The decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth-century marked the era of mass migration of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Fleeing poverty and persecution, some came to Montreal. They left places with names like Minsk, Pinsk, Morosh, Galicia, and Dinovitz, to settle on Montreal streets with names like St. Urbain, St. Dominique and St. Laurent. To retain familiar traditions and familial connections, they established small congregations, which recalled the homes they left behind. The Pinsker Shul, Anshei Morosh, Anshei Ukraina, and Anshei Ozeroff were not only places of worship but also places where friends and family from the same country, area or town could meet, exchange concerns, lend support to each other, and resolve to help those in the “old country.”
More than a Montreal Story
Traces of the Past interweaves architectural and social history in an engaging and accessible manner. Montreal is a vivid case study of an experience that was mirrored in Jewish immigrant communities across North America, examined in the broader context of the building of synagogues in 19th century Europe. As such, the book considers changing and conflicting communal identities and aspirations as a process of adaptation to new opportunities: in Europe as presented by the Emancipation and in North America as a consequence of immigration. Tauben sees the buildings themselves as markers of that adaptive process.
B’nai Jacob, then and now. Read More →
Photos: Left – archival; Right – David Kaufman, 2000
Traces of the Past includes two walking tours of Jewish Montreal — fun for Montreal natives and tourists alike — as well as archival photographs, and a full-colour 12-page portfolio of photographs by David Kaufman documenting the remnants of Montreal’s early synagogues.
David Kaufman — Photography
David Kaufman, a native of Montreal and Toronto resident, has had a two-track career as a fine-art photographer and as a television documentary producer, director, and writer. His photography work has been concentrated in architecture-based imagery, with special interests in brick buildings of the late 19th and early 20th century, storefronts, commercial, industrial, and vernacular architecture, and churches and synagogues. His latest photographic project is documentation of major Jewish cemeteries in Poland.