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Entidad colectiva

Congregation Beth Israel

  • Congregation Beth Israel
  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1932-

Congregation Beth Israel was formed August 2, 1932 as a Conservative synagogue in cooperation with United Synagogue of America. It was first housed in the then existing Jewish Community Centre at 11th and Oak Street. Services were held there from 1932 to 1948. Mr. Nathan Bell was the first President of the Congregation, Mrs. Etta Koenisberg the first Sisterhood President. Rabbi Benzion Bokser was hired September 1, 1932 as the Congregation’s first Rabbi. The School was established in 1933, and the choir was formed shortly thereafter. As the Congregation grew, it required more space, especially for High Holyday series, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. A building fund was established in 1937. Land at the present site was purchased in 1944 and consecrated in 1946. The first High Holyday services were held in the present sanctuary in 1948 and the synagogue dedication was held September 11, 1949. In 1945 the cemetery grounds were purchased.

In 1965 Congregation Beth Israel’s constitution was amended to give women membership and voting rights with two women elected to the Board of Directors. The role of women’s participation was first raised in 1969, while the issue of aliyot for women began in the early 1980’s, gained momentum after Yom Kippur 1986 and settled in its present form in 1995. Today women are full participants at all services and in all roles.

Today the mission of Congregation Beth Israel, member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, is dedicated to the strengthening of all aspects of Jewish life, including worship and Torah study, religious, educational and social activities for all ages, and the observance of life cycle events.

Further Dates of Note:
• In 1970 the Groberman Chapel was renovated and refurnished.
• In 1982 the Koch Memorial Chapel at the Beth Israel Cemetery was dedicated.
• In 1992 the Beth Israel Cemetery Refurbishment project was completed.
• In 1993 the renovation of the entire synagogue was completed.
• 2007 was the 75th anniversary.
• 2012 was the 80th anniversary.
• In 2012 a major renovation and expansion was undertaken which was completed in 2014.

For a more in-depth history on Beth Israel, please see the "Beth Israel 80th Anniversary History Presentation", written by Yale M. Chernoff December 15, 2012.

Congregation Har El

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1962-

The origins of what would become Congregation Har El can be traced to the determined efforts of a number of Jewish residents of the North Shore, led by Horst Sachs z”l, during the middle of the last century. The official incorporation took place in 1962 and meetings were held in private homes. In 1974, with the influx of South African Jews into the community, space was rented in the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on 2158 Fulton Avenue, West Vancouver and regular religious services were established in the conservative tradition, including community social events. The Congregation, at this time went by the name of Sha’ar Harim, Gateway to the mountains. In 1981 the landmark figure of 100 member families was reached and a permanent rabbi, Rabbi Imre Balla was hired who guided the Congregation until 1999. In 1984 the Congregation changed its name to Har El, Mountain of God, when it moved into its own premises, renting temporary army barracks owned by the North Shore school board, at 1735 Inglewood, West Vancouver. These were renovated and greatly improved and became home for the next 13 years. In 1993, land was purchased from the British Properties on 1305 Taylor Way, West Vancouver and plans were underway to build a permanent home. On September 7, 1997 the dedication of the new synagogue took place.

Rabbi Shmuel and Sara Birnham and their son David Shalom moved to West Vancouver and joined the Har El community in the summer of 2000. The Congregation joined the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in 2002.

The building, which was designed by Mark Ostry of the architectural firm of Acton Johnson Ostry, won the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Award of Excellence and the Ron Thom Wood Design Award. The facilities include a beautiful sanctuary, community centre, fully-equipped kitchen, library, meeting rooms and social halls. Congregation Har El’s classroom wing is also home to the North Shore Hebrew School.

A major renovation took place in 2008 which greatly improved the acoustics and warm ambiance of the sanctuary and main social hall.

In the summer of 2010, Cantor Teron Cohen was engaged as the first full-time professional Cantor of the Congregation.

The North Shore Jewish Community/Congregation Har El is an egalitarian Conservative congregation combining spirituality with a deep sense of tradition. Har El is a member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and follows its guidelines. The North Shore Jewish Community/Congregation Har El is committed to promoting Jewish identity, worship, education, culture, and values to the surrounding community and beyond.

Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, Gallery

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1962-

Under the leadership of the JCC’s Cultural Arts Director at the time, Dvori Balshine, a committee of the JCC was first set up in February 1982 to carry out the policies of the JCC and the Shalom Gallery. This committee was led by Sivi Krisman, and the Shalom Gallery was opened. The Shalom Gallery was under the direction and administration of the Jewish Community Centre, which continues to be the case today.

In 1984 the Board of the JCC endorsed the goals of the Shalom Gallery committee. From 1982 to 1988 the Shalom Gallery put on 6 exhibits/events a year, with exhibition openings bringing in up to 400 people. Throughout this time period, Gertrude and Sidney Zack were contacted to see if they could provide funds for the building of a new larger space at the JCC. They agreed and work began on phase II of the development plan. Jack Lutsky was the architect. In 1988, the new space was opened and the name change was officially announced at its inauguration: The Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery. The opening gala reception of the Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery was held June 29, 1988 with the exhibition titled “Metamorphosis” which was an exhibit of new works by BC artists who had exhibited at the JCC over the previous 5 years when the gallery was known as the Shalom Gallery. Over 350 people attended this event. Article and photos in the Jewish Western Bulletin, July 21, 1988: (http://www.multiculturalcanada.ca/node/688758).

Today, The Sidney and Gertrude Zack Gallery is located in the centre of the active, bustling Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver on 41st near Oak. The mandate for this not-for-profit gallery is to enrich the lives of community members by exposing them to a diversity of art; to educate and develop an awareness, knowledge and appreciation of visual art; and to build a sense of community.
With a primary focus on art created by visual artists in the local Jewish community or art which emulates Jewish life and culture, the gallery also serves as a venue for national and international artists. The exhibits vary in theme and medium from classical still life to contemporary abstracts. Paintings, drawings, photography, tapestry and sculpture have graced the walls and space. Gallery programs include evenings of poetry, music and art lectures. Visual art workshops and classes are offered.

Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) Vancouver

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1918-

The organization known as Hadassah was first formed in 1912 in New York by American Henrietta Szold and the Daughters of Zion. The goal of the organization was to promote the Zionist ideal through education, public health initiatives, and the training of nurses in what was then Palestine, a region of the Ottoman Empire. As the founding of the organization coincided with the holiday of Purim, the group took the name Hadassah, the Hebrew name of Esther, one of the central figures in the celebration of that holiday.

1917 was a significant year in Hadassah and in Canadian Hadassah history. It was the year of the Balfour Declaration, the British Parliament’s recognition of Palestine as the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. It pledged that Palestine would once again become the Jewish national home. It was also the year in which the first official chapter of Canadian Hadassah was established, with a chapter opening in Toronto. The first Vancouver Chapter, the Lillian Freiman Chapter, was officially recognized in 1918. Mrs. J.B. Jaffe was named first president of the Vancouver Chapter of Hadassah.

In 1920, Dr. Vera Weizmann, wife of Israel’s first president Dr. Chaim Weizmann, founded the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), an internationally recognized organization dedicated to the social welfare of women and children in Israel/Palestine, advancement of the status of women, and Jewish education in Israel and the Diaspora. In 1921, she visited Toronto and persuaded National President of Hadassah, Lillian Freiman, to affiliate with WIZO. Thus, in 1921, the Canadian chapter of Hadassah changed its name to Hadassah-WIZO.

The Vancouver Chapter of Hadassah-WIZO was popular from the start. Hadassah-WIZO was one of the first feminist organizations to appear on the Canadian scene as the organization allowed women to organize and participate in events and activities outside of the home. After the Lillian Freiman Chapter was recognized in 1918, a second Chapter, the Rachel Goldbloom Chapter, was formed in 1924. However, Vancouver was unable to sustain two chapters, and the Rachel Goldbloom Chapter merged with the Lillian Freiman Chapter in 1927.

In the early 1930s, in order to accommodate growing membership of Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO, Jessie Allman formed the Menorah, Henrietta Szold and Junior Hadassah Chapters. Over the next few decades, more chapters were formed, including the following: Atid Chapter; Aviva Chapter; Ben Zvi Chapter; Deborah Chapter; Eilat Chapter; Elana Chapter; Hadassim Chapter; Hatikvah Chapter; Herzlia Capter; Kadima Chapter; Maccabian Chapter; Marchar Chapter; Massada Chapter; Naomi Chapter; Nordau Chapter; Royal City Chapter; Ruth Chapter; Sabra Chapter; Shalom Chapter; Tel- Aviv Chapter; Tel-Hai Chapter; Tssabar Chapter; Weizmann Chapter; and the Ziona Chapter.

In 1933, the Youth Aliyah Chapter was founded. Although considered a Chapter of Hadassah-WIZO, it has a slightly different history than the other chapters founded in Vancouver and in Canada. During that same year, Recha Freier, the wife of Rabbi Freier in Berlin, Germany, recognized Hitler’s and the Nazi Party’s malevolent intentions towards the Jewish people of Germany. She organized a movement to send Jewish children, first from Germany, and later from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Russia, to Palestine in order to protect them from Nazi persecution. After World War II, 10,000 child immigrants, mostly Holocaust survivors, arrived in Israel and settled in various Youth Villages. It is estimated that since its creation in 1933, approximately 400,000 children and youth have been rehabilitated and educated within the Youth Aliyah framework. Today, it is estimated that 1 in 20 Israelis are a graduate of Youth Aliyah.

The Youth Aliyah Chapter in Vancouver has been active since its inception in 1933. As early as 1937, the Chapter held their first Men’s Youth Aliyah Drive. They have held many fundraising events over the decades, including events such as fashion shows, canvassing drives, talent shows, and dinners/luncheons.

Membership to Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO reached its peak during the 1950s through to the 1980s, but has been in decline since the 1990s. Many Chapters were forced to close as membership dwindled. In order to attract new members, Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO has attempted to reinvent themselves while maintaining the organization’s original objectives and vision. In 2012, two new chapters were formed in Vancouver: the Kehillah Chapter, a chapter for women in their 20s to mid 30s, and the Gilad Chapter, a Chapter organized by Mimi Grad.

The aims and purpose of Hadassah-WIZO, even from the beginning, has been to promote the education, health and welfare of women and Children in Israel/Palestine, and to promote the welfare of Jewish women and awareness of women’s issues in Canada. Vancouver Chapters of Hadassah-WIZO have been achieving these objectives since the year they were founded. As early as 1918, women from Vancouver Hadassah met regularly to sew clothes for the chalutizm in Palestine. Some of the projects in Israel and Palestine supported and/or created by the Vancouver Chapters of Hadassah-WIZO include the following:

• Sponsorship of the Agricultural and Secondary School in Nahalal in 1926;
• Youth Aliyah: Canada Hadassah-WIZO becomes the official representative of Youth Aliyah in 1933;
• Hadassim Children and Youth Village, east of Natanya in 1947;
• Hebrew University of Jerusalem, starting in 1948. Some of the projects Vancouver Hadassah WIZO has contributed to include the establishment of the Chaim Weizmann Memorial Biological Laboratories; Canada Hall; Vincent Massey Hall; Canada Research Centre; Canada House Student Dorms; the Rose and Abe Schachter Student Centre; the Library Reading Hall, School of Education, plus more;
• Asaf Harofe Hospital in Sarafond in 1953;
• Child Guidance Clinic and Research Institute in Jerusalem in 1965;
• Magdiel Comprehensive Secondary School and Youth Village in 1968;
• Acco Educational and Vocational Youth Village in 1970;
• Neri Bloomfield Community College, in Haifa in 1971;
• 12 creches, 2 kindergartens, 4 women’s clubs, and various youth clubs.

In addition, Hadassah-WIZO has undertaken projects in cooperation with Magen David Adom, the Jewish Fund of Canada, and various projects in Vancouver and Canada.

In order to raise funds for projects for Israel/Palestine, as well as Canada, an annual Bazaar was organized and held. The first Hadassah-WIZO Bazaar was held in Toronto in 1924. The first Bazaar in Vancouver was held in 1935, but it was a much smaller affair than it would later become. The first Vancouver Bazaar was organized by the Lillian Freiman Chapter, and was held on April 25, 1935 at the Jewish Community Centre. Admission was 10 cents, and the event ran only from 8pm to midnight.

Although annual Bazaars were held, it was not until 1952 that it grew to city wide, multi-day event. Marjorie Groberman, inspired by magnitude of the Toronto Hadassah-WIZO Bazaar, wanted something similar in Vancouver. She moved the location of the Bazaar from the Jewish Community Centre to the Seaforth Armouries, and organized all the Hadassah-WIZO Chapters in the Lower Mainland to contribute to the Bazaar in some way, either by providing baked goods, pickles or preserves, cooking at the cafe, sewing/knitting clothing, donating gently used clothing, shoes or household items, and/or contacting commercial exhibitors and merchants for further merchandise. All Chapters were expected to volunteer their services at the Bazaar. The Bazaar became a day long event, and visitors had a chance to win a new car through a raffle. The new “Big” Bazaar was a success as it netted approximately $10,000.

In 1955, under Anita Waterman, the Bazaar moved to the PNE grounds, where it remained until the 1990s. By 1955, the Bazaar had grown to a day and half event, and also featured an auction and a fashion show. By 1976, the Bazaar grew to be a two day event, and occupied two and a half buildings of the PNE Ground.

The Bazaar remained a popular event throughout the 1970s to the 1990s. However, in the early 2000s, due to the aging population of Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO and a declining membership, the Bazaar became increasingly difficult to organize and run. The Bazaar was downsized in the early 2000s, moving from the PNE Grounds to the Italian Community Centre. By the mid to late 2000s, it was downsized once again, moving to the Hellenic Community Centre. The last Bazaar was held in 2007. Today, Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO’s major fundraising event is the annual Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

On November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which, in essence, decreed that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination ”(United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism_is_racism). The resolution was instantly contested, and was condemned by many western nations, including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe. In 1991, Israel made a revocation of Resolution 3379 as a condition of its participation in the Madrid Peace Conference, and it was officially revoked in 1991 by UN General Assembly Resolution 4866.

Partially in response to these events, and in order to educate the public about Judaism, Zionism, and the State of Israel, the Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO established a Public Affairs Department who dedicated themselves to this task. From the 1970s through to the early 1990s, they held many seminars and luncheons on interfaith dialogues, and on issues pertaining to Judaism, Zionism, and Israel in the media.

Many women from Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO have held high ranking positions within Canadian Hadassah-WIZO Executive Council. Many of these women have been recognized both nationally and internationally. Some of those women include Lily Frank, who was appointed as National Executive Director of Canada Hadassah-WIZO in 1967, and was also appointed as National Executive Vice President in 1979; Naomi Frankenberg who became National President of Canada Hadassah-WIZO in 1987, and was honoured by the CHW when they named a cultural centre in Hadassim after her; and Judy Mandleman who became National President in 1993 and was honoured by the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO when they named a daycare centre at Kiryat Sharett after her. Other prominent Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO women include Blossom Wine, the first life long member of Vancouver Hadassah-WIZO, Lil Shaperio, the first Council President of Vancouver Hadassah WIZO, Marjorie Groberman, visionary of the Hadassah-WIZO Bazaar in Vancouver, and many other women who contributed tirelessly and selflessly to their community, their country, and to Israel.

Around 2013, Hadassah-WIZO changed their name to CHW (Canadian Hadassah-WIZO).

Congregation Emanu-El

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1863-

Congregation Emanu-El is a progressive Conservative synagogue in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Congregation Emanu-El is composed of an eclectic group of 200 families who come together to create a dynamic and spiritual expression of Jewish life. It is a place of love and growth where deep friendships are forged and nourished. Congregation Emanu-El believes in connecting people to one another and to their Jewish roots and traditions, as well as nourishing feelings of community, security and belonging. In 2013 Congregation Emanu-El celebrated its 150th anniversary as the oldest continuously active synagogue in Canada and western North America. Since 1863, the congregation has grown from about 50 families to nearly 200 families, despite the advent of three new congregations in the city over the last 10 or so years: Aish HaTorah (modern Orthodox), Kolot Mayim (Reform) and Chabad of Vancouver Island. It is popularly believed that there are now 2,500-3,500 Jews on Vancouver Island, although many of them are unaffiliated.

In the 1850's, during the time of gold prospectors, fur traders, and steamships, the Jewish community of Victoria began. The first Jews came in 1858, mostly from San Francisco. Gold prospectors had to stop in Victoria, the capital, to obtain mining licenses, and then go on to the mainland where gold was discovered. The first Jews came with these prospectors, and supplied the mining camps with food, clothing, household goods, and tools. In the 1850's, there were about 200 Jews in Victoria.

The first need of the community was a cemetery. The Victoria Hebrew Benevolent Society (the first Jewish organization in Western Canada) purchased a burial site on Cedar Hill Road which at that time was on the edge of town. On Feb. 5, 1860, the cemetery was founded. That same cemetery still serves the Jewish community today.

The congregation “Emanu-El of Victoria, Vancouver Island” came into being in 1862, and members purchased the present site of the synagogue for $730. The building was designed by principal architect John Wright, from the firm Wright & Sanders, the first professional architect in Victoria.

The cornerstone-laying ceremony took place June 2, 1863. This was a gala celebration and was attended by the mayor, town council, Chief Justice, the Freemasons, Hebrew Benevolent, French Benevolent and St. Andrews Societies, bands and choirs. The congregation was incorporated by an act of the Legislature of the Colony of Vancouver Island that received assent on July 7, 1864, as “The Emanuel of Victoria, Vancouver Island.”

In approximately 1893 the congregation purchased, for $350, a parcel of land to the south of the sanctuary and erected a wooden structure measuring 50 by 70 feet, called the Hebrew Ladies’ Hall, so named because it could not have been built without the Hebrew Ladies’ Association having raised a large part of the construction funds and because it was intended to facilitate the association in their further fundraising activities. This building functioned in many different roles: as a ballroom, space for bazaars, a school, a church and even a judo club. Later renamed Victoria Hall, by the 1970s, the then 80-year-old structure had deteriorated and was demolished in favour of a used car lot. The land was later used for the portable classrooms of Emanu-El’s Hebrew school, until the construction of the present Fisher Building (Congregation Emanu-El Education and Culture Centre).

In approximately 1900, another structure, a single-storey addition referred to as a “lean to,” was built onto the southeast corner of the sanctuary. The structure was extended to the street in the late 1940s, when the synagogue was “modernized.” This space, still very much in use today, has served multiple purposes over the last 100 years: from kitchen to classroom to meeting space to children’s play area.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Jewish population in Victoria declined as Vancouver took on more global importance. By the mid-1940′s, there were only 10-15 families at Congregation Emanu-El. The synagogue was 80 years old by then, and was badly deteriorated. In an effort to save it from being condemned, the original brick exterior was covered with stucco, the windows were blocked in and a false ceiling was installed to allow for adequate heating. A rededication ceremony at the Emanu‐El Synagogue was held on March 17, 1948.

This preserved the synagogue until 1978, when a group of volunteers decided to restore the synagogue to its original condition. This was a time when there was a new public appreciation of heritage. In 1977, the provincial Heritage Conservation Branch was founded, responsible for the planning and management of provincial heritage resources. The Branch's Restoration Services Division would play a crucial role in the synagogue restoration. In 1978, "The Committee to Restore Canada's Oldest Synagogue" was organized and consisted of Martin Levin as Chairman with a membership of Harry Brown, Neil Gold, Michael Goldberg, Alan Klenman, Ben Levinson, Gene Miller, Felix Reuben and later Martin Bernstein. The Committee enlists the aid and expertise of the Heritage Conservation Branch of the Provincial Government which is to prove invaluable throughout the four year restoration project.

The project of revitalizing the Synagogue included: removing old paint and stucco; duplicating antique bricks of irregular shapes; recreating doors; shipping stained glass from Europe; remaking hundreds of elaborate spindles for the gallery railing and restoring a rose window that could not be removed from the wall. Although some of the fabric of the building, such as the doors, was lost forever, the blocked‐off windows were not lost, and much of the interior that was shut away by the false ceiling survived.

The restoration was made possible by the support of various organizations including the British Columbia Heritage Trust. Every effort was made to restore the Synagogue as authentically as possible, for example: new bricks, to replace those defaced in preparation for the stucco, were hand made by the Hidden Brick Company in Vancouver, Washington; hundreds of new spindles for the balcony were hand turned by David’s Classic Wood‐Works, of Victoria; and local stained‐glass artist, Andrew Leone, repaired and recreated the windows and dome. The new stained glass in the ceiling was supported on Plexiglas, with a rectangular glass structure on top to protect it, and allow for inspection. The wooden floor was dug out and a skim coat of concrete placed on the exposed ground before the new floor was installed. Commitment to authenticity led the Heritage Branch to petition the Fire Marshall to make concessions concerning the provision of facilities in compliance with the current code. Both the interior and exterior of the synagogue today would, it seems, be instantly recognisable to the Jewish citizens of Victoria who worshipped there one hundred and fifty years ago. In the end the cost of this restoration was $370,000.00, more than half of which came from the Victoria Jewish community. This restoration was completed in 1982 with a multicultural and multi-ethnic celebration similar to the original dedication in 1863.

On June 26, 1983, the Government of Canada mounted a plaque recognizing the "national historical and architectural significance of Congregation Emanu‐El Temple."

The Victoria Jewish Community kept growing and in 1994, the Board of the Congregation Emanu‐El established a Task Force to examine the possibility of expanding the Synagogue. A Building Committee was formed upon the vote of the Board, tasked with the responsibility of securing conceptual drawings and any technical studies or surveys required to assess the options of constructing an addition to the Synagogue. The addition to the Synagogue became the Matanah G’Dolah Project and was the Capital Building and Fundraising Campaign of Congregation Emanu‐El. In 2003, the project was realized when the addition, the Al and Sylvia Fisher Building, the Congregation Emanu-El Educational and Cultural Centre opened. By 2004, the congregation had grown to about 215 families.

On June 2, 2013 Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El celebrated its 150th anniversary with a day of festivities, including a reenactment of the original parade that marked the laying of the synagogue’s cornerstone on June 2, 1863. The parade formed at the corner of Fisgard and Douglas (the Freemason temple) and set off at noon with the Royal Canadian Navy’s Naden Band leading. The parade paused at City Hall to pick up Mayor Dean Fortin and some city councilors before arriving at the intersection of Pandora and Blanshard streets. There, the commemoration of the laying of the cornerstone took place – Fortin, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada Miriam Ziv, the grand master of Freemasons in British Columbia and other dignitaries marked this historic occasion and welcomed the 150th year of Congregation Emanu-El, the oldest synagogue in Canada in continuous use.

As Congregation Emanu-El was preparing for a 150th anniversary commemoration and celebration, including festivities and events held throughout 2013, it was also time to restore and maintain the building so that it will last another 150 years. The congregation’s focus then, are twofold: joy for the present, and care for the future. Donald Luxton and Associates (Vancouver) was selected as the heritage conservation consultant. The scope of work included, in approximate order of priority, the need to repair and reinforce the roof structure; restore the windows and increase the R-value, the degree of resistance to the passage of heat through a material, in order to reduce heat loss; replace the outmoded electro-mechanical heating controls with a programmable electronic system; upgrade the fire/smoke detection system to promote early warning; replace the front entrance and modify it to provide universal access; enhance the security of the aron kodesh to provide fire, theft, flood and earthquake protection for the sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls); and renew the well-worn wooden floor. Compared to the 1982-era restoration, these projects are mostly out of sight and out of mind. In the end, the cost of this restoration will be approximately $950,000.
Once these projects have been completed, thus ensuring the integrity of the building envelope, it is believed that the Emanu-El sanctuary will be in a sufficient state of repair that a 20-year cycle of periodic preventive maintenance inspections and repairs should see the building through its next 150 years.

Jewish Family Service Agency

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1936-

Jewish Family Service Agency (JFSA) has been providing opportunities to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families. We are a social service organization that offers a continuum of services for individuals and families at all ages and stages of life in the Jewish and wider community. Our 5 departments are Basic Resources, Seniors, Counselling Services, Employment Services and Immigrant Resettlement.

Our vision is to strengthen and enhance the quality of life of individuals and families in the Jewish and wider community.

Chelm Cultural Club

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1978-1986

The Chelm Cultural Club initiated a Jewish film festival in Vancouver and maintained it for nine years (1978-1986), with screenings at Langara Community College and Pacific Cinematheque.

The Chelm Cultural Club was created by a group of Jewish friends who wanted to fill what they experienced as a cultural void in Vancouver, both for themselves and for the community at large. Primarily they wanted to see Jewish and Israeli films, and to that end they formed the club in 1978. In addition to films, they also organized other cultural events (ex. "Megila Lider," a Yiddish musical event and a number of lectures), but above all the Chelm Cultural Club was a Jewish film society. In 1980 they incorporated as a non-profit society (see constitution of 1980). The society disbanded in 1986.

From the point of view of their internal organization, all members of the Chelm Cultural Club participated equally and democratically. There was no bureaucracy or hierarchy. Hence the name "Chelm." Amusing as this may sound, it was basic and important because it assured the vitality of the society. In this way, the Chelm Cultural Club was an ideal model of a democratic community organization.

They chose to be independent and not to be restricted by official agencies of the Jewish community, though they did network with some Jewish (ex. Canadian Jewish Congress, Hillel, Louis Brier Home and Hospital) and non-Jewish (ex. Vancouver Community College/Langara, Pacific Cinematheque) agencies.

The Chelm Cultural Club was a volunteer-run enterprise whose operating budget came from donations at the door at film screenings and other events, occasional membership donations, as well as small contributions from other organizations when they co-sponsored a film.

The founding and core members of the Chelm Cultural Club included: Avi Dolgin, Ruth Hess-Dolgin, Shaya Kirman, Shanie Levin, and Seymour Levitan. Other active participants over the years included: Ned Glick, Alex Kliner, Edna Oberman, Barry Rabinowitz, Abe Schwartzman.

Chelm Cultural Club - list of films screened:
• Fall 1978: Miraleh Efros, Salah, Got, Mentsch un Tayvl, House on Cherrlouche Street, Let My People Go, This is Sholem Aleychem, The Dybbuk, Garden of the Finzi-Continis.
• Fall 1979: Grine Felder, The Big Day, The Martyr, Jacob the Liar, Jew of Winnipeg, A People Chosen/Who is a Jew?, The Falashas.
• Fall 1980: Yidl Mitn Fidl, Daughters Daughters, Number Our Days, The Fifth Horseman is Fear, Free Voice of Labor, Music of Auschwitz.
• Fall 1981: Der Purimshpiler, The Dreamer, Bye Bye Braverman, Jerusalem File, Journey to Heritage, 20 Years Later, A Brivele Der Mamen.
• Fall 1982: Mamele, Image Before Our Eyes, Kazablan, The Dybbuk.
• Fall 1983: One Hundred and Two Mature, The Golden Age of Second Avenue, Memorandum, 20 Years Later, Routes of Exile: A Moroccan Jewish Odyssey, The Wooden Gun/Rove Huliot.
• Fall 1984: Tevye, Jacob the Liar, Kaddish, Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?.
• Fall 1985: Routes of Exile, Catskill Honeymoon, Ra'ananah, Dark Lullabies.

Chelm Cultural Club - other activities:
• January 1979: Professor Eugene Orenstein, Moshe Leib Halpern: A Great American Yiddish Writer and His Times.
• March 1979: A Purim Celebration.
• Fall 1985: Concert with Michael Alpert.

Burquest Jewish Community Association

  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1972-

Burquest is a non-profit organization dedicated to the religious, social, cultural and educational needs of the Jewish population of Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and as far east as Mission. Founded in 1972, Burquest has a diverse and growing membership. From infants to grandparents, representing 5 continents, Burquest members come from a wide variety of Jewish backgrounds and exhibit a range of current interests and needs.

Burquest’s Hebrew School is the oldest “institution” within the organization, reflecting the high priority its members have always put on Jewish education. Burquest is also rich in adult programming. Other programming includes: monthly Shabbat services; High Holiday services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; other holiday observances, such as Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Purim, and Hanukah; Bar/Bat Mitzvah training; adult education, including Hebrew classes, adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah training; discussion groups; social activities such as picnics, parties and seniors programs.

The roots of the Burquest Jewish community can be found in New Westminster in the 1950s where there was a Hadassah Chapter, a small Talmud Torah, and several Jewish businesses. By the early 1970s there were 8 families from Burnaby, Coquitlam and New Westminster, meeting to discuss and promote the cultural and religious aspects of Judaism. On a monthly basis the group met in various members’ rec rooms. In February of 1974, the name Burquest Jewish Community Association was adopted, combining the names of the members’ cities: Burnaby, New Westminster, and Coquitlam. In 1976 society status was obtained, and by that year there was a regular Hebrew School and social events, including 75 people attending the Purim party. In the early 1990s, the current membership began to solidify. There were regular Oneg Shabbat services, though still held in members’ houses, and other formal religious activities. Using a borrowed Torah, High Holiday services were held at a Coquitlam church. As the religious program was expanded, membership grew steadily. In December of 1995, one of the community’s proudest moments came at the dedication of its own Torah, an event attended by a number of local political and religious leaders. This occasion recognized Burquest’s coming of age as a religious community. The Torah allowed more in-depth services to be held on a regular basis, including Simchat Torah and the High Holidays, as well as the beginning of a Bar and Bat Mitzvah program. Hanukah parties, Sukkot and Purim programs, and an adult study group all became part of the calendar.

In the 1990s it became apparent that a building was needed to house the Burquest Jewish community. Burquest had outgrown meeting in members' homes and community halls and churches. Religious services were being held at Saint Laurence Church, the Hebrew school was meeting at Douglas College in New Westminster, and social events often required ad-hoc arrangements at other locations. There were no offices, no library, no centralized records, and no place to call a Jewish centre. It was determined that Burquest needed a single, permanent location. By the mid-1990s a building capital campaign was begun and by 1999 enough funds had been raised to purchase an acreage in Port Coquitlam. In 2001 the acreage was sold to purchase a building at the corner of Dewdney Truck Road and Mariner Way on June 27, 2001 and renovations were undertaken to add a kitchen, elevator and classrooms. On October 6, 2002/ 30 Tishri 5763 the building was officially opened. Today Burquest is located at 2860 Dewdney Trunk Road, Coquitlam, BC.

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