly constructed building: The first Bar Mitzvah - the son of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Laing; and thesecond Bar Mitzvah - the son of Mr. & Mrs. Sydney Schwartz; the first wedding was celebrated by Mr. & Mrs. Rubin; a Brotherhood Week was held in order to better relations between all faiths; an Israel Appeal netting a total of $2,500 was collected; and an Israel Bond Drive was held. The big questionremaining now was a choice for a spiritual leader, which became Rabbi J. Mayer.

 

At a special General Meeting held in 1954, it was decided that a plaque would be erected in honour of the first Ladies Auxiliary whom, without their supreme sacrifices and dedication, the shul would not have been seen to fruition.

The first Cemetary Committee (1955) headed by Mr. Dave Greenspoon and Mr. Jacob Fishbien had been assigned to acquire cemetary rights for the shul. It took until 1959, to accomplish finalizing their goal.

In 1956, a Committee consisting of J. Marcovitz, Jerry Levine, Bobby Fishbien, and Ann Rabiner for the purpose of organizing Brotherhood Week, was headed by:Rabbi J. Mayer, Willy Marks, The Ladies Auxiliary and Hadassah, which proved to be a most successful, informative, and educational programme.

By 1957, it was time to celebrate the shul's Fifth Anniversary which was held at the Castle Des Monts. Tickets, at the time, were $3.00 for a lavish full course banquet in honour of this 'Simcha'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part II coming soon

The Laurentian landscape began to take on a new look as the hotels slowly began disappearing. The Laurentian Autoroute with its infamous toll booths, began cutting through the mountains, and the North River had become polluted. The Jewish presence began shrinking as the first immigrant generation aged and/or went to their eternal rest, and the Sun Belt became more easily accessible in the winter months. These events led to the gradual disappearance of what had once been Canada's 'Borscht Belt'. The children of the once active founders of the shul had grown up and began attending universities out of town. Now younger men and women came forward, to the surprise of many who had not expected this from the Canadian-bred, and began to take their places, easily, comfortably, at the side of the aging founders; in many cases, they took over leadership, without a struggle.

 

The first Spiritual Leader, Rabbi J. Mayer, who came to the shul in 1956, had left for a new position, and Rabbi Dr. Daniel Lewin (Z'L) now became the new rabbi. Rabbi Dr. Daniel Lewin and his wife, Inuz, arrived in Ste. Agathe in 1963. The Rabbi was a scholar and historian as well as a man of duty and kindness. Rebettzin Lewin recalls that, "The Rabbi did his best for the children (Hebrew School) even though attendance was low and irregular, and people began to move away." It became a time of transition. Whereas, at one time, there had been no problems with minyans, now there were, "Always difficulties with minyanim."

Inuz recalls enjoying the country, especially nature walks, but was always lonely for the city as she was not used to the quiet, country life. Once their children, Eva and Judith, left for Stern College at the beginning of the Seventies, it was time for the Rabbi and Mrs. Lewin to return to the city. After returning to Montreal, Rabbi Dr. Lewin became the

Chaplain for Jewish inmates of the Provincial and Federal Governments which he dedicated himself to for the next twenty years. During this period, he also wrote a book entitled, 'A Jewish Geneology - The Lewin-Steinberger Saga' - a copy of which the Rebettzin has graciously donated to the shul library.

 

 

 

 

Thirteen years before becoming president, Saul Stieber (Z'L) built his first country home in Trout Lake. During the fifties, there were no paved roads in that area, let alone street signs. Proud of his Jewish heritage, Saul decided to name 'his' road - Zion. His son, Albert, recalls how, "One day, the mayor happened to be walking by and noticed the obvious Hebrew name which somewhat annoyed him. Accepting the fact that one alone just 'couldn't fight City Hall', Saul renamed his street, Ekers, which remains to this day." However, this incident did not curtail Saul's friends, Sid Sherman and Louis Friedman, to build their homes on the former Zion Street as did many other Jewish families. Saul always enjoyed socializing and so became a 'regular' at the House of Israel. By 1956, Saul headed on further north to Ste.Agathe where he built his next country house. Being closer to the shul now afforded him the opportunity of becoming even more active which led to the position of president in 1966. Albert says that, "My father, Mr. Sam Weiner -the gabbah at the time, and Mr. Abraham Rabinovitch (Z'L) - who was in charge of the High Holy Day seating, became very

close friends." Sam Weiner remembers how, "The membership began decreasing as was the population, so in order to keep the shul going, we held a successful fund raising campaign, under Saul's leadership, culminating in $20,000 which was invested in Canada Savings Bonds for the future."

Not all funds raised were for the sole purpose of the synagogue, as the people of the Laurentian community were of great importance as well. Thus, it was decided to endow a room in the name of the Laurentian Jewish Community and the House of Israel to the non-secterian Home For The Aged in Ste. Agathe.

It was during this period that great debate ensued over the requirement of hiring a rabbi because of the dwindling Jewish population. However, thanks to the wisdom and foresight of Saul and his Executives, it was finally agreed that in order for the shul to survive, it must have a spiritual leader. Saul served our synagogue as president until 1975 during a period of difficult transition which presented many new challenges and successfully overcame them with his genuine warmth and gentlemanly ways.

In 1975, Mr. Shya Dubrof sky became President. His children, Ruby, Irene Wexelman, and Lottie Kornbluth say that their father, "Had three loves in his life - his family, his business, and his 'Yiddishkite'. Ste. Agathe had always been a major and integral part of his life. He came to the House of Israel with a wealth of experience, having been past president of the Beth Hillel Synagogue and the Hebrew Protective Organization.

When Shya came into the picture, Rabbi Dr. Lewin had just announced that he was leaving and so, it was time to interview a new Rabbi. "And interview they did," says Irene, "until they met up with Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach (Z'L)."

"One Friday night," recalls Irene, "Rabbi Carlebach needed a minyan. He was ever the optimist and said, 'Shya, I'll look in the village and you look around the lake." Enter Bernie Wolfe. Shya introduced himself and asked Bernie to partake in the minyan. Bernie replied, "But I'm not a religious man." Shya convinced Bernie to come to the minyan that night, little realizing that he would become one of the most active members for many years. The threesome became wonderful friends - emotional shul buddies, as well as a support group for each other. They celebrated life in a very special way, always together.

In 1979, the President of the Women's Auxiliary became Carol Ann Shannon, and she, along with her Committee, held a most successful and beautiful breakfast which was given jointly by the Auxiliary and the Synagogue in honour of the past president Sara Belson. The following year, Carol Ann reported that because of the Sisterhood's, "Hard work and concerted effort by all the ladies in the Committee, a very successful bake and craft sale was held, which resulted in the Sisterhood presenting the shul with a cheque of $500."

In October, 1979, Shya Dubrofsky and his wife, Sadie, celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in the shul. To commemorate this joyous occasion, Shya presented the shul with a beautiful Sefer Torah. The presentation ceremony was performed by Rabbis Kramer(Z'L), J. Wolicki , and Ephraim Carlebach(Z'L). Never in the history of the House of Israel were so many people present. It was a most memorable Simcha and the Torah is still being used today.

During Shya's term as President, which was for twelve incredible years, in 1980, a beautiful new addition of four stained-glass Mogen Davids were presented as an everlasting tribute by Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Cuttler (in memory of their parents), which enhance the beauty of our shul windows to this day.

 

Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach (Z'L) became the Spiritual Leader of the House of Israel in the mid-seventies. This decade experienced a period of high inflation and the already existing economic crisis was compounded in 1976 when the Parti-Quebecois, under Premier Rene Levesque, was elected to office. Membership was at an all-time low (150) and many Jews were leaving the Laurentians because of the uncertain political turmoil.

After giving up a business, which the late Rabbi's wife, Sylvia, claims, "We had no business being in business," the Rabbi was free to do what he loved best - learning and communicating with people. Sam Weiner recalls when Rabbi Carlebach first came, "He advised our Committee that the 'mechitza' (divider) was not high enough and so, Joe Remer (Z'L), offered to have a new one built."

Although the Rabbi had already successfully met many of life's challenges, he was about to embark on yet another. He single-handedly set about the task of encouraging people to become members. The Rabbi, like the mailman, was sure to deliver! Whenever there was an opportune moment, he would cheerfully drive his beige AMC Wagoneer through all kinds of terrain, 'to go where no man had gone before,' and left 'no stone unturned.' He personally knocked on everyone's door. When he met people shopping, swimming, on the ski hills, and many times through the telephone, people could not resist the Rabbi's unique warmth, vibrant personality and love for life. He had ensured the House of Israel's survival by applying his own C.P.R. - increasing the membership to an incredible 700 - a phenomenal fete. The Rabbi had become the House of Israel's answer to the miracle of revival and survival.

 

Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach enjoyed the special spirit which illuminates from children and teens and so especially enjoyed the summer of 1981 when the Yeshiva Gedola had summer Yeshiva in the shul. He and the Rebettzin especially gained much pride and joy when the'Simcha' of their grandson, Baruch Kahn's Bar Mitzvah, of Milan, Italy, was celebrated in the shul.

Charles Lazarus once wrote of Rabbi Carlebach, that it was, "Through his personality and leadership, that he was able to recreate around his own image what can best be termed the joy of worship in the classical Chassidic sense." He also spent years writing a thesis in French pertaining to Jewish children being brought up the Talmudic way in comparison to other lifestyles.

Sadly, in April, 1985, Rabbi Carlebach died. He had been a true spiritual leader for all because through the abundance of his heart and the greatness of his spirit, he brought a full measure of blessing to everyone whose life was touched by his.

Bernard (Bernie) Wolfe (Z'L), unknowingly at the time, was to one day become the shul's Honourary President, and with good reason. Bernie and his wife, Ruth (Z'L),moved to Ste. Agathe in the Seventies because they grew tired of the political situation and of watching Montreal slowly deteriorate. Lillian Wolfe, their daughter-in-law, describes her mother-in-law as having been, "A brilliant graduate attorney, (rare for women in those days) formerly of New York, an incredible cook and an all-round warm, marvellous person that everyone loved, admired, and respected." The Wolfe's had experienced much sadness in their lives and as a result, almost began losing their faith. Ruth would escape her sadness through reading countless books, cook, and garden at their beautiful home on Tour du Lac, which they took much pride in, but it was far more difficult for Bernie.

 

There were, however, times of joy, especially when it came to their grandson, Gavin's Bar Mitzvah, on August 2, 1980, which was held in our shul. "The shul needed his diligence and devotion ," says Lillian, "And slowly he began to regain his faith and spirit. He felt good giving to the shul. He loved the warmth and respect given him as well as feeling useful and alive once again." It was a time of rejuvenation for Bernie.

It was his dream to have a library installed in the rear area of the shul which would contain books of reference to Jewish religious life. The following members made his dream become a reality: Mr. S. Aberman, Mr. I. Baron, Mr. Marvin Boman, Mr. Morris Brown, Mr. J. Cappell, Mr. J. Cytrenbaum, Mr. R. Dubrofsky, Mr. M. Eidenger, Mr. I. Fishbien, Mr. S. Goldfarb, Mr. E. Hockenstein, Mr. F. Inhaber, Mr. Marty Kaplan, Mr. G. Kohn, Mr. M. Leboff, Mr. I. Liebman, Mrs. Lillian Lipsey, Mr. W. Marks, Mr. Gordon Naimer, Mr. D. Newman, Mr. S. Pearl, Mr. I. Perlmutter, Mr. Ralph Pinsky, Mr. L. Rappaport, Mr. H. Rissman, Mr. M. Tietelbaum, Mr. E. Schonwald, Mrs. Carol Ann Shannon, Mr. N. Wexelman, Mr. E. Wiltzer, Mr. M. Witt and Mr. A. Wolfe.

In 1983, the library received a magnificent gift of 16 volumes of the Encyclopedia Judaica from Mr. & Mrs. Marty Kaplan in memory of their son, Eric.

Bernie and Ruth's daughter, Lora Koss, says that, "I think of the many times he came home from shul, proud of its growth and contented to give back to the community all the blessings he received in his lifetime. He brought the feeling of community home to his family and although too rarely spoke it, we were very proud of his accomplishments."

Bernard Wolfe gave so much of his time and effort into the supervision and administration of the shul for many years and did so with a full heart. Mr. B. Richler(Z'L) once remarked that, "Nowhere in Canada is a synagogue taken better care of and at so little expense, thanks to the efforts of our beloved Bernie."

The shul had given to Bernie, like to many others - peace - forgiveness - love - and oneness with G-D. Having gone beyond the call of duty, Bernard Wolfe was unanimously rewarded the title of lifetime Honourary President at the House of Israel.

 

In June, 1985, Bernard Wolfe announced that Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach, the energetic, youngest son of the former Rabbi, would become the shul's next Rabbi. Rabbi Carlebach recalls that he delivered his first sermon from 'Sefer Vayikrah - Parsha Acharai'.

The following year he became engaged to Chani Berenstein, and they were married in September, 1986. By 1987, the Rabbi had gathered children from various areas of the Laurentians to form The Laurentian Cheder. The children attended their weekly classes and one of their major highlights would be staging a creative Chanukah presentation for the residents of the Mount Sinai. In 1988, the Rabbi is credited for commencing Camp Ephraim - a summer camp which catered to many youngsters with visiting teenagers leading the programs. That year, as well, the 'Insight' bulletin made its debut under the auspices of the Rabbi, Chani, and Morrie Neiss.

In 1990, the Rabbi instituted many 'firsts'. For two years, the Rabbi worked hard on the idea of having a kosher restaurant in the Laurentians. His persistence finally paid off when Pita Pizza opened its doors on Principale Street. Not since the "hotel days" had there been a kosher restaurant in Ste. Agathe. One of the owners, Tzvi Spigelman, recalled with a laugh that, "On one occasion, a French-Canadian woman asked - seriously - if she could order a pizza even though she was not Jewish." It was a welcome addition to the small town.

 

 

Another unique idea which the Rabbi is credited for, along with

Ben Lieberman, is the formation of the early morning businessmen's

minyan held every Monday and Thursday in the city. The program's goal was to acquaint individuals with 'Siddur and Service' through participation and leadership. The Rabbi felt that, through this service, everyone would have an opportunity to lead a part of the service. Although the address has changed since its inception, the program remains on-going.

Project MOM ('Mincha on the Mountain') was launched atop Mt. Alta in sub-zero temperatures under a cold blue sky amidst the snow covered mountains. The Rabbi and Chani dedicated this project to honour all the Jewish "moms" who inspire their families with a love for Jewish tradition and encourage the observance of mitzvahs at all times and in all places.

 

 

 

In 1991, the Rabbi implemented the idea of Chanukah menorahs on the mountains - the first appearing on the slopes of Val David and Alta (the brainchild of Ian and Phyllis Karper and Steve and Leah Kirman). The purpose of the eight-foot electric menorahs was simple. Rabbi Carlebach saysthat, "It was to wish Jewish skiers a Happy Chanukah and to keep them in the spirit of the holiday." That year he expressed his hope of expanding theplacement of menorahs to other ski hillsides popularized by the community. By 1999, menorahs greeted thousands of Jewish skiers at Mont Tremblant,Mont Blanc, Mont Ste. Sauveur, Belles Neiges, L'Esterelle (the town of), and at the entrance to Ste. Agathe on Highway 117.

 

 

The topic of Shabbatons seem to electrify the Rabbi's already energetic personality. Lawrence Bergman (M.N.A. for D'Arcy McGee), one of the chairmen for the 1990 Shabbaton, recalls how, "The Rabbi is ever an optimist. I remember speaking with the Rabbi one week before the shabbaton and reporting to him that I was somewhat disappointed that we had only twenty people who had made reservations for the Shabbaton." The Rabbi, excitedly optimistic replied, "That's wonderful!" As it turned out, the Shabbaton was filled to capacity with over some ninety people in attendance.

Although every day is a highlight to the Rabbi, one very important highlight was his being instrumental in acquiring a Torah scribe in Israel, making arrangements, and personally bringing the Torah to Ste. Agathe from Israel for theBass Sefer Torah Dedication in August of 1994.

 

Frequently, the Rabbi can be seen affixing mezuzahs to doors of new neighbours in the Laurentians. This was a campaign which his late father, Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach (Z'L) had begun. He also derives much pleasure in ensuring that during Sukkot members receive an opportunity to wave their own Lulav and Etrog; and during Passover, enjoys distributing Shmurah matzah.

Not all is strictly business for the Rabbi. He has been known to ride boats on Lac Des Sables and having members join him for floating services. He also enjoys swimming and skiing with his family.

Since becoming the Spiritual Leader of this congregation, he has consistently demonstrated his love and belief of Torah and through his actions, has drawn many people closer to G-D's teachings. He cheerfully and energetically receives all persons, as does his wife, Chani, and firmly believes in his personal convictions of decency and peace.

In 1987, Gerald (Gerry) Powell became the shul's next president. He was a jovial, ardent, and devoted worker, especially when it came to the Annual Bazaar working together with Chairman Bob Bassell. The Bazaars, under the leadership of Gerry and Bobby, became exciting summer events for many years and Gerry remembers these times as being most enjoyable, successful, and rewarding.

 

Gerry fondly recalls how he became involved with the shul. "One extremely cold day, during the Winter of 1976, Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach, arrived at my home at Ivry Sur le Lac, and introduced himself to my family. The temperature was 30 degrees below zero. His face and head were wrapped in a great big scarf and all that was visible were his sparkling blue eyes." The Rabbi had made Gerry an offer he simply couldn't refuse.

Having made such a strong impression on Gerry, his wife, Sara, and their family, Gerry attended Shabbat services the following week and the very next day, the Powell Family became members of the House of Israel. Since that time, Gerry always enjoyed attending services each weekend whenever he was up North. He grew to love the quaintness of the shul and the comradeship he experienced there. It didn't take too long before he became motivated to work on fund raising projects for the shul, and giving of himself in the best way he knew how Gerry feels that, "We are indeed fortunate to have Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach today as our Spiritual Leader who, together with his wife, Chani, continue to make the shul a special place for all who belong and visit."

In 1988, Nat Libman (Z'L) became the President. His son, Marvin, says that, "He was not only very special to his family, but to all who knew him. His caring attitude and quick wit made him a unique and unforgettable personality."

 

 

Nat first became active when he built the family year-round country house in the Winter of 1968. Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach came knocking to the door one day and told Nat that he was having difficulties forming a minyan for that night. Nat replied, "Just call me if you need someone for a minyan."

Since that time, the minyan calls kept coming and Nat began to attend shul on a regular basis. That was only the beginning.

Nat eventually became the 'unofficial' catering manager making great kiddushes every Shabbat. He became the 'Minyanaire' Chairman, a Board Member and ultimately, the President. He worked extremely hard to ensure that there would always be a minyan and diligently worked on the annual bazaar to help raise funds for 'his' shul. His ultimate goal, as President, was to have enough money on deposit to generate enough income in order to be self

sustaining. During his presidency, he never missed Shabbat services or a minyan on Sundays. He felt that he needed to lead by example for his motto was, "Do as I do, not do as I say."

Outside of his family, the shul was Nat's life. He fought hard for his beliefs yet, always listened to the opinion of others. Nat enjoyed a good debate and although, at times, would disagree, he would rule with the majority. Because of his steadfast beliefs, the shul has prospered to this day and, according to his son Marvin, "I am sure that he would be very pleased with all the changes and progress," for Nat lived by the words of Daniel, the prophet, as, 'The wise...and the one who causes others to be righteous (and he) shall shine as the stars for eternity'

When Steve Levy became President in 1990, he claims that his term was, "A very eventful one." The most important project during his tenure was the extension and renovation of the synagogue. He recalls having spent countless hours with the Executive Committee, the Board (in particular Bernie Wolfe), as well as architects, going over plans. The extension however was not to be. The shul renovations were approved during Steve's term and were to be completed under the leadership of the next president. Steve claims that, "The end result is the beautiful synagogue which we all enjoy today."

 

On looking back on his years as president, Steve considered it a tremendous experience to work closely with so many different people in the Laurentian community. He had also set a goal for himself which was to organize a succession of people to follow each other in the leadership of the shul (of which he was most successful).

During Steve's term the once known Ladies Auxiliary took on the new name of Sisterhood. The Sisterhood Executive, during this period, were: Monica Bergman - President; Sandy Tait - Vice-President; Rose Levy - Treasurer; and Frances Kitaeff (Z'L) - Secretary. The Sisterhood had hosted a winter sleigh ride, and held a joint meeting with the Adath Israel Sisterhood. They were also very instrumental in implementing the Shabbaton of that year. It was in the summer of 1990 that Bingo, under the auspices of the newly-formed Sisterhood, first came to the shul and proved to be an overwhelming success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve relates that some of his fondest memories were going to Mt. Sinai with the Rabbi on Friday evenings to have services and make kiddush, working on the annual bazaar, organizing children's events, as well as creating a peaceful atmosphere in the synagogue for all to enjoy. "Not to forget," says Steve, "The countlesskiddushes I had to bring up North Friday afternoons for all the hungry people to enjoy after Shabbat services." On a final note, Steve claims that, "All in all - it was a very memorable two years."

In the early Nineties, Murray Dalfen became the next president. He had first heard about the shul back in the Spring of 1982 and affectionately recalls the first time he visited the House of Israel. "It was a time when synagogue participation is traditionally very low. Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach greeted me and my one-year-old son, Sean, with a warm smile and a hearty embrace."

 

Of the late Rabbi Carlebach, Murray says, "The love he felt for Jewish people just exuded from his shining countenance," and so Murray knew, right from the outset, that he had found a spiritual home. It was on that day Murray promised the Rabbi that he would help him in his quest to strengthen the congregation and this has become Murray's mission ever since.

Although Rabbi Carlebach was always kind and compassionate, Murray recalls, "One stern rebuke from the late Rabbi." One particular Shabbat, Murray had decided that it was best to leave his son, then a typical two-year-old, at home in order to 'daven' (pray) without distraction. The Rabbi immediately took note of Sean's absence. When Murray explained his reasoning to the Rabbi, he became very upset and said, "Daven during the week, but bring your son to shul on Shabbat!" A program was then begun of reading Torah stories to Sean and other children who came to shul. "It was a very rewarding experience," " reflects Murray.

"Our current Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach," says Murray, "Has stood on the shoulders of his father. We are very fortunate, indeed, to have such a learned, warm, kind, and accepting Rabbi as him."

 

 

 

During Murray's term of office, the principle activity which transpired was the renovation of the shul and with it came the beautiful modernized frosted glass 'Mechitza' (divider) which was generously donated by Joe and Roz Weinbergerin memory of their parents. Yehuda Shaki, well-known artist, donated his time and creative talents to the magnificient stained glass design for the new Aron HaKodesh on which the following words appear:

 

 

"I raise my eyes to the mountains; whence will come my help?"

Murray worked closely with architect and member, Brian Wiseman, as well as with a very supportive Board of Directors who converted the shul to a modem, comfortable, and attractive facility.

The years 1993-1995, when Dr. Hyman Tannenbaum was the President, were highlighted by growth in cultural, financial, administrative and religious activities at the House of Israel. Innovative cultural programming included the first Cantorial Concert in December 1994, honouring the late Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach. An accompanying ad book resulted in substantial new revenues for the synagogue. Other new programs included an Art Auction and Comedy evening held during the summer. Programming for children included sleigh rides in winter, special Chanukah events, and a barn festival. Beautiful new Torah covers were donated by members in honour of their children and grandchildren:

Howard ADLER, Jodie Michael Steinman; Jarrid Mitchell ADLER; Elliot &         Gail BERZAN, Elana, Stephen & Jennifer; Jerry, Michael Barbara (in honour of Harry CHAIMBERG); Beth, Warren, Scott, Matthew Sara CHISLING; Andrew Jonathan FEIFER; The GANSBOURG Family; Jordana Karen GOLDBERG; Alissa, Richard, Tova, Avi & Miriam LIEBERMAN; Daniel, Jane Nicole LIEBERMAN; Mirav, Taylor Blake MADEW, Shane Gannon; Reuven, Nancy, Allan, Nathalie Ian SINGER; Dana Joanne TANNENBAUM, Cara Darren Albert; David Daniel WEINBERGER, Deborah Howard Burak

Also, new Torah covers and an 'Etz Chaim' were donated by members in memory of their dearly departed: Miklos Miriam Adler; Helen Bassel; Morris Sarah Chaimberg; Nat Fersten; Max Harry Lazar; Kopel Mintz; Shirley Sherman; Harry Staszower; David & Clara Tannenbaum; Trevor Glenn Vineberg; Moishe & Chaya Waxman.

On an administrative level, the synagogue office was transformed into a well-run modern computerized entity with the acquisition of new computer and accounting software in order to co-ordinate our annual membership statements and labels for bulk mailings.

One of Hy's most memorable highlights of his presidency occurred in August of 1994 when Mrs. Lilly Bass and her daughters commissioned the writing of a new Torah scroll in memory of her husband, Louis Bass (Z'L). The Torah, written by Israeli scribe, Rabbi Moshe Druk, travelled by air from Israel (seated on a first-class seat next to Mrs. Bass), and then continued in Canada on land and sea. Upon arrival in Ste. Agathe, the Torah was taken by sea in a procession of boats on Lac Des Sables. Lilly Bass felt that this donation was a mitzvah because, "My husband was such a giving person and touched so many hearts during his life. We wanted to give him the honour that he deserved. Now he has a Torah made specially for him, from the first letter to the last letter." The Chief Rabbi of Montreal, the late Rabbi Pinchas Hirshprung (Z'L), personally inscribed the final letters in the scroll as hundreds looked on.

 

The Torah was carried under a white and gold-braided wedding 'chuppah' from Mrs. Bass' house to the boat dock and was then escorted by a flotilla of pontoon boats over Lac Des Sables to the shores of a park adjacent to the House of Israel. The new scroll, still under the 'chupah' was 'greeted' by the shul's nine other Sifrei Torahs which were carried outside. It was paraded with great merriment through the crowd which had swelled to beyond capacity. Adults and children lined the streets; danced and sang, as they escorted the Torah back to its new home at 31 Albert Street.

Heidi Bass said that, "The preservation of the Torah has allowed Jews to 'transcend a tragic history...and that finishing just one letter is equivalent to the mitzvah of writing the entire work, in G-D's eyes."

Hy claims that, "Just as the Torah has brought us from strength to strength, I believe my tenure of presidency has helped strengthen our synagogue in the areas of cultural, financial, administrative and religious avenues," all of which have provided Hy with a great appreciation of synagogue life and a much closer relationship with the shul's esteemed Spiritual Leader, Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach. Hy's fervent wishes are that the community should continue to grow,'Ledor va dor'- from 'generation to generation', "with abundant new energy to strengthen Judaism in the Laurentian mountains."

 

Irwin I. Liebman became President in 1995. He accepted the presidency in memory of his late father, Moe (Z'L),and the late Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach. He had been involved with the shul since 1976, occupying numerous official and unofficial positions, including that of re-writing our constitution. Irwin claims that, "I am proud to be associated with an institution which is totally devoted to Halachic Judaism under the decisive leadership of the late Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach, and now his son, Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach."

Irwin s fondest memory relates to a long stroll with Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach near the lake in Ste. Agathe. He recalls how, on that particular day, he had perhaps been unduly critical about certain actions of some of the members and voiced this to the Rabbi. The Rabbi then said, "When it comes to performing the mitzvah of 'love your fellow as

yourself', one should not be too stringent in judging another person according to their actions. Just as you love yourself, regardless of your faults, so too, you should 'love your fellow' even with their faults."

This remained Irwin's guidepost to his presidency in attempting to bring everyone together - notwithstanding their individual views, ideologies, and style of practice of Judaism - into one cohesive respectful unit.

Irwin also recalls the lengthy and lively Shalosh Seudot (Saturday evenings) under the leadership andparticipation of Joe Remer (Z'L), Bernard Richler(Z'L), and Bernard Wolfe (Z'L), the spirit of which continues today with 'Speakers' Corner' on Saturday evenings during the summer period.

During Irwin's presidency, three new programs were inaugurated: The Golf Tournament - Lou Adler; The Sea-Doo Raffle Draw - Morrie Cuttler and Marlon Bercovitch; and the Winter Bazaar - Irwin's wife, Anne, Zenith Singer, George Weisz, and Murray Dalfen.

Irwin always believed that, "G-D has provided us in Ste. Agathe with the raw materials, resources, and community energy to perpetuate and build upon the shoulders of our past presidents and past leaders - a shul teaming with life and growth, and that...everything to which the intellect can aspire to is only because G-D created that power within us."

From the dedicated founders to the energetic leadership which followed, when it came to Zenith Singer's presidency in 1997, so much had already been achieved and set in place.

 

It was in the mid Eighties when Zenith discovered the shul - a time when he was reciting 'Kaddish' for his late father and later, his father-in-law. From the outset, Zenith felt the warmth and energy displayed by Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach and all the members. He also found it to be rather unique that most of the members also held duo memberships (as did he) in other synagogues yet, everyone was most willing to give of their time and efforts to this 'lighthouse' in the country.

It didn't take long before past president, Murray Dalfen, called Zenith to ask him if he would take on the position of Treasurer. Eventually, this led to the presidency which he dedicated to his sets of parents, Harry Goldie Singer (Z'L), and Rev. Harry &

Caroline Weissbord (Z'L), in the hope that their guidance through Torah and good deeds; and their deep caring of their fellow man, combined with a dash of humour, would eminate through his presidency.

On Shabbat of November 1st, 1997, a magnificent Yahrtziet (memorial) Board was dedicated to the Israeli Defence Forces. This was originated under the leadership of past president, Dr. Hy Tannenbaum, who had been approached by the Gross Family (Monty Vera Gross; Peter Gloria Burnett; and grandchildren, Adina, Bruce, Maureen Pamela). He then contacted Roz Weinberger to create a design. Roz, in turn, approached prominent Montreal community artist, Rita Briansky, who created the design from her 'Kaddish Series' depicting a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The lone 'ta]lit' (prayer shawl), the main focal point of this memorial board, is a glazed reproduction of Rita's painting, which is in the shape of a person, however, the 'guf' (body) is missing. Roz correlated this image to the Israeli soldiers praying at the 'Kotel' (the Western wall) in their prayer shawls upon reaching it after recapturing the city of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.

 

Through the years 1997-1999, the Women's Council (once known under the names of the Ladies Auxiliary and Sisterhood) was reactivated and within no time, sprung into action boasting a membership of sixty women. (The present executive of the Council is listed in the front of this book.) Never before had the Kiddush tables taken on such professional splendour prevalent to each holiday. For the first time ever, The Council introduced a Chanukah 'Hands-On' Workshop and a variety of programming which included: a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, weekly Art Sessions, aqua-cizes, baseball, exciting family Bingo nights, and study courses with the Rabbi; and even attended to community and world needs - all of which blended to making friendships guaranteed to last a lifetime. Zenith credits the Women's Council for their diligent efforts in ascertaining a close-knit comradeship for all to enjoy.

The bulletin, 'HaOr' - The Light - (with Ruth Singer as editor) became somewhat enlarged and introduced a new format frequently highlighting members' unique achievements, articles pertaining to thought-provoking topics, and even induded a page devoted to the 'young at heart'; not to mention, the creation of the synagogue logo (the first in fifty years). "It is through our bulletin," " says Zenith, "that we have earned our place on the map which keeps our members, both home and abroad, abreast of our shul's happenings."

The on-going fund raising projects comprised of Ski Ticket Sales (Ressa Nadler); the Sea-Doo Raffle (Morrie Cuttler, Marlon Bercovitch, and Miriam Safran); the Annual Mammoth Bazaar (George Kis, George Weisz, Allan Nadler andRachel Chaimberg); the Art Auction (Allan Nadler and Michael Miro) - all outstanding successes under the vibrant leadership of the chairmen and the many devoted workers behind the scenes. Innovative Chanukah and Purim programmes, as well as other family events such as The Barnfest, were planned and professionally executed by Chairmen, Fred Golt and Warren Chisling.

As attendance increased to full capacity during the High Holy Days (with Rabbi Zev Lanton as the Cantor), it required the addition of seventy-five new chairs. A brand new addition in 1998, was the installation of air conditioning (donated by Irene Norman Wexelman Family) under the expertise supervision of George Weisz. This most welcome addition now allows the congregation to pray in comfort during the hot summer months as well as during the 'Yom Tovim'. With the addition in 1999 of new wallpaper throughout the sanctuary and hall, it completed the modernization of the shul's previous renovations. The weekly Kiddushes were 'updated' as well, with the presentation of warm food - a popular dish of Fall and Wmter became 'Cholent', and a new freezer was purchased in order to cater to the ever increasing crowds. Another favourite became the daily Summer Breakfast Club (spearheaded by Stan Goodman). However, not all improvements were made strictly on the interior, as a new non-slip terrazzo sidewalk replaced the old crumbling cement one.

With the future generation as 'top priority', the old storage room was turned into a beautiful creative Children's Room featuring various games, toys, and informative children's books (donated by Clark Brenhouse in memory of his sons,Lome and Philip (Z'L), and the Laurentian Cheder (once housed in the Ste. Adele School) returned to our 'House' offering the children of the community a Jewish education under the educational direction of Rabbi Carlebach.

Although there had been a program ad book years before, it was decided that this year was the year for an innovative one (spearheaded by Morrie Cuttler, Ruth Singer, and Gerry Philllips) as the shul was celebrating its Jubilee. The book was to feature the shul's history and pay homage to the unique contributions of the founding members as well as the present ones - all of whom are owed a debt of gratitude for their commitment to this House of Worship. Zenith is hopeful that, "This book will remain as a memorable legacy of all the shul's achievements in the first 50 years of its unique history."

Among Zenith's fondest memories is back in August of 1998 when the Board 'roasted' him one Shabbat on the occasion of his birthday. He also recalls the Shabbaton of the same year (under the chairmanships of Gerry Phillips, Dr. Peter Safran, and Bruce Zikman) when eighty-seven-year-old Rabbi Felix Carlebach, Spiritual Leader of the South Manchester Synagogue in England, visited Canada for the first time to attend the 13th yahrtzeit of his brother, Rabbi Ephraim Carlebach. The week-end long Shabbaton included the participation of over ninety people at a special Shabbat dinner. Rabbi Felix Carlebach, together with the entire Carlebach Family (having assembled especially for thisoccasion from the four corners of the world), left an impact that will long be remembered.

 

Zenith feels that it is not the physical structure which makes this shul so unique; rather, it is all the hard working, dedicated members combined with the Laurentian community, and under the Spiritual Leadership of Rabbi Emanuel Carlebach, who allow this synagogue to remain as a beacon of light for all who enter. " Members are of the utmost importance as they are the life line," says Zenith. "Because of this fact," he continues, "an all-out effort was placed into the 'Come Back Home' Membership Campaign, spearheaded byNorman Wexelman." (This task must have seemed like 'deja-vu' for Norm, as he was also in charge of membership back in 1979.) The shul experienced a vast growth in both new and renewed membership during the past year, as a result of this campaign.

For the first time in fifty years, Zenith took the opportunity, during this year's Shabbaton, to honour the Executive, Board, and Women's Council, by presenting these members with plaques of appreciation for their diligent efforts.

"I take this opportunity to thank all the predecessors and our Rabbi for their continual guidance and untiring support. In particular, I would like to thank Ressa Nadler, our shul's bookkeeper, who found the time and patience to dedicate herself to the shul's daily affairs for the past several years - always with a smile," " says Zenith.

Regardless of the many successes and wonderful times shared by all, Zenith concludes that, "It is the warmth of all of our members, as well as their energetic support and dedication which re-energizes this shul from year to year. It is because of this that I wish all of our families and friends good health in order to continue the strength of the House of Israel Congregation into the next Millennium."

 

AFTERWORD

When Jews are moved by interest in their roots and continued growth, we are challenged to provide a first-hand experience in a sensitive environment. If we meet this challenge, the chances are excellent that we will join the tens of thousands who have committed themselves to their millenial Jewish heritage.

Every accomplishment, even one that is seemingly small, is significant. We have only the highest praises for every member of such noble character at the House of Israel. It is because of our founders and each valued member that we are assured that the Judaism within us all will continue into the next Millennium to enrich our lives the way it was originally meant.

Thu, November 21 2019 23 Cheshvan 5780