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The Jewish Community of Edmonton was formally organized in 1906 when a meeting was held at the Boyaner Home. The first action taken by the committee was to hire Hyman Goldstick as rabbi. The growth of Edmonton Jewish Community continued with the opening of the orthodox Beth Israel Synagogue in the fall of 1912, at the corner of modern day 95 Street and 101 Avenue and was the first synagogue built in Edmonton. Prior to its construction, the Edmonton Jewish community had been holding religious services in a variety of locales, including private residences. In 1952, Beth Israel Synagogue moved to a new, larger site on 119 Street and 102 Avenue. In 1984, plans were made to move the congregation even farther west to the corner of 170 Street and 69 Avenue. The new building at this site was completed in 1999. Members of the congregation have been active in almost every Jewish organization in Edmonton. The synagogue also operates a women’s auxiliary for female members of the congregation called the Beth Israel Sisterhood, which fundraises for the synagogue. Notable rabbis include Rabbi A. Pinsky (rabbi at Beth Israel from 1912 – 1933), Rabbi A. Postone (1940-1968) and Rabbi Daniel Friedman (2002-2018). The current rabbi is Zolly Claman.
In 1928, a group of members of Beth Israel Synagogue, unhappy with the overcrowding of the synagogue during High Holiday services and with the blessing of the synagogue, began holding separate services in the Talmud Torah School building. In 1932, the congregation was incorporated as Beth Shalom Synagogue with Jacob Eisen as the congregation’s first rabbi. In 1950, after considerable discussion, sod-turning took place for a new synagogue building at 11916 Jasper Avenue. In 1951, services and activities began in the partially completed Beth Shalom building. Once the building was completed, it housed the synagogue along with a new community centre association, a library, a theatre, and two full kitchens. With the founding of a Jewish youth centre and then a Jewish Community Centre in Edmonton, many of the activities that had taken place in the synagogue moved to the new facilities. In February 1980, an arson attack on the synagogue resulted in over $300,000 in interior damages. Beth Shalom Synagogue is a conservative synagogue and a member of the Association of Conservative Synagogues of America. They have a Women’s League chapter and run the only Judaica shop in the city. Notable rabbis iclude Rabbi Kliel Rose. Curerent rabbi is Steven Schwarzman.
BBYO is a worldwide teen movement, bringing together high school students from all over the globe, with all types of interests and from all types of Jewish backgrounds. BBYO's pluralistic movement of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers and philanthropists serves as the one of the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post- Bar/Bat Mitzvah demographic a fun and meaningful experiences that inspires a lasting connection to the Jewish people.
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Established as Camp B’nai Brith in 1955, Camp BB Riback located at Pine Lake, in Central Alberta (near Red Deer), offers the only summer resident camping experience in Alberta for Jewish children. Every summer, caring and enthusiastic counselors offer a wide variety of creative programs for over 300 kids in grades one to 10. Campers and staff come from all over Canada as well as some from the United States and overseas. Camp BB continues to offer new program ideas that blend Judaism with current trends and fads. Whether hiking in the mountains, riding horses, zip lining down the rope course or making beaded bracelets, each child can be assured that the fun will carry into the evening with energy filled programs. Traditional Jewish blessings are said for every meal and weekly Shabbat services unite the camp in prayer. To end Shabbat, the camp organizes a special Havdalah service. Older campers participate in regular discussions where Jewish issues are discussed in-depth. Campers leave camp with a stronger sense of what it means to be Jewish in the modern world.
Summer office Box: 242 Pine Lake, Alberta T0M 1S0
587-988-9771 or 1-800-267-CAMP (2267)
Chabad Lubavitch is a worldwide outreach Chassidic organization dedicated to the strengthening of Jewish identity through outreach and public programming. The word Chabad is a composite of three Hebrew words, which translate to wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Lubavitch is a city in Russia. Until his death in 1994, Chabad Lubavitch was led by Rabbi Menachem Schneerson of Brooklyn, New York. In 1997, there were 2,000 Chabad rabbis serving the whole of the Jewish Diaspora. Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta is based in Calgary with a chapter in Edmonton. The Edmonton chapter operates a Chabad house for study and worship, offers educational opportunities to interested Jews, raises funds, and publishes a newsletter. Since its founding in 1991, the Edmonton chapter of Chabad has been led by Rabbi Ari Drelich.
In 1907, land was purchased in the east end of Edmonton for a Jewish cemetery by Abe Cristall, and the Edmonton Chevra Kadisha was founded. As all the members of the Edmonton Chevra Kadisha were male, in 1920, a female Chevra Kadisha was begun to perform ceremonies for deceased women and to sew burial clothes. Around 1910, the Edmonton Chevra Kadisha began an association with Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home to provide hearses and transportation to the cemetery. Chevra Kadisha is a volunteer organization which follows the Jewish tradition of recognizing the egalitarian nature of death by burying all deceased Jewish members of a community in a white shroud and an unadorned coffin. Chevra Kadisha members prepare bodies for burial at the Chesed Shel Emes chapel near downtown Edmonton, and conduct services at the cemetery’s chapel. Edmonton Chevra Kadisha serves all denominations of Edmonton’s Jewish Community. The Chevra Kadisha is an in-kind beneficiary of Jewish Federation/Edmonton UJA in that we send out their funeral announcements to the community, and list unveilings in our weekly newsletter, the JFed E-Weekly. In 2020, we are helping them to raise funds for their new cemetery in St. Albert through our Over-and-Above Campaign.
The Edmonton Jewish Community Charitable Foundation (EJCCF) helps people support Jewish causes that are important to them. We provide resources to make the community’s vision a reality, working in partnership with our donors, and striving to ensure the long-term financial security of the Jewish community.
You don’t need to be wealthy or change your lifestyle to participate. Your gift can be made with:
For the plan best suited to your personal situation and charitable objectives we recommend that you consult with your legal and financial counsel and with the Edmonton Jewish Community Charitable Foundation. For further information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-994-3523 and one of the Foundation staff or board will answer your questions.
A planned gift to the Jewish community ensures the perpetuation of your family name. No matter where or when in the future, you can be there to help.
As is says in the Talmud, “As my father planted before I was born, so do I plant for those who will come after me”.
Jahsena was formed as a non-profit Society in 1997 by founding President Uri Rosenzweig. The organization’s first project was to publish a book about the history of the Jewish communities in Northern Alberta. The book, titled The First Century of Jewish Life in Edmonton and Northern Alberta: 1893 to 1993, was published in 2001. After the publication, the materials collected during the book’s writing were set up by archivist Debby Shoctor. Institutional membership in the Archives Society of Alberta followed. Two documentary films were subsequently produced by second president Dan Kauffman, entitled: From Pedlars to Patriarchs: A Legacy Remembered, (2004) and Bittersweet Memories: The War Years, (2007). The mandate of the organization is to protect and preserve the Jewish Heritage of Edmonton for generations to come. The society belongs to the Association of Canadian Archivists, the Alberta Museums Association and the Association of Canadian Jewish Archives and Museums. It has won awards from the Edmonton Historical Board and the Archives Society of Alberta.
While the challenges with the current climate are still ongoing, we are pleased to be offering our counselling services, including a number of groups online. Our Home Support services are still providing care for our clients, and thanks to their infectious disease protocol training, they working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy. If you’re interested in more information about our counselling, home support services or Canadian newcomer and seniors support, please visit Jfse.org for more info.
The Golden Age Club was organized under the auspices of the National Council of Jewish Women. Rae Miller founded the Edmonton section, which originally met at the Beth Shalom Synagogue. Operating funds came from membership fees, annual donations by the NCJW Economy Shop and the annual Angel’s Ball. By 1970, the group ceased being an exclusively NCJW project and became the Jewish Senior’s Drop-in Centre, under the presidency of Hy Baltzan. At that time, the group purchased an apartment building located at 10052 – 117 Street. It used the basement for meetings, and rented out the apartments on top for revenue. Jewish Family Services became involved, eventually sponsoring programs for new immigrants. For a time, the centre was also a beneficiary of Edmonton United Jewish Appeal. In 1992, a grant was obtained from the Provincial Community Facilities Enhancement Fund, and that, together with private funding, allowed the demolition of the old building and the construction of a new one on the same site. The newly-named Jewish Drop-in Centre, under the presidency of Alice Abells, opened its doors on May 16, 1993. The centre provides programming for seniors including adult education, holiday and birthday celebrations, excursions, bridge, Mah Jongg and Bingo, and Mameloshen (Yiddish) Club. The centre provides support, recreation, adult education, programs for Russian and Yiddish speakers, lunches and more!
Located at 10052 117 Street, Edmonton, T5J 2Z2
780-488 – 4241
The oldest Hebrew Day School in Canada, Talmud Torah offers an integrated program of Judaic and Secular studies in a Hebrew-English bilingual setting focused on excellence in learning and achievement. Talmud Torah provides challenging opportunities for each child to learn and grow as an individual in a safe, respectful environment. An emphasis is placed on Jewish culture and religion, as well as responsible citizenship. A cooperative partnership between staff, students and parents is valued and necessary in achieving high levels of student success. Talmud Torah School provides Hebrew-English bilingual programming for students from kindergarten to grade nine in a Jewish learning environment. Parents, organized through the Talmud Torah Society/ School Council, are very actively involved in the life and fabric of the school. On November 25, 1997, Talmud Torah began full instruction in its new facility in the west end of Edmonton (south Callingwood). Parents and staff continue to work together in ongoing program development to ensure the combined program of Hebrew and English meets the needs of the students and parents. This community of learners will continue to review its mission/vision statement as an important part of the process in achieving excellence. In 1975, the Talmud Torah Society formed a partnership with Edmonton Public Schools. At this time the Province of Alberta's Department of Education was exploring means by which private schools could become associated with existing public school boards. In September, 1975, an understanding was reached between the president of Talmud Torah Board of Directors and the superintendent of the Edmonton Public School Board, whereby the public board would fund Talmud Torah’s secular component. This arrangement continues to the present time.
Temple Beth Ora was founded in 1979 as a reform synagogue, and in 1980 it was incorporated and Beit Sefer classes began. The congregation initially met at the home of Alexis and Shawn Gold and then moved into the Jewish Community Centre as the congregation grew. Services were held in the Colonial Lounge and the gymnasium at the JCC. The congregation was initially led by student rabbis until 1988, when the first ordained resident Rabbi Joseph L. Melamed was hired. In 2003, the congregation was led by Rabbi Lindsey bat Joseph and had 85 family member units. Later came Rabbi Carmit Harari, and then Rabbi Moch. The synagogue had a home at the former JCC in Rio Terrace, but now rents space from the Chevra Kadisha in the Chesed Shel Emes. The current rabbi is Gila Caine.