High Holy Days at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives

Travel back in time this holiday season with the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives. They’ve generously shared pieces from their collection with Niv to offer a look into how Canadians marked the High Holy Days in different parts of Canada. The oldest document in this series is dated 1905 and the youngest is from 2015. The world has changed so much since 2015, let alone 1905, but what is clear from the stories these archives tell is that Jewish practices will continue, will change, yet in many ways, will stay exactly the same.


Located in Montreal, the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives collects and preserves documentation on all aspects of the Jewish presence in Quebec and Canada, including the historical records of most of the national Jewish organizations that have shaped the present community. Catalogue descriptions for the majority of these holdings can be consulted online, through the database of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network.

The Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives was established in 1934 under the aegis of Canadian Jewish Congress, and the records of the former CJC are an important presence among the hundreds of large and small collections received over the years from individuals and groups. Notable aspects of the Canadian Jewish  community reflected in the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives collections include immigration, integration into Canadian society, community organization, Zionism, human rights issues, discrimination, oppressed Jewry in other countries, education, literature, and genealogy. Since January 1, 1992, the Archives has benefited from the status of “Service agréé d’archives privées,” a program of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

 Learn more about the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives here.

Look up subjects that interest you using our shared website, The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network

Contact the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives at archives@cjarchives.ca

Jewish soldiers of the Canadian Army are shown leaving the Amsterdam Synagogue after attending Jewish New Year services on September 9, 1945.
A 1905 newsprint, from the Montreal Standard, features a handful of men leaving a Yom Kippur service in Chenneville Street in Montreal, Quebec.
Servicemen attend High Holiday services, organized by the Canadian Jewish Congress, in 1941 in Prince Rupert, B.C.
Inside the Maimonides Geriatric Centre, in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, a rabbi blows the shofar for a resident. The holiday celebration occurred in either the 1960s or 1970s.
A rabbi blows the shofar at a military service event during Elul. The commemoration took place at Baron de Hirsch-Back River Cemeteries Inc, in Montreal, Quebec, in 2015.
This shofar from the Archive’s own collection, was given to Samuel Bronfman by the World Jewish Congress for his “Distinguished and Dedicated Service to the Jewish People.”
A New Year card used by Canadian Jews in the 1920s.
Well wishers gifted this New Year card in either the 1960s or 1970s. The cover features a Star of David and menorah.
 “Victoria Jews Will Mark Rosh Hashonah”  from the The Daily Colonist. The article, dated September 14, 1947, reports that at the time 100 Jews lived in, Victoria, B.C.
“Local Jews Go Elsewhere to Attend Rites Marking Rosh Hashonah Feast” from the Star via Canada Press Clipping Service in 1954.
Advertisement of store closures in Corner Brook for the 5708 Day of Atonement.
Martin Penn blows the shofar at a Soviet Jewry rally in Montreal, circa 1974.

Header image design by Orly Zebak. All photographs, as noted in the introduction, are from the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives.

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