News Story: Former Rabbi of Adath Yeshurun, Rabbi of Beth Moshe Shul. A scholar and Talmudist. Member of Montreal Board of Rabbis. International recognised as a great Rabbi-scholar. Resident in Montreal for 10 years, in Ottawa for 30 years, and before that Rabbi of Slursk Shul in New York. Funeral from Paperman's today.
Fonds consists of Reverand Joseph Berger’s obituary published in the Canadian Jewish Eagle and news clippings about Sam Berger’s accomplishments.
Reverand Joseph Berger began his rabbinic career in the Shavel district of Kovno, Lithuania. Among those from whom he received ordination was the late Rabbi Nahum Shapiro, Rabbi Chaim Rotzki, Rabbi Simon S. Lurie, and Rabbi Mordecai Lazkover. His first position was with a New York City Congregation in 1903.
In 1905 he was invited to serve as rabbi for Congregation Agudath Achim, Rideau Street, Ottawa, and he remained until 1927. He then moved to Montreal where his first pulpit was Congregation Adath Jeshurun, followed by Congregation Beth Moshe.
Rabbi Joseph Berger was born in 1874 and died in Montreal in his 65th year on September 19, 1939. He was a distinguished scholar.
His family consisted of his wife, Freda Baron, and five sons and three daughters. Most, if not all of these children were born in Ottawa. One son was Rabbi Julius Berger of Congregation Shaar Zion, Montreal. Another son, Sam Berger (b. January 1, 1900 - d. July 24, 1992), “lived many corporate lives in his 92 years. A journalist turned lawyer, air force officer, real estate developer and sports franchise owner. He loved law, played at football and made his fortune in real estate”.
Sam was the owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders and then later the Montreal Alouettes. In 1986 he was inducted into the Order of Canada. He was also inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1993, one year after his death.
1. Quotation from The Ottawa Citizen, April 12, 1992.
2. An extensive description of Rev. Joseph Berger’s rabbincal style may be found in Gathering rosebuds by Abraham (Abe) Lieff.
3. There is a discrepancy in Rabbi Berger’s dates with Congregation Agudath Achim. While the Beth Shalom dedication booklet, 1957, gives the date 1902, Rabbi Berger’s obituary, written one day after he died, states 1905.