The architectural traces of a culture.

To document the movement and development of Montreal’s Jewish community from the 1880s until 1945, much like a detective, Sara Ferdman Tauben has pored over historic city maps and directories, sepia-coloured photos, brittle newspaper articles and long forgotten anniversary publications to track the locations of Montreal’s early synagogues. Her quest results in a fascinating story that describes and defines the social, religious, and economic aspects of a distinct group of people through the architectural traces of its culture.

Traces of the Past includes two walking tours, archival photographs, and a full-colour 12-page portfolio of photographs by David Kaufman documenting the remnants of Montreal’s early synagogues.

"Traces of the Past is an important contribution to the history of Quebec." — Montreal Review of Books


Past Events

Second Annual Jane’s Walk: Discover Montreal’s Jewish Past
Sunday, May 5th, 2013 - 10:00 am
Bagg Street Shul, 3919 rue Clark, Montreal
Synagogues & Their Communities: A Roundtable Conversation
Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012 - 7:00 pm
Congregation Dorshei Emet, 18 Cleve Road, Montreal
Discovering Synagogues: Here and There, Then and Now
Tuesday, Oct 23rd, 2012 - 7:00 pm
Prosserman JCC, 4588 Bathurst Street, Toronto

Sara Ferdman Tauben

Born in Sweden and raised in Los Angeles, this California native worked as fashion designer in Haifa, Israel before moving to Montreal. Today Sara Ferdman Tauben is the leading expert in the early synagogues of Montreal, her adoptive home for more than thirty years.
Sara Ferdman Tauben


Skirt Story

Published in the Jerusalem Report, January 16, 2012 Before beginning a decade-long research project on Montreal’s early synagogues, Sara had a full career in design – first in fashion design and later in interior design. Here she responds to an …

Shomrim Laboker: In Honour of a 100th Anniversary Celebration

October 2001 Sara was invited to contribute an article detailing the history of the six immigrant congregations that merged to form the current Shomrim Laboker congregation, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. Click here to read the full article …

Shuln and Shulelach: Large and Small Synagogues in Montreal and Europe

Published by HUNGRY I BOOKS, 2008 Chapbook No. 3 in the Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies Chapbook Series $10.00 CAN / US This chapbook focuses on a range of subjects, which include synagogue architecture, the development of Montreal’s communal infrastructure, …

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Shul Stories

Bagg Street Shul Reinvigorated

Temple Solomon (or Beis Shloime) is popularly known as The Bagg Street Shul. It is the only pre-war synagogue still functioning in the former immigrant neighbourhoods of the Plateau Mont Royal. The shul was kept open through some four difficult decades …

From the Pen of an Architect

Harry Stilman, Montreal architect, shares his sketches and memories of Montreal’s early synagogues. The following is an excerpt of a short memoir written in 1997: In the 1960s and 70s it was my custom to draw my own Jewish New …

Memories of the Kiever, Toronto

My mother’s parents, newly arrived immigrants (1911 and 1913) from Brusilov, Russia, were members of the Kiever Shul and lived near Kensington Market. If the service was long and the youngsters got restless, they would go across the road and …

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