Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jews 1930s and Beyond

Aren't you glad you don't have to clean up after this giant fellows?

In the 1920s and into the 1930s, Jewish families started to move into new neighbourhoods south of False Creek, such as Fairview. In 1923, the Talmud Torah Hebrew School opened an annex near Broadway and Cambie Streets. 

It took a long period of fundraising but the Jewish community did raise enough money to have the first Jewish Community Centre built in 1928. It was at Oak Street and 11th Avenue. The Talmud Torah School moved into that centre the same year. The Congregation Beth Israel was formally founded in 1932 and their services were held in the centre. The Schara Tzedeck congregation had plans to move to the Fairview area in 1937 but were hampered by the economic depression and the war.

Following the stock market crash of 1929, many wealthy Jewish families moved to the new neighbourhoods of Shaugnessy and Point Grey.

It was in 1932 that the Jewish Administrative Council was formed to coordinate the Free Loan Association, Community Chest and Community Centre.

In the 1940s, the Jewish community and population began to centre around Oak Street in central Vancouver which is south of the first Jewish Community Centre. In 1943, the Talmud Torah school established its first independent facility on West 14th Avenue, between Oak and Cambie Streets. The Beth Hamidrash B'nai Ya'acov was also formed in 1942, within walking distance of the Jewish Fairview homes.

The Perez Centre for Secular Jewish Culture - previously known as the Vancouver Peretz Institute or Shule - was established near Oak Street as a secular-humanist educational and cultural centre in 1945. American comedian Eddie Cantor founded a home for elderly Jews nearby in 1946. The Schara Tzedeck congregation was finally dedicated its new synagogue in 1948 as well as the Beth Israel synagogue in 1949.

The Talmud Torah school moved to a new Oak Street campus in 1948 and became a day school for elementary grades. The Canadian Jewish Congress opened a Vancouver branch in 1941. Schara Tzedeck opened the first Jewish funeral chapter in 1944.

After World War II there was a great influx of central and eastern Canadian Jews as well as a wave of Sephardic Jewish immigration to British Columbia. The first Sephardic High Holy Day services were held at the Jewish Community Centre in 1966. 

The Beth Hamidrash synagogue membership had been shrinking and when the Sephardic congregation formed, they used that synagogue for services. In 1979, the Sephardic congregation merged with the Beth Hamidrash Ashkenazic congregation.

 In the 1960s and 1970s, the Jewish population continued to shift south and west to the Oakridge area. A new Jewish Community Centre was built in 1962 at Oak and 41st. The only Jewish seniors faculty west of Winnipeg was built here in 1968 - the Louis Brier Home and Hospital for the Aged. Temple Sholom was formed in 1964 on Oak Street.

Wealthy families moved to Point Grey and West Vancouver neighbourhoods. A study conducted by Leonoff Vancouver Jewish Community Telephone Directory- shows that only 10% of the local Jewish community lived outside Vancouver in 1960. However, due to rising housing costs, many families began to move to the suburbs.

The development of community service and congregations in the Jewish community has often been a cooperative process with help from neighbouring cities. There are some accounts though of suburban communities feeling ignored by central organizations. In response to this, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver was established in 1987 to develop a wider community across the area. It was born from the merger of the United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish Community Fund and Council.

The Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver offers services for the entire community. The centre houses organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Jewish Museum and Archives of B.C. and the Vancouver Holocaust Education centre. The centre also offers programs for all ages, the Isaac Waldman library as well as recreational, arts and event facilities.

Rabbi Yitzchak ad Henia Wineberg moved from Brooklyn, NY in 1974 to open the first Chabad House Centre in Western Canada. Chabad has been credited with the resurgence in Jewish identity and practice. Chabad Lubavitch BC now operates seven centres across the province: Chabad of Vancouver Island, Chabad of the Okanagon, Centre of Judaism for the Lower Fraser Valley in White Rock, Chabad of Richmond, Chabad of downtown Vancouver, Chabad of East Vancouver and the Chabad headquarters at 41st and Oak. There is even a Chabad centre in Whistler.

In 2004, Beth Hamidrash dedicated a new synagogue building. In 2007, Congregation Schara Tzedeck celebrated its centenary as the first and largest Orthodox synagogue in British Columbia with a membership of 450 families and some of those are fourth-generation members. Also in 2007, Congregation Beth Israel celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information. I hope you find the beauty around you.

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