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Miscellanies: Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (Shearith Israel) Montreal, 1768-1968

Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar and Evelyn Miller

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (Shearith Israel) Montreal, 1768-1968 ESTHER I. BLAUSTEIN, RACHEL A. ESAR, and EVELYN MILLER I Two hundred years ago, in 1768, the Portuguese Congregation of Shearith Israel was founded in Montreal, the first synagogue in Canada. A short eight years before, the first Jews had arrived in Canada (apart from some who ar? rived with the British Army in 1759) and the distinction of becoming the first Jewish settler belongs to Aaron Hart. He had served as com? missary officer in General Amherst's army and after the conquest of Canada had settled in Three Rivers, Quebec.1 Aaron Hart was soon followed by Levy Solo? mon. He, too, had been a provisioner to the army and a merchant in Albany, New York, then still a British possession.2 Andrew Hays came and the brothers Samuel, Isaac, and Uriah Judah. The latter were cousins?and later brothers-in-law?of Aaron Hart. SITE FOR FIRST SYNAGOGUE Simon Levy arrived and Lazarus David also settled here. His son, David, later provided the site on which the first synagogue building was erected.3 A daughter, Frances, wife of My er Michaels, was a generous supporter of the congregation's later home on Chenneville Street. Abraham Franks settled in Quebec City. He was the father of David Salesby Franks, in whose rooms in Montreal the first minutes were signed in 1778. These authorised the building of a synagogue, the first small home of the If no footnotes are used, the source is the Minute Books of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Congregation Shearith Israel. For many years this building stood at the corner of Notre Dame and Little St. James Streets; it has now been demolished. The name 'Shearith Israel' means Remnant of Israel. As foretold by the Prophets, there has always been a remnant to carry on the Faith and traditions of Judaism: a remnant after Judea went to Babylon; a remnant after Baby? lon went to Spain; a remnant after Spain fled to the continents of North and South America. Many of our first Canadian Jewish settlers were descended from these survivors; they and their families became the first members of the first Jewish synagogue in Canada. At this time, the synagogues on both American continents fol? lowed the Sephardi Form of Prayers. Since many members of the Shearith Israel were of Sephardic extraction, it was natural that this ritual should be adopted. Thus, from the begin? ning, the new congregation was closely asso? ciated both with Bevis Marks in London and with the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York. DISCIPLINED IN MANNER The Spanish and Portuguese Jews were disci? plined and formal in their manners and the synagogue organisation was patterned accord? ingly. The Pamass (President), the Gab ay (Treasurer), and three other gentlemen sat apart from the other members of the congrega? tion, on a raised seat known as the Banca. They were known as the Junto; all who had served as members of the Junto became Elders. The rules of the new congregation were strict and it was not easy to be a member in good standing. Number 13 of the Bye-laws stated that the 'in? habitants of this town' must sign the Bye-laws 'within twenty days' and those out of town 'within six months' or they would 'forever be 1 Arthur D. Hart, (ed.) The Jew in Canada, p. 14. 2 Dr. J. Marcus, Early American Jewry, p. 409. 3 150th Anniversary Book, Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, p. 13. Ill</page><page sequence="2">112 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller exempted from having any privileges, honours or employment in the congregation*. As fur-traders who ranged as far as present day Detroit, where they spent the winter, Benjamin Lyons and Chapman Abrams were unable to sign within the allotted time. Because of the circumstances, they were allowed a special dispensation and permitted to sign the Bye-laws within twenty days of their return to Montreal. It was not unusual for members of the congregation to trade so far afield. For many years, the majority of the early settlers had been established in the British possessions to the south. There they had been fur-traders and merchants who supplied the goods for barter with the Indians; Hyam Myers, who settled in Quebec City, dealt with many of his former associates, and Levy Solomon con? tinued his business ties with Albany.4 II Founding Fathers Little is known concerning many of the early families but a few interesting facts and amusing tales have been recorded. Solomon : The Solomons, Levy and Ezekiel, are believed to be brothers. Ezekiel, with his brother and several associates, was a member of a fur-trading firm and the partner responsible for business conducted at the outlying trading posts. During the Indian uprising at Michili makinac, known as 'Pontiac's Rebellion', he barely escaped with his life.5 In later years, Ezekiel served the congregation on the com? mittee which drew up the 'Rules and Regula? tions' governing the members. PROSPERITY LOST The firm of Levy Solomon and his partners prospered for several years; but the refusal of the Government to grant fur-trading licences for a period after the Rebellion, combined with other adverse circumstances, forced Levy Solo? mon to declare the business bankrupt in 1767. Though he remained a merchant until his death in 1792, he never regained his former pros perity. A widower, Levy Solomon married Rebecca, daughter of Abraham Franks, in 1775. Two daughters of this marriage were Rachel, who married Henry Joseph; and Mary, who married Jacob Franks, the younger. A son, Benjamin Solomon, carried on his father's business and played an active part in the war of 1812. Franks: The relationships of the Franks family are not clear but there is persistent men? tion in early documents of a John Franks, son of Abraham. He was a chimney overseer in Quebec in 1778. The description of a 'giddy head, insolent spark,' was applied by A. L. Burt, a Canadian historian, to David Salesby Franks.6 This gentleman was gaoled for knock? ing down M. de Bellestre in a quarrel arising from the defacement of a bust of King George III. In 1775 Abraham Franks moved to Mon? treal, but the date of John's arrival is unknown.7 Documents exist,8 however, to show that he opened a tavern and open-air dance-hall on Beaver Hall Hill, almost opposite the present location of the Bell Telephone Building. Un? fortunately, this was not a success and in 1790 John Franks is back in Quebec, where he be? came that city's first fire chief. David Salesby Franks played a prominent part in the early days of the Portuguese Congregation. As an active sympathiser with the cause of the Ameri? can Revolution, however, he settled in the United States after 1779.9 There he had a dis? tinguished diplomatic career until his death in 1793, a victim of yellow fever. ASTOR COMPETITION Jacob Franks, the younger, was an important fur-trader in the West, where he established a trading-post in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with the help of his nephew, John Lawe.10 They were very successful, at one time having business 4 Early American Jewry, Vol. I, pp. 76-77. 5 Marcus, Early American Jewry, Vol. II, p. 227. 6 The Storied Province of Old Quebec, by A. L. Burt. 7 B. G. Sack, History of the Jews in Canada, p. 70. 8 McGord Museum, Montreal, J. Beek, Notary Public, Index of Sale. 9 Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 79, Vol. Ill, p. 276. 10 Wisconsin Historical Society Papers, Vols. Ill, XIX, XX.</page><page sequence="3">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 113 connections with John Jacob Astor. One of Jacob Franks's correspondents was Moses David, Lazarus David's youngest son. He had settled first in Detroit and later in Sandwich, Upper Canada. During the war of 1812, the news that the Americans had seized some of his goods first reached Jacob Franks in a letter from Moses David. After the war, the Western District, which included Green Bay, was ceded to the United States and the Franks company gradually dwindled away in the face of Astor competition. John Lawe remained in Green Bay but Jacob Franks returned to Montreal, where he died in 1840. Judah : The Judahs were prominent both in Shearith Israel and in mercantile affairs. Samuel Judah was active in the synagogue and in business during the 1760s and early 1770s but left Canada before the American Revolu? tion and settled in New York. One of his daughters married Moses, son of Aaron Hart. Isaac Judah, Samuel's brother, lived in Mon? treal, where his two sons were born. This information was recorded in the Register of the Shearith Israel Synagogue by the Rev. Jacob Cohen, the congregation's first Minister. When the Rev. Mr. Cohen left Montreal to become the Minister of the Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia, he took the Register with him. It is still there, with the early Mikveh Israel records entered in the same book. In earlier times, the attitude to these Registers of Vital Statistics was far more casual than it is today. Later the Hazan, Mr. Piza, took the Register of the Portuguese Congregation back to London, though admittedly by mistake. Isaac Judah was a supporter of the early Montreal congregation. He also signed several of the Petitions addressed to England concerning the establishment of a Legislative Assembly in Quebec.11 REFORMS PETITIONED A third brother, Uriah, lived in Three Rivers, later moving to Montreal, where he was a merchant for 17 years. In 1784 he was of sufficient prominence in the community to be included in a group of Montreal merchants who gathered to draw up a Petition to the English Government.12 This document asked for constitutional reforms, including govern? ment based on fixed and liberal principles. David: Lazarus David carried on an exten? sive trade with the French and Indians. Settling in Montreal, he soon became a large land? owner and, as early as 1767, his name appears in the Montreal real-estate records.13 Con? cerned by local government regulations, he signed a Petition on 12 November 1774 which requested the repeal of the Quebec Act and an elective Legislative Assembly.14 Lazarus David died in 1776 before the fulfilment of the plan to build a synagogue for the already established congregation. But his family supported the project personally and financially and helped to make possible the construction of the build? ing and the synagogue's continued progress. By 1778 the second generation was beginning to take its place in the synagogue and in the community at large. Lazarus David's older sons, David and Samuel, became prominent Montreal merchants; Moses, the youngest, moved to Detroit and engaged in trading furs with the Indians and supplying goods to the fur-traders.15 The signatures of David and Samuel David appear on a Petition in 1779, which requested the modification of import regulations, as a result of which Montreal be? came a Customs port of entry.?? In December 1805 the Davids attended a Ball and Assembly held to celebrate the news of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. As representatives of the Jews of Montreal, they attended a dinner in celebration of Trafalgar, held in January 1806. Both gentlemen subscribed to the Nelson Monument, which stands on Notre Dame Street, at the top of Jacques Cartier Square. David David was a charter member of the Bank of Montreal, founded in 1818, and later was appointed a Director.17 He was also an 12 Public Archives of Canada, Vol. 31, p. 249, Series Q. 13 'Livre-Terrier de la Seigneurie de Montreal', in Memoirs et Documents of the Montreal Historical Soc. Vol. II. 11 Public Archives of Ganada, Series Q. Vol. 11, p. 98. 14 History of Canada, B. Suite, p. 230. 15 McCord Correspondence, McGord Museum. 16 Chronology of Montreal, F. W. Terrill. 17 Borthwick's Gazeteer of Montreal.</page><page sequence="4">114 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller original member of the Committee of Trade, the forerunner of today's Montreal Board of Trade. NORTH-WEST WINTERS Samuel David, Lazarus's second son, was a merchant with far-flung interests.18 His nephew, Lazarus Hays, was apprenticed to him in 1798, 'to be taught the business of being a merchant'. He was the son of Samuel's sister, Abigail, who married Andrew Hays. A diary kept by Samuel David gives invaluable insight into the fur trade and contains many references to Myer Michaels, who was married to Samuel's sister, Frances. The entry dated 2 January 1801 men? tions that his brother-in-law had arrived the previous day from the Mississippi via New York. An April entry in the same year notes that Myer Michaels left for the 'western country'. Frequent mention is made of Samuel David and Myer Michaels accompanying Alexander Mackenzie, the McGillivrays, and other partners of the North West Company to the Grand Portage, which was situated near present-day Fort William, Ontario. Trips such as those noted in the Diaries enabled Myer Michaels to become a member of the original Beaver Club.19 It was a strictly observed rule that all who belonged to this famous club must have spent time in the 'interior' and many had been 'wintering partners' of the North West Company. Samuel David and his wife, Sarah, a daugh? ter of Aaron Hart, had seven children. Three of their sons became prominent citizens of Mon? treal and the names of Eleazer, Aaron Hart, and Moses Samuel appear often as active supporters of the Shearith Israel Congregation. Moses David, the third brother, married Charlotte Hart, also a daughter of Aaron's, and they settled first in Detroit and later in Sand? wich, Upper Canada. This family, too, kept alive its connection with the Portuguese Con? gregation in Montreal. The Canadian Jewish Congress Bulletin No. 2 records a donation re? ceived from Moses David in 1798, to be used towards the erection of a wall around the cemetery. Moses Ezekiel, only child of Moses and Charlotte David, laid the corner-stone for the Chenneville Street Synagogue in 1838. Joseph: Henry Joseph arrived in Canada in 1792 as a youth of 17.20 A nephew of Aaron Hart, he settled first in Fort William Henry and later in Berthier, Quebec. Connected with the fur trade, Henry Joseph is believed to have been one of the first to establish shipping on the Great Lakes. He had interests too in the trans? atlantic trade and leased the well-known ship Ewretta, which each spring arrived in Montreal with a cargo ranging from items used in trade with the Indians to the latest fashions. Each autumn she returned to England, laden with furs garnered the previous year, to be sold at the London auctions. In 1803 Henry Joseph married Rachel Solomon and their children played an active part in the congregation and in the Montreal community. BRINGING HONOUR It was because of their contributions to Canada down the years that the writer Gerard Maclerosse wrote in his Les Juifs dans Vhistoire Canadien, T wish at the same time to acknow? ledge that if the Harts, Davids . . . the Judahs, the Solomons and the Josephs did occupy im? portant positions, it was without doubt due to their own attributes. They brought honour to their kind'. Ill Chenneville Street In 1825 David David died and the land on which the synagogue stood reverted to his estate. Until a new building could be erected, it was decided to place the religious articles of the synagogue in the custody of M. J. Hays and Benjamin Hart. Meanwhile, services were con? ducted in a small building which stood in the garden at the rear of Benjamin Hart's house, on the corner of St. Helen and Recollets Streets.** The congregation had not had a Minister is Congress Bulletin, No. 5, Vol. I, p. 12. 19 Beaver Club Minute Book, McGord Museum. 20 The Jew in Canada, p. 25. 21 Told by Miss Dorothy Hart, great-grandniccc of Benjamin Hart.</page><page sequence="5">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 115 since the departure of the Rev. Jacob Cohen in 1784. Services were read by various lay mem? bers, with the assistance of Ministers from the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, New York, who journeyed to Montreal for special occasions.22 From 1825 to 1832, the congrega? tion lay dormant. Then, on 15 October, a meeting was convened at the Montreal Court House, the Hon. Austin Cuvillier in the chair, for the purpose of re-forming the Shearith Israel Congregation and for appointing their Trustees and Officers. This having been ac? complished, at a further meeting of the Trustees it was decided to invest the legacy left to the Portuguese Synagogue by the late David David in Government securities, and to accept a dona? tion from the executors of his estate towards the building of the new synagogue. SEEKING FUNDS Mr. Eleazer David was delegated to visit the Congregation of the Portuguese and Dutch Jews in London 'and such parts of Europe that he may travel' to seek subscriptions towards the new building. Unfortunately, he had little suc? cess; the single donation received was ?5 from Moses Montefiore. The furnishings of the synagogue were not gathered together nor the Sefarim examined for fitness for service until 1834, when a committee was formed to solicit subscriptions for the synagogue building from the citizens of Montreal. There was still no building in 1837 but the congregation was sufficiently well established to pass a resolution that 'The Jewish Congrega? tion shall hereafter adopt and follow the Por? tuguese Service of Prayers and Ceremonies and will only use the Form of Portuguese Service from now on.' During this interim period, the President, Isaac Valentine, agreed to act as Minister.23 He was married to Phoebe Hays, Andrew's daughter, and from 1820 to 1835 he had officiated in the synagogue maintained by the Harts for themselves and for the other Jewish families in Three Rivers. Revitalised, the Shearith Israel Congrega tion prepared once more to take its place in the community. In 1838 the officially re-formed congregation petitioned for permission to keep a Register of Vital Statistics; the furnishings were gathered together; a lot was purchased and plans for building a new synagogue and a house for the Hazan were approved; and it was agreed to engage a Minister. The following year, a committee composed of Dr. Aaron Hart David and Moses H. Hays drew up a new set of Rules and Regulations, which were approved and ordered to be printed. Extended negotia? tions were begun with A. Hart, Jr., of London, and with the Rev. David Meldola in order to engage a Hazan and a Shochet-Shammash, the latter offices to be combined in one person. The Hazan's salary was to be a mere ?100 a year, with ?20 paid for his passage. This salary offer was later raised to ?125 with an additional ?35 for his expenses, which included furniture and rent, as the Reader's house was still not ready. The Shochet-Shammash, whom the Trustees desired to be a married man, would receive ?30 a year, 10 cords of firewood in the winter, and the use of the synagogue basement as a residence, rent free. His passage money would be ?10, but his wife's passage, if he had one, would not be included. NO EXTRAS Applicants for these positions were to be warned that, as the congregation was extending itself to the utmost to pay these salaries, they could expect no extra emoluments. They would receive those fees as laid down in the Bye-laws for performing their required duties, as at marriages, the naming of children, and at funerals. It was also requested that the future Hazan be a person 'whom we can introduce into the same circle of society as that in which we . . . move.' The corner-stone of the new building was laid by Moses Ezekiel David, and the new syna? gogue was consecrated in September 1838, to which ceremony the Trustees decided 'no strangers would be invited'. The Rev. David Piza, the new Hazan, and Mr. Aaron, the Shochet-Shammash, arrived from London in 1839. In 1844 Mr. Piza was notified that he was 22 Berit certificates for Henry Joseph's sons are one example. 23 The Jew in Canada, p. 499.</page><page sequence="6">116 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller expected to deliver two sermons in English, appropriate for the approaching Festival of Passover. The first sermon to be given in Eng? lish instead of in the usual Portuguese had been delivered in 1831 by the father of Abraham de Sola, future Minister of Montreal's Shearith Israel Congregation. In 1830 the Elders of the Bevis Marks Synagogue requested that anyone capable of giving a sermon in English com? municate with the Secretary of the Congrega? tion, and Hazan David Aaron de Sola was the only one to do so. It was 13 years before this custom crossed the Atlantic and a similar re? quest was made to the Hazan in Montreal. NEW MINISTER SOUGHT Mr. Piza left Montreal in 1846 to accept a position in London and the congregation was faced with the problem of finding a replace? ment. Fortunately, Mr. Mendels, who had held the position of Shochet-Shammash since 1843, remained with the congregation and continued to hold these offices until 1861. The Trustees again entered into correspon? dence with New York and London in order to engage a new Minister. This time an extra qualification was included: the Hazan must possess the ability to give sermons in English, in addition to performing his regular duties. From a list of three candidates, they chose 21 year-old Abraham de Sola. He arrived in Montreal, via New York, after an ocean voyage of 43 days.24 As had his predecessor, Mr. de Sola boarded, since the house for the Reader was not finished until 1849. In October 1848, Rabbi Nissan arrived in Montreal to make an appeal for the Persian Jews and Abraham de Sola based his Kol Nidre sermon on their plight. So impressive was his plea that he was requested to give a public lec? ture on the subject, which was delivered to a packed house on 26 October.2* This success enhanced the Rev. Mr. de Sola's reputation as a speaker gained by an address on 'Hebrew and Oriental Literature', given the previous April at the Mechanics Institute.26 Thus in a very short time the Hazan had taken his place in the Montreal community as well as in the congre? gation. The Rev. Mr. de Sola's interest in education was a life-long involvement and re? ceived added scope when he became Lecturer, in 1853, and later Professor of Semitic and Oriental Literature at McGill College.27 In the same year, he was appointed Lecturer in Spanish Literature, and a short time later he wrote A History of the Congregation, which he pre? sented to the synagogue. Abraham de Sola (see Plate XXXIV, Fig. 2) married Esther, Henry Joseph's youngest daughter, in 1853, and their eldest son, Mel dola, was born a year later. The Hazan and his family were now living in the Reader's house provided by the congregation. It was situated adjacent to the synagogue at 1 Pres de Ville Place, a terrace on Lagauchetiere Street. The Hebrew School was on the top floor of this house, under Mr. de Sola's supervision. By 1854, it was well established. This was also the year in which a Jewish Calendar was compiled by the Rev. J. J. Lyons, Minister of the Shearith Israel, New York, and the Rev. Abra? ham de Sola.28 It was printed in Montreal and contained 'calendaristic material' for the next fifty years, as well as valuable historical inform? ation about the Jewish communities in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies. BUILDING A MIKVEH In 1858 a Mikveh was begun in the basement of the synagogue but unfortunately this could not be completed owing to a lack of funds. In the same year it was found that the cemetery, in use since 1772, was no longer able to serve the needs of the congregation. Therefore, the Trus? tees decided to buy land adjoining the Protes? tant Cemetery. Donations were requested to pay for this land and also to defray the cost of building a Mikveh; for their subscriptions, the donors would be entitled to a lot in the cemetery?and the free use of the Mikveh. 24 Abraham de Sola correspondence, 30 Dec. 1846. 2 s Given at Temperance Hall, Oct. 1848, reported in the Montreal Transcript, 28 Oct. 1848. 26 See Montreal Herald, 21 Apr. 1848. 27 McGill University Archives. 28 See An Old Faith in the New World, Dr. D. de S. Pool, p. 180.</page><page sequence="7">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 117 The new cemetery was finished in 1855, plots were allotted to subscribers, and a new set of Cemetery Bye-laws was passed. A committee called on M. J. Hays, executor of the David estate, to request him to turn over the notarial deed for the old cemetery to the congregation. This deed had remained in the hands of the David executors in 1838 when more land had been added to the old burying ground. It had been agreed that the 90 feet immediately adjoining the old cemetery would remain in the possession of the David heirs, to ensure that the remains interred there would not be disturbed. In 1856 Mr. Hays, on behalf of the David heirs, agreed to accept 80 square feet in the new cemetery in lieu of the old ground, and the old deed was turned over to the synagogue. HONORARY LL.D. In May 1858 the Trustees of the congrega? tion received a letter from the Rev. Abraham de Sola informing them he had received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the McGill College Faculty of Arts. Dr. de Sola mentioned that this was 'the first time a Jewish minister received this title on the continent of America or in the Mother Country'. It was a great honour to the 'most orthodox adherents of our time-honoured faith'. At the annual meeting on 6 September 1858, it was announced that the Mikveh build? ing was paid for. It was suggested that laws be passed to make it self-supporting but, mean? time, subscriptions were sought. In 1863 the City Clerk of Montreal sent a letter to the Corporation of Portuguese Jews requesting them to sell the congregation's old burying ground to the city, the land being needed for city improvement. The Corporation agreed to the sale for a sum which included the estimated expense of removing remains, memorials, and tombstones to the new ceme? tery, and in September 1865 the arrangements were completed and the city acquired the land. The German and Polish Congregation, today's Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue, raised some objections to the move, as the families of some of their congregants were buried in the Shearith Israel cemetery. However, after a consultation I between the two congregations, the matter was settled to mutual satisfaction. Dr. de Sola was President of the Natural His? tory Society in 1870. In his official capacity, he gave an address entitled 'Study of Natural Science' before an audience which included H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Gonnaught. Copies of the address were sent to Queen Victoria and Prince Arthur, and the Canadian Jewish Con? gress now possesses letters of acknowledgment and thanks received by Dr. de Sola. ANGLO-AMERICAN RELATIONS Because of the 'Alabama' incident during the American Civil War, relations between the United States and Great Britain had been strained for some time. The Alabama was a Con? federate 'raider' built in English shipyards. Since the Government of Great Britain was sympathetic to the Confederacy, it had turned a blind eye to this violation of the laws of neutrality. In 1872 the United States Govern? ment made a generous gesture towards im? proving Anglo-American relations and asked Dr. de Sola to deliver the opening prayer before the House of Representatives on 9 January 1872. To this day, Dr. de Sola is the only Canadian Minister to have been so honoured. The Evening Star, of Washington, D.C., gives the following front-page account: 'Prayer in Congress by a Hebrew Clergyman: The prayers of the House were opened this morning by a Hebrew clergyman: Professor Abraham de Sola, LLD of McGill College, Montreal. A marked effect was produced by the reverend gentleman's fervent appeal to the Throne of Grace which was free from sectarian allusion. The peculiarity of his wearing his hat during the delivery of the prayer, which is the pre? vailing custom among all orthodox Jews, was the subject of comment by those not familiar with it'. In a letter to Dr. de Sola, the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Thornhill, men? tioned his approval of the remarks contained in the prayer concerning relations between Great Britain and the United States, which had shown a great improvement. As noted in the 31 December 1871 minutes of a general meeting, the congregation decided to</page><page sequence="8">118 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller mark the occasion of Dr. de Sola's 25th anni? versary as Minister. This recognition was to have taken the form of an address composed by the Trustees, to be printed on vellum and hand? somely framed, accompanied by a testimonial. At a subsequent meeting, however, a difference of opinion arose about the form such recogni? tion should take and it was finally decided to present a gold cup. This kiddush cup is still used on the Holydays by Dr. de Sola's grand? daughter, Mrs. George Mosely (of London). At this same meeting, it was agreed that, as the Minister's house was in poor condition, it was desirable that he rent a more fitting residence? providing that the rent did not exceed $400 a year. REVISED PRAYER-BOOK Because of increasing ill-health, in 1876 Dr. de Sola spent a year's leave in England, and his son Meldola acted as Minister in his place. So well did he perform these duties that the Trus? tees presented him with a testimonial in ap? preciation in December 1877. Upon his return, Dr. de Sola resumed his duties and in addition revised and published a new edition of Seph ardic Prayer Books. This task was undertaken at the request of the Haham in London, Dr. Artom, and the revised edition was published in 1878. Dr. de Sola continued his teaching and other activities, but never regained his former health. While visiting his sister and her family in New York in June 1882, he died. The Parnass of the Spanish and Portuguese Syna? gogue was among those who accompanied the body back to Montreal. Dr. de Sola's nephew, Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, Minister of the New York Congregation, conducted the burial service. A general meeting of the Shearith Israel Congregation in July unanimously chose Mel? dola de Sola as Minister, and he became the first native-born Hazan to minister to a Canadian congregation (see Plate XXXV, Fig. 3). David Aaron de Sola married Rica, daughter of the Rev. Raphael Meldola, Haham of Bevis Marks, and Meldola de Sola was given the name of his grandmother's family. There had been scholars and rabbis in the Meldola family for generations; they were also a musical family and had composed much sacred music. The Rev. Raphael Meldola had composed a hymn for a special service held at Bevis Marks in 1824 and, in addition to this hymn, several parts of the service had been sung by a choir. This was a great innovation, as there was no permanent choir at Bevis Marks till 1839. The de Solas, too, were musical and in 1897 a hymn com? posed by David Aaron de Sola was sung during the Dedication Service held in the new Seven? tieth Street building of the Shearith Israel Congregation, New York.29 A familiar melody for Adon 'Olam, sung during the Sabbath Ser? vices, is also a D. A. de Sola composition. It is not surprising, then, that the Rev. Meldola de Sola manifested a life-long interest in the choir and in perpetuating the beautiful music of the Sephardic Service. His brother, Gershom, pos? sessed a bass voice, which enriched the choir for many years. Another brother, Clarence, was much interested in the choir and in the con? tinued use of the traditional music. OPPOSING MISSIONARIES The Rev. Raphael Meldola had been instru? mental in preventing the attendance of Jewish children at missionary schools in London. The Rev. Meldola de Sola was also very outspoken against missionary activities. He preached many sermons and wrote numerous letters on this subject.3o Because of these efforts, Meldola de Sola received a letter of commendation from the Maskil El Dal Society, a group organised to combat missionary effort in Palestine.31 In 1889 the Rev. Meldola de Sola married Miss Katherine Samuel, daughter of the Rev. I. Samuel, Reader of the Bayswater Synagogue, London. A son, Abraham Charles, was born in 1890 and several years later a daughter, Louisa. The association between the New York and Montreal Congregations Shearith Israel had 29 Ibid., p. 69. 3 0 One example, a letter written to the Montreal Star, 19 June, 1890. 3i The Jew in Canada, p. 79.</page><page sequence="9">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 119 always been close. In 1886 the Rev. Meldola de Sola was invited by Dr. H. P. Mendes, Minister of the New York congregation, to participate in a memorial service held thirty days after the death of Sir Moses Montefiore.32 Again, on 8 March 1889 he delivered a sermon in that Congregation's Nineteenth Street building.33 In 1897, Meldola de Sola offered a prayer from the pulpit on the occasion of the Dedication Service for the Spanish and Portuguese Syna? gogue's new building on Seventieth Street. Like his father, he was a frequent public speaker. To cite but one instance, his name appears on the 1890 list of speakers for the Sommerville Lec? tures.34 This was a series sponsored by the Natural History Society; his subject was 'The Jewish Dietary Laws'. An ardent upholder of Orthodox Judaism, Meldola de Sola wrote and spoke untiringly for this cause. In 1886, at the request of Dr. Mendes, he visited New York.35 There, with several others, the organisation of a theological seminary was discussed and on 31 January 1887 the Jewish Theological Seminary of America was formed. Later, de Sola wrote many articles in both the local papers and the New York Jewish press, urging the Seminary not to com? promise their principles in the name of 'con? servatism'.36 In like manner, when the issue arose of holding 'supplementary services' on Sunday, he wrote articles strongly opposing the idea. In addition, he took part in a sym? posium of opinions printed in the Jewish press of New York, in which he upheld the 'nay' side of the debate.37 IV The Old Order Changeth Hart: Benjamin Hart was the fifth son of Aaron and Dorothea Judah Hart. Born at Three Rivers in August 1779, he was educated in New York and Philadelphia, as was his younger brother, Alexander. Their education was a constant concern of their father's, as shown in letters to his older son, Ezekiel, then living in New York.38 As an adult, Benjamin Hart moved to Montreal3 9 and in 1829 he served on the Montreal Commission of Trade. Three years later, because of the wording of the Act of 1832, he and Moses J. Hays had to re? fuse the position of Magistrate.40 This Act gave the Jews of Canada all the civil rights of other citizens but the oath taken during the swearing in ceremony contained the words 'on the true faith of a Christian'. Although this Act is re? garded as the Magna Charta of Jewish rights in Canada, no position could be legally held if these words were omitted?yet no Jew could include them. The matter had to be referred to the Secretary for the Colonies in England and the difficulty was only resolved on 5 August 1837, when Benjamin Hart and Moses J. Hays could receive their commissions at last, as magistrates for the District of Montreal. These were personally signed by Queen Victoria, a most unusual circumstance.41 Benjamin Hart's commission was lost in the Parliament Build? ings fire in 1916; of Mr. Hays's commission there is no trace. RIVER BOATS Benjamin Hart was a merchant and ship? owner; he owned at least three river boats which plied the St. Lawrence River, the barque Benjamin Hart being one of them.42 As was the custom of the time, shares in a vessel were held by others as well as the owner and in the Benjamin Hart his cousins, Jacob Henry and Abraham Joseph, were shareholders. Included in Hart's other interests was the Grand Trunk Railroad, founded in 1851.43 In 1849 there was a change in British tariffs and many prominent Canadian merchants, including Benjamin Hart, signed a 'Manifesto' which advocated joining the United States. As a result, those whose signatures appeared on this document 32 See An Old Faith in the New World, p. 135. 33 'The Necessity of Revelation'. 34 Thursday, 27 March 1890. 35 See An Old Faith in the New World, p. 386. Jewish World, 6 Feb. 1891. v Jewish Messenger, 19 Jan. 1891, and Jewish Tidings, 9 May 1890. 3?7 Nov. 1793, McCord Museum, and 4 June 1794, Seminaire St. Sulpice, Three Rivers. 39 The Jew in Canada, p. 39. 40 William IV, Chap. 57, Act 1, 5 June 1832. 41 Gerald Hart's Notes, McCord Museum. 42 Entry in Abraham Joseph's Diary, 6 Oct. 1839. 43 Storied Province of Old Quebec, p. 304.</page><page sequence="10">120 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller were stripped of all offices by the Canadian Government. Benjamin Hart lost his magis? trate's commission and his rank in the militia. After this occurrence, he moved to New York and, though the Canadian Government subse? quently offered to restore his former offices, he respectfully declined the proffered reinstate? ment.44 He died one week later, on 17 February 1855. Hays: Moses Judah Hays was the son of Andrew Hays and Abigail (Branny) David and was born in Montreal in 1789. From the time the synagogue was reconstituted in 1832, M. J. Hays was actively engaged in congregational affairs. He served as Treasurer and Trustee until 1839 and was a member of the committee authorised to purchase land on Chenneville Street for the new synagogue building. It was his responsibility to oversee the plans and con? struction. When the house for the Hazan was being erected, he was requested to perform the same duties. In 1838, when the synagogue was completed, the Trustees passed a resolution which stated that 'M. J. Hays is entitled to the prayers and thanks of the Congregation for the elegant way he has caused the synagogue building to be made'. Before the Chenneville Street structure was completed, many Trustee meetings of the congregation were held in the office of the Montreal Water Works, a company owned by Hays. According to Canadian historian William Atherton, the Municipal Council also met in these rooms, which were situated under the reservoir?and at one of these meetings the reservoir overflowed. When offered the position of magistrate by Lord Aylmer, Moses J. Hays, as noted above, refused the honour. He did so on the legal advice of Aaron Phillip Hart, be? cause of the legal obstacle presented by the Christological oath until 1837. Moses J. Hays and Benjamin Hart were the first Jewish magistrates in Canada. Mr. Hays was also one of the founders of the Hebrew Philanthropic Society and became its first President in 1848.45 This Society later became the Young Men's Hebrew Benevolent Society.46 HOTEL AND THEATRE In 1848 he built a four-storey hotel, Hays House, with a theatre behind it. This structure stretched from Champs de Mars Street to Notre Dame and stood on the north-east corner of Dalhousie Square.47 In 1849 the Parliament Buildings were situated in Montreal; during the riots of that year, they were burned down by the mob and M. J. Hays lent Parliament the use of Hays House till the end of the session. In 1852 there occurred another of the disastrous fires which periodically plagued Montreal and the hotel burned down. Moses J. Hays became Chief of Police in 1845. The typhus epidemic of 1847 occurred during his term of office and he has left a graphic description of the measures used to pro? tect both the immigrant sufferers and the population of Montreal.48 Mr. Hays later rose to the rank of Superintendent and then to Commissioner of Police, which office he held at the time of his death in 1861.4 9 David: A. H. David,50 born in Montreal in 1812, was the second son of Samuel David. He received his medical degree in Edinburgh at the age of 23 and also obtained a diploma from the University Lying-in Hospital and a certifi? cate from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. After completing his medical educa? tion, Dr. David returned to Montreal, where he took up his practice. In 1836 he married Catherine Joseph, eldest daughter of Henry Joseph, in a ceremony performed by Isaac Valentine. DR. DAVID'S CAREER Dr. David soon became an active supporter of the Shearith Israel Synagogue. As a Trustee and Secretary of the congregation, in 1837 he sat on a committee empowered to draw up the Rules and Regulations for the reconstituted Corporation of Portuguese Jews. As Secretary, 44 Obituary, New York Times, 1 Mar. 1855. 4s Occident, Vol. VI, Nov. 1848. 46 The Jew in Canada, p. 193. 47 Les Cahiers des Dix, 1939, No. 4, pp. 185-186, and James Duncan watercolour, McGord. 4 8 M. J. Hays as quoted in Edgar Gollard column, Montreal Gazette, 1 June 1968. 49 Les Cahiers des Dix, 1939, No. 4, pp. 185-186. 50 Funk and Wagnall's Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 458.</page><page sequence="11">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 121 he entered into correspondence with London, the result being the engagement of Abraham de Sola as Minister of the congregation. During the years 1858-1860 he wrote Sir Moses Monte fiore several times to inform him that the Shearith Israel Congregation was sending donations to the fund Sir Moses was raising to help 'our distressed brethren of Morocco'. A doctor of outstanding ability, Dr. David was appointed attending physician to the Montreal General Hospital in 1849.51 In 1851 he became one of the first doctors in attendance at St. Patrick's, formerly on Guy Street, a branch of the Hotel Dieu Hospital. The author of many medical and scientific articles,52 he was an officer in many medical societies.53 He was a man of varied interests and held office in the Natural History Society; was a corresponding member of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec; and was one of the founders of the Hebrew Philanthropic Society, under whose auspices he provided free medical care and medicine to the needy for many years.54 But Dr. David's main accomplishments in the medical field are associated with Bishop's College. One of the founders of the Medical Faculty, he was appointed Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine.55 Though the College was situated in Lennoxville, Quebec, the first medical lectures were given in Mont? real in rooms rented at McGill and St. James Streets; it was here that Dr. David gave his opening lecture in October 1871. In 1872, at the first Convocation, each Faculty member was awarded the degree of D.C.L. honoris causa. Later, Dr. David succeeded Sir William Hing ston as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and taught until 1880, when, as Professor Emeritus, he delivered his last lecture. On 1 March 1882, the Faculty of Bishop's College founded the David Scholarship, later changed to a silver medal, 'to perpetuate his valuable services to the University'.56 In November 1882, he died, widely mourned. Joseph: Jacob Henry was the fifth son of Henry Joseph and was born in Berthier, Quebec, on 14 September 1814.57 When his father and an elder brother died in the cholera epidemic of 1832, his mother 'petitioned for the appointment of a Tutor or Trustee for her minor children, as only two of her nine chil? dren were over twenty-one'.58 Also attached to this document is a letter stating that as 'Henry Joseph had been appointed Tutor to the five minor children of Benjamin Solomon, brother of the Petitioner, who died in 1831, a Tutor is needed for them as well'. RAILROADS AND TELEGRAPH But Jacob Henry Joseph dispensed with the services of the Trustee as quickly as possible. He early acquired a financial interest in railroads and 'actively promoted the construction' of the Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad, the first line built in Canada, which opened in 1836 ;59 the branch line which extended to Rouses Point, New York; and the extension from Joliette to Rawdon of the Lanoraie and Joliette Railroad. This was the first railroad built north of the St. Lawrence River. Another invention which attracted his interest was the telegraph. He was one of'the original group of thirty who organised the first telegraph com? pany' in Canada and 'one of the builders of the first line to the United States via Plattsburgh, New York'.60 He was also a partner in the Newfoundland Telegraph Company, which company formed the last link in the first transatlantic cable. One of the original shareholders in both the Bank of British North America and the Union Bank, at one time Jacob Henry Joseph was Vice-President of the Montreal Board of Trade. 'It was to him that the initiation of the office of port warden and harbour inspector was due'.61 51 Article by Dr. H. Ballon in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, 20 Jan. 1962. 52 Reminiscences Connected with the Medical Profession in Montreal during the Past 50 years (Bibliography, Wm. Atherton's Canada 7595-7374). 53 Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, non? resident member, American Medical Association. 54 See The Jew in Canada, p. 45. 55 Bishop's College Papers, McCord Museum. 56 Obituary notices in scrap-book of his daughter, Harline David Rubin. 57 Family Bible, Henry Joseph. 58 Document, McGord Museum. 59 Obituary notice, Montreal Herald, Feb. 1907. 60 Ibid. 61 Ibid.</page><page sequence="12">122 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller His brother, Abraham Joseph, was a business associate until 1853. Despite his commitments in the business community, Mr. Joseph was an active member of the synagogue. In 1839 Moses J. Hays resigned as Treasurer and Jacob Henry Joseph was elected in his stead. Seven years later, he received the thanks of the congre? gation for his years of service in this office. Mr. Joseph also came to the financial aid of the synagogue on many occasions. He was on the Board of the Montreal General Hospital and a member of the Mechanics Library and of the Art Association, which later became the Mont? real Museum of Fine Arts. DORCHESTER HOUSE In 1848 he married Miss Sara Gratz Moses, of Philadelphia. For many years their home was Dorchester House, situated on approximately the present site of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.62 Jesse, the seventh son of Henry Joseph, was born on 17 July 1817. He, too, made his mark in the business community and served the synagogue well.63 Several times between 1847 and 1860 he held the position of Trustee, and from 1860 to 1900 there were few years in which he did not hold office or give financial aid to the congregation. As Jacob Henry had done, Jesse took advantage of the burgeoning commerce of the city. Beginning as a clerk in a wholesale business, he became interested in the importation of Belgian goods and developed close commercial ties with that country.64 Jesse Joseph is credited writh establishing the first shipping links between Canada and Belgium and in 1850 the Belgian Government appointed him its diplomatic representative. He was the first Belgian Consul in Canada, holding this post until his death in 1904. In 1890 he was created a Chevalier of the Belgian Order of Leopold. His interests included many of the business enterprises in Montreal. A founder and direc? tor of a number of banks and telegraph com parries, Jesse Joseph owned much real estate, including the well-known Theatre Royal, built and operated under his direction. He was Presi? dent of the Montreal Gas Company; President of the Montreal Street Railway Company, a forerunner of the present Montreal Transporta? tion Commission, and held directorships in many other companies. He never married, but from his home, Dilcoosha, he played the role of benevolent uncle to thirty nieces and nephews and their families. FAMILY TRADITION Abraham Joseph, sixth son of Henry, settled in Quebec City.65 His branch of the family does not enter the Montreal picture until the mar? riage of his daughter, Celine, to her cousin Horace Joseph, son of Jacob Henry. Their son in-law, Captain William Sebag-Montefiore (1885-1966), was President of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue for many years. A granddaughter of Abraham Joseph's became Mrs. Martin Wolff (1885-1940). She and her husband (who for many years acted as the Montreal correspondent of the London Jewish Chronicle) were well known as devoted workers for the synagogue and for many organisations in Montreal. In the present generation their daughters carry on this family tradition.66 Gershom Joseph, born 29 December 1820, was Henry Joseph's youngest son.67 He was educated at Upper Canada College and Os goode Hall, Toronto, where he obtained a degree in law. During the Gold Rush of 1849 he went west to California. There he married Miss Celine Lyons, of San Francisco, whose family had emigrated from France. In 1863 Mr. and Mrs. Joseph returned to Montreal, at which time he resumed his law practice. He was appointed Q.C. by Lord Stanley and is believed to be the first Jewish lawyer to receive this honour in Canada. As did his brothers, Gershom Joseph, too, served the congregation. Before his departure 62 Information received from Miss Kathleen Moore, granddaughter of J. H. Joseph. 63 Family Bible, Henry Joseph. 64 Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue 150th Anniversary Book, pp. 43-44, and obituary in the Montreal Gazette, 25 Feb. 1904. 65 Family Bible, Henry Joseph. 66 Mrs. E. H. Blaustein and Mrs. J. Esar, co? authors of this essay, are two of Mr. and Mrs. Wolff's daughters. 67 Family Bible, Henry Joseph.</page><page sequence="13">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 123 for the West, he had held the office of Secretary, and from the time of his return he gave legal help to the congregation. In 1890, when an amendment to the synagogue charter was thought advisable, he was one of the committee responsible for placing the changes before the Provincial Legislature of Quebec. On 15 Sep? tember 1887, as President of the congregation, Gershom Joseph laid the corner-stone for the synagogue's new home on Stanley Street. The silver trowel used at this ceremony may be seen in the show-case, with other mementoes of Shearith Israel's past, in the main Hall of the building. V Stanley Street Because of the shift of the population, it had been felt for some time that the synagogue should move to a more accessible location. At a special general meeting of the congregation in April 1887, a report recommending the pur? chase of a lot on Stanley Street, above St. Catherine, was unanimously adopted, and the property, formerly owned by the Protestant Orphan Asylum, became the new site of the Shearith Israel Synagogue. The cornerstone was laid by Gershom Joseph, President of the Congregation, on 22 September 1887. On 31 August 1890 the Dedication Services were held in the new building (see Plates XXXIII, Fig. 1, and XXXVI, Fig. 5). A guest, the Rev. E. Friedlander, of Montreal, read the Ten Com? mandments ; another visitor, Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, of New York, offered the Prayer for the Congregation; and the Rev. Meldola de Sola delivered a sermon 'admonishing the congrega? tion to uphold Orthodox Judaism and to re? main faithful to its teachings.68 Dr. Mendes also delivered 'a very forceful sermon after the Afternoon Service had been chanted, taken from the text Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, All the earth is full of His Glory'.6* The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York gave a donation of $500 for the new Stanley Street building, on the understanding that the Shearith Israel Congregation of Mont real would continue to follow the orthodox Sephardic Ritual. At a special general meeting of the congrega? tion in January 1890, it was agreed that the synagogue's Act of Incorporation should be amended. One of the changes was to alter the name of the congregation from 'The Corpora? tion of Portuguese Jews' to the 'Spanish and Portuguese Corporation Shearith Israel Mont? real'. Lewis Hart and Gershom Joseph were responsible for having the amendments placed before the Provincial Legislature, where they were enacted on 20 April 1891. The Convention of Orthodox Congregations was held in New York in 1898 and the Rev. Meldola de Sola was appointed First Vice President and one of a committee of three which was charged with drawing up the organisation's 'Declaration of Principles'.70 SUPPORT FOR ZIONISM Meldola de Sola was a strong supporter of Zionism from its inception. At the B'nai Jacob Synagogue on 30 January 1898, a mass meeting was held which marked the beginning of the Canadian Zionist Society; de Sola was one of the speakers and he held office many times in this organisation. In the 1880s and 1890s large numbers of Jews from middle and Eastern Europe arrived in Canada and the Montreal Jewish community found itself no longer able to finance schools of its own. The Jewish children attended Protes? tant schools and came under the jurisdiction of the Protestant School Board. Meldola de Sola was very much involved in the school question and played an active part on the committees set up when required to regulate or improve the position of the Jewish pupils.71 Always deeply concerned with the cause of Hebrew education, as a young man he taught Hebrew at Dufferin School, a grade school administered by the Protestant School Commission.72 In addition, he frequently taught in the synagogue's Sunday School, of which he was the Supervisor. In 1914, the Great War broke out and many 6 8 Montreal Herald, 1 Sept. 1890. 69 The Jewish Messenger, 12 Sept. 1890. 7 0 The Jew in Canada, pp. 87, 291. 71 Ibid. 72 B. G. Sack, op. ext., pp. 233, 201.</page><page sequence="14">124 Esther L Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller members of the congregation volunteered for the Armed Forces. The minutes record that during the High Holydays special seats were set aside for all men in the Services. The congregation's war effort also included a dona? tion for the relief of Polish Jews who had suffered from the effects of war. So many mem? bers of the synagogue had joined the Forces that it was decided to commemorate the Shearith Israel's 150th anniversary with a Roll of Honour. This list would contain the names, inscribed on a bronze plaque in the vestibule, of all members who had served in the 1914-1918 war. MELDOLA DE SOLA'S DEATH In May 1917 Meldola de Sola began to suffer serious ill-health. He officiated for the last time at the High Holydays that year, and died in New York on 29 April 1918. His body, like that coincidentally of his father's before him, was brought home to Montreal and the funeral arrangements were similar to those for his father. The appreciation of the de Sola family for tributes, special prayers, etc., in New York was expressed by the gift of a silver pointer to the Shearith Israel Congregation of New York, 'in grateful recognition of their unfailing courtesy to him'. 'An international leader of Orthodox Jewry, an able writer and speaker and an influence in Canadian Jewish affairs for many years'?this is but one of the many tributes paid to his memory.73 Meldola de Sola was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Raphael Melamed, of Philadelphia. Education was of great concern to Dr. Melamed and under his guidance the Sunday School flourished. The Sisterhood of the Shearith Israel was also started under his aegis, the natural outgrowth of the Ladies' Sewing Circle first started by Mrs. Meldola de Sola. Unfortunately, neither Dr. Melamed nor his successor, Mr. M. Hadad, remained with the congregation. In 1922 the Rev. Joseph Corcos was engaged as Minister and continued to serve until his untimely death in 1925. The death of Clarence I. de Sola in 1920 marked the end of an era on the history of the congregation, which, as well as the larger com? munity, deeply mourned the disappearance of the last male representative of his generation of the de Sola family. Attendance in the school, the Sisterhood, and the Men's Club had dropped noticeably by 1922 and the newly elected officers, Captain William Sebag-Montefiore, P. B. Hart, and A. L. Kaplansky, made a concerted effort to strengthen the congregation. In 1923, to stimulate interest in synagogue affairs, it was decided that 'suitably bound Prayer Books be given to each Bar Mitzvah by the President or Parnass, after the Minister's address'. At the same time, efforts were renewed to train a volunteer choir and so continue the melodious tradition of the service. MOVE WEST SUGGESTED At a general meeting the same year, it was first suggested that a move should be made to the western end of the city; since the Stanley Street location was no longer central for the Jewish population, it was difficult to increase the membership. But for the time being, the present building had to serve. Because of his love for the congregation and interest in its welfare, the Rev. Meldola de Sola had given years of service without recom? pense. At the time of his death, a large sum was owed him by the congregation. After much correspondence, in 1924 his heirs agreed to withhold all claims, providing that the synagogue adhered to the original charter and the established Spanish and Portuguese minhag. Should this ever be changed, the entire matter could be reopened and recompense would be claimed. The period 1920-1928 was a time of un? certainty for the synagogue. After the death of Mr. Corcos, the assistant Minister, the Rev. I. de la Penha,74 who had served the congregation 73 See minutes and a letter of condolence to the congregation, Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal. 74 The Rev. Mr. de la Penha was a direct descendant of Joseph de la Penha, of Rotterdam , to whom and to whose descendants William III made a grant of Labrador. See R. D. Barnett, 'The Correspondence of the Mahamad', Transactions XX (J.H.S.E.), p. 3. and note 6. (We are indebted to Dr. Richard Barnett for this note.)</page><page sequence="15">PLATE XXXIII FACADE OF STANLEY STREET SYNAGOGUE Fig. 1. Exterior of the Stanley Street Synagogue (1890-1946) of the Montreal Spanish and Portuguese congregation</page><page sequence="16">PLATE XXXIV Fig. 2. The Rev. Abraham de Sola (1825-1882), Montreal. From a painting by William Raphael, 1870</page><page sequence="17">PLATE XXXV Fig. 3. The Rev. Meldola de Sola (1853-1918), Montreal</page><page sequence="18">PLATE XXXVI Fig. 4. The present Lemieux Street building of the Montreal Spanish and Portuguese Syna? gogue, opened in 1960 ^Il jlli ^^^^ Fig. 5. Interior view of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Stanley Street, Montreal (1890-1946). The Ark and marble steps leading to it were transferred from former synagogue buildings.</page><page sequence="19">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 125 since 1908, conducted services, ably assisted by Isaac Kirschberg, and also supervised the Sunday School. Mr. de la Penha was much loved by the congregation but the results of the constant change of Ministers and lack of a sustained policy were apparent in both the synagogue and Sunday School. At this time, too, the financial position of the synagogue was pre? carious and it was necessary to discontinue the daily morning minyan services; later, the after? noon and evening services were also abolished. Emancipation for women came in 1926, when a change in the Bye-laws permitted the first ladies to be elected to the synagogue Board. They were Mrs. Martin Wolff and Miss Reba Goltman. Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, Minister of the Shearith Israel Synagogue in New York, came to Montreal on several special occaions to help the congregation. In 1927 he officiated at High Holyday Services. NEW MINISTER'S INFLUENCE In November 1928, the Rev. Charles Bender75 was appointed Minister for a three year term. Mr. de la Penha continued as assistant; a reception and presentation in honour of his 20 years' devoted service was held later the same year. Almost immediately Mr. Bender's presence was noted, in both the synagogue and the school; attendance and interest rose because of his encouragement and assistance. In order to explain the ceremonials and make the Passover story live, miniature Sedarim were held; for the women classes in Hebrew were started, to help them understand and follow the service. The same year, 1930, the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue asked Mr. Bender to conduct a series of lectures in their auditorium. Owing to the difficult times, Mr. Bender's efforts to revitalise the congregation could not achieve the full goal. This was the period of the great Depression, when synagogue finances were strained to the breaking-point; yet no one was ever turned away because of his inability to pay his dues. In April 1953 I. de la Penha died and Isaac Kirschberg stepped into the breach and ably assisted in chanting the services. Mr. Bender took on the duties of Hazan, shammash, teacher, and fund-raiser for the synagogue, as well as starting a news bulletin for distribution to the congregation. For a time he received only part of his salary, and on one occasion he presented a donation to the synagogue, whose welfare was his greatest concern. After twelve years of devoted service Mr. Bender reluctantly left the congregation to become Rabbi of the new synagogue, Adath Israel, Montreal; but for several years he continued to perform many ministerial func? tions for the Spanish and Portuguese Syna? gogue. War prevented the congregation from bringing a Minister from England, but between the years 1940 and 1945 several refugees ably assisted the congregation. LONG-RANGE VISION Throughout this twenty-year period of strain and distress, three men devoted many hours to the welfare of the congregation; Captain William Sebag-Montefiore, the Presi? dent; Mr. Philip Hart, the Secretary; and Mr. Martin Wolff, the Treasurer. The President's love for the ceremony and ritual of the Sephardic minhag was known to all and his keen sense of duty and lack of pettiness were integral parts of his character. These qualities of responsibility and long-range vision were of great value in guiding the congregation through this difficult time. No history of Stanley Street would be com? plete without mention of the McAdams family, who were the caretakers from 1906 until the building closed. They felt themselves to be part of the synagogue family and each year they were thanked in the synagogue reports for their devoted interest. For two decades far-sighted men of the congregation were sensitive to the need of resiting the synagogue but realisation of this ambition was never possible. The Depression, 75 The Rev. Charles Bender, born in London, came from England via the U.S.A. His career is briefly outlined in details of the Bender family in 'Nineteenth Century Jewish Colonists in Cyprus', by J. M. Shaftesley, Transactions XXII (J.H.S.E.), especially p. 106 and notes 80, 82, 91.</page><page sequence="20">126 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller followed by the Second World War, prevented any action; but it was the Board's firm decision to carry out this plan as soon as conditions permitted. On 31 March 1946, the Stanley Street property was sold. A Building Com? mittee was formed, Samuel Rosenberg, later President of the congregation, chaired a Campaign Committee to raise funds, and excavations started at the Lemieux Street property in the summer of 1946. VI Unto the Third Generation This is a convenient point at which to mention some further congregational figures. Hart : David Alexander Hart was the son of Alexander Thomas Hart and a great-grandson of Aaron Hart. His mother, Miriam Judah Hart, was the daughter of Bernard Samuel Judah, a miniature of whom is in the Main Hall showcase in the synagogue. Born at Three Rivers, Quebec, in 1844, David Hart attended primary school there but continued his educa? tion in Montreal. He then studied for his medi? cal degree at Bishop's College and there is a list of medical graduates for 1874 which includes the name of David A. Hart, Israelite, of St. Zephyrim, Quebec.76 He practised in Upper Bedford, where he settled with his bride, Miss Sarah Matilda David, daughter of Dr. A. H. David. They were married in 1876 and their six sons were born in Bedford. At some time during the 1890s, the Hart family moved to St. Lambert and from there to Montreal. Dr. Hart was active in many philanthropic societies and was the first doctor to be connected with the Baron de Hirsch Institute and with the first Jewish dispensary, which was attached to it and which he started.77 He was also a founding member and first President of the Canadian Zionist Society. The six sons of the Hart family were active in the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue and held offices on the Board. Vivian Hart held the office of Secretary for several years but then moved to New York. Reginald J. Hart served the congregation before he was an official member of the synagogue, and worked on countless committees. These committees were concerned not only with the day-to-day run? ning of the synagogue but encompassed many of its social activities. His service continued throughout his lifetime, and at an advanced age he was actively collecting funds for the Lemieux Street building. The youngest son, Cecil, was well known in sports circles. He was the Manager and coach of the Montreal 'Canadiens' Hockey Team from 1925 to 1932 and again from 1936 to 1938. The Hart Trophy was presented to the team by Dr. Hart in 1923, to be given to the most valu? able player of the year. In 1960 this Cup was retired and placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, and replaced by the Hart Memorial Cup, donated by the National Hockey League and members of the Hart family. YOUNGEST UNDERGRADUATE Lewis Alexander Hart was the youngest son of Alexander Thomas and Miriam Judah Hart. He was born at Three Rivers in 1847 and was three years old when his father was killed in an accident. The family remained in Three Rivers, where Lewis received his primary schooling; he then attended the Montreal Collegiate Institute and McGill College, entering the latter at the age of 15, the youngest under? graduate at that period. Graduating with a B.A. degree in 1866, he received the further degrees of M.A. and B.C.L. in 1869. As a prominent notary, Lewis Hart was appointed Lecturer in the Theory and Practice of Notarial Deeds and Proceedings at McGill, the first notary to become a member of the Law Faculty. 7 s He was keenly interested in Jewish affairs. He served on many committees for the congregation and was Treasurer and Trustee for many years. With Mr. Gershom Joseph, in 1890 he was responsible for framing the new Act of Incorporation for the synagogue and for presenting it to the Legislature in Quebec. An ardent defender of Judaism, Lewis Hart was the author of a book, A Jewish Reply to Christian Evangelists. At one time President of the Baron 76 Bishop's College Papers, McCord Museum. 77 The Jew in Canada, p. 411. 78 Ibid., p. 376.</page><page sequence="21">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 127 de Hirsch Institute, he was also a charter member of the Young Men's Hebrew Bene? volent Society and later served the organisation as President. He married Miss Fanny Benjamin in 1878 and their family numbered four sons and four daughters. The eldest son, Alan Judah, was a life-long member of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. He married Miss Eva Vineberg, the daughter of Harris Vineberg, long an active member and Trustee. The second son, Claude, was also active in the congregation until he moved from Montreal. Arthur Daniel, the third son, was the editor of a classic history, The Jew in Canada. His wife, nee Rubenstein, of Sault Ste. Marie, is Mrs. Mollie Hart. After her husband's death she re? sumed her nursing career and was a well-known and well-loved figure at the Jewish General Hospital until her retirement in 1969. Lewis and Fanny Hart's youngest son, Philip Byfus, was a devoted supporter of the congrega? tion and held the position of Treasurer for more than twenty-five years. He also headed the Cemetery Committee for almost the same length of time. The four daughters of the Hart family were equally devoted to the synagogue. Mabel married Albert Freedman and lived abroad, but the names of Mrs. M. A. Michaels and the Misses Gladys and Dorothy Hart will be long remembered as dedicated workers for the Sisterhood and the synagogue. DE SOLA FAMILY De Sola: Clarence I. de Sola, third son of the Rev. Abraham and Esther de Sola, was born in Montreal in 1858 and educated at the local public schools and at McGill College. A member of the Board of Trustees, at one time President of the Congregation, Clarence de Sola served the synagogue as Parnass for many years. As Secretary of the Building Committee, he provided the design for the much-admired Judeo-Egyptian style of the Stanley Street Synagogue.79 His life-long interest in the history of the Jews in Canada led him to write many articles, which included contributions to J. D. Borthwick's The Gazetteer of Montreal and to the Jewish Encyclopedia. Of greatest interest to the congregation was the history he com? piled to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the synagogue. Clarence de Sola's interests were not con? fined to the history of Canadian Jewry. He was one of the incorporators of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and an officer in many charitable organisations.80 In 1898 he was one of the first officers of the newly founded Canadian Zionist Society and was President of this organisation from 1903 until his death in 1920. A noted businessman, he had interests in several shipbuilding firms and was an officer in various steamship companies.81 For many years he was the manager and director of the Comp toir Belgo-Canadien, an international manu? facturer of structural steel and builder of bridges and canal locks. SERVICES TO BELGIUM In 1901 de Sola married Miss Belle Gold? smith, of Cleveland, Ohio, who shared whole? heartedly in her husband's interests. She was an active Zionist; a member and officer in many organisations, both Jewish and non-sectarian; and was a charter member of the Shearith Israel Sisterhood. In 1904 Clarence de Sola became Belgian Consul, as his uncle, Jesse Joseph, had been before him. During the Great War he was responsible for organising the mobilisation of Belgian reservists settled in Canada. For this and other services to Belgium, he received the title of Chevalier and was decorated by King Albert. The membership of the Order of Queen Elisabeth was awarded to his wife. Engaged in his routine activities, Mr. de Sola travelled to Boston, where he suddenly collapsed and died on 10 May 1920. His body was brought back to Montreal and he was buried from his former residence on Pine Avenue. Mrs. de Sola later moved to England with her family. A son, Gabriel, died in 1931 but Raphael de Sola and his two sisters live in 79 150th Anniversary Booklet, Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, p. 51. so The Jew in Canada, pp. 196, 292. 81 See obituary notice, Montreal Star, 12 May 1920.</page><page sequence="22">128 Esther I. Blaustein, Rachel A. Esar, and Evelyn Miller London. Mme Belle de Sola died in 1965, shortly after celebrating her ninetieth birthday. Kirschberg: Abraham Kirschberg served the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation for twenty years as Assistant Minister, in addition to performing many charitable services for the larger Jewish community. When he died in 1902, the Rev. Meldola de Sola, in the funeral address, described his life in the following words, 'faithfully he served the Congregation and earnestly he strove to preserve the spirit as well as the outward form of our religious institu? tions'.82 A son, Isaac Kirschberg, was leader of the choir at Stanley Street, and for over fifty years his melodious voice enhanced the service. He died in 1951. FIRST JEWISH PRINTER Kaplansky: A. L. Kaplansky, long an active member of the synagogue, came to Montreal in 1893.83 After establishing the first Jewish printing business in Canada, he left the firm in 1897 to study law. In 1910 he was appointed Superintendent of the Legal Aid Department of the Baron de Hirsch Institute. Active in many charitable organisations, he also devoted him? self to the welfare of the Spanish and Portu? guese Synagogue. He was a member of the synagogue's School Committee for many years; served as Synagogue Treasurer from 1917 to 1924; and was Parnass from 1924 until his death in 1939. Lightstone: Michael Lightstone was an active member of the Shearith Israel Synagogue for over fifty years. His fiftieth anniversary as a member coincided with his eightieth birthday and the congregation presented him with a silver ashtray at a party given in his honour.84 Four of his sons served overseas during the First World War, and one of his daughters, Mme. Pauline Donalda, is a world-renowned singer. Mme. Donalda lived in Paris till 1937, when she returned to Montreal. Founder of the Montreal Opera Guild, she has been acclaimed for her contribution to Canadian music. In 1967, Canada's Centennial Year, she was one of the first to be made member of the Order of Canada and also received the Centennial Medal. VII The Lemieux Street Building The completion of the Lemieux Street synagogue, whose beginnings we noted earlier, was another milestone. Now Shearith Israel prepared to occupy its fourth building, in the west-end area, to which the Jewish population had been drawn. This unique 'Remnant' found itself surrounded by a thriving Ash kenazi community. There was a crying need for a house of worship and educational facilities in the area. As the congregation at Stanley Street had long felt that a synagogue's future depends on the religious training of the children, they determined to concentrate primarily on this need. By placing emphasis on religious education the growth of the synagogue would be assured, thus the first phase of this project was the construction of classrooms and a chapel for services. It was not until Rosh Hashanah 1960 that the sanctuary, a cherished dream of Morris Markowitz, the President, was opened for services. With increased membership, and consequent increase in social functions, the Board of the synagogue felt it necessary to extend the facilities. Under the guidance of Max Brandt, the President, enlarged offices and the hall which became the Lawee Audi? torium were completed in 1967. (See Plate XXXVI, Fig. 4.) DR. SOLOMON FRANK We go back in recent history a little. Dr. Solomon Frank's appointment as Rabbi was ratified in October 1947. He came from Winnipeg, and conducted the first services in a bleak hall, in which Quebec heaters were placed to give warmth and dry out the damp air. The continuity of the synagogue from 82 Personal papers of his daughter, Mrs. Annie Borkowitz. 83 The Jew in Canada, p. 91. 84 As told by Mme. Donalda's sister, Miss May Lightstone.</page><page sequence="23">Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Montreal, 1768-1968 129 Stanley Street to Lemieux can best be exempli? fied by noting two appointments. In 1938, Mr. J. Pessah, who had come from Turkey, was appointed Shammash. Rabbi Bender trained him to carry out those duties, which he fulfils to this day. On the death of A. L. Kaplansky in 1939, Mr. Max Fineberg was named Parnass of the congregation. This post he still holds and maintains with the dignity which the honour suggests. At the age of 93, he is still a regular attendant at all services. Two other members deserve special atten? tion. In 1922, Mr. Jess