||The Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, which is the second oldest synagogue in Canada as well as the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue, was founded in Montreal in 1846 by English, German and Polish Jews. Having been members of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, they decided that they wanted to be able to attend Ashkenazi services. Thus, the congregation began its life in a rented room on St. James Street, and after several moves, it obtained land at Kensington Avenue and Côte St. Antoine in Westmount in 1920. This new synagogue was completed in 1922, and the congregation has worshipped at this location ever since. Throughout its early history, the congregation continued to have ties with the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, but in 1918 the name Congregation Shaar Hashomayim was incorporated and it in turn separated from the former. After the Second World War a school was added to the congregation and because so many families had joined the synagogue it was further expanded in 1967. Though Orthodox by charter, the congregation is Conservative.
Additional historical information about the Congregation can be seen in the attached PDF document (5179K.)
|Scope & Content
||The collection housed at the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim's Museum and Archives (and Library) numbers approximately 15,000 objects and approximately 6,500 Judaic books. The Museum collection includes Jewish liturgical and ritual objects, as well as secular and Israeli cultural objects. The Archival holdings are comprised of an extensive collection of photographic and textual records, including a photographic collection documenting Jewish life in Canada and Europe, and textual records of institutional and personal provenance, comprised of correspondence, synagogue bulletins and other papers, official acts, and birth and wedding certificates. The Archives houses video and audio interviews with congregation members and staff as well as recordings of public lectures. The Shaar Hashomayim Archives also houses minute books, birth, marriage, and death registers of Montreal Jewry from 1857. Researchers wishing to learn more details about the minutes and registers portions of the collection must contact the synagogue directly. The Library holdings include a Judaic rare book collection.
The Shaar Hashomayim Museum and Archives holdings are thematically divided into four categories of information: Archives, Decorative arts, Fine Arts, and Human History.
The Archives division includes Prints and drawings, Manuscripts, Films and videos, Photographs, Sound recordings, Textual records, as well as Artifacts pertaining to Canadian Jewish life. The Decorative Arts collection includes Moroccan and Ethiopian Jewish folk art, American Jewish folk art, European Jewish folk art, ceramics, porcelain, pottery, glass, metalwork, silverwork, goldwork, textiles, and tapestries. The Fine Arts collection includes oil paintings, illuminated manuscripts, tapestry, sculpture, watercolor, lithographs, diverse collections of Jewish artists covering a range of subjects, i.e. Holocaust, portraiture, Biblical renditions etc. The Human History collection is related to Jewish communal and religious life in Canada and includes archaeological objects, ceremonial objects, costumes and accessories, currency, furniture and furnishings, household objects and domestic technology, film, photographs, video, manuscripts, medals, memorabilia, religious and liturgical objects.