The Jewish Community Council, also known as the Vaad Ha'ir was founded during the last quarter of 1922 and is regarded as the successor of the old Vaad Hakashruth, whose functions and problems it inherited.Mr. H. Wolofsky, publisher of the Keneder Adler and the Canadian Jewish Chronicle urged the Jewish community of Montreal to create a special organization for the purpose of supervising kashruth, which includes the preparation of kosher meat, poultry, and other kosher foods, and for the creation of a united rabbinate. He also drew attention to the fact that there was no representative organization in the community to speak on behalf of the entire community as their bona fide representative.A general assembly was called for October 8, 1922, and Mr. Wolofsky chaired the meeting. The immediate result of that meeting was the convocation of a conference on October 29, 1922, attended by 164 delegates who represented 73 different organizations and groups. That conference called the Vaad Ha'ir into being.The main tasks of the Va'ad Ha'ir may be defined as follows: - (1)To organize the different segments of Jewish life into one unified central body dedicated to the religious, spiritual and social needs of the Jewish community of Montreal. (2)To establish and maintain the orthodox Rabbinate as the highest Torah authority in the city, its decisions being considered binding in all spiritual and halachic problems. (3)To subsidize the local educational and institutions and Yeshivoth.The Va'ad Ha'ir represents the synagogues, educational institutions, fraternal and social organizations. To the annual conference, which usually takes place in the month of December, all the above mentioned organizations are invited to send their representatives. The conference elects a council, which is comprised of at least one delegate from each organization. The newly elected council then convenes, and elects a presidium, a treasurer, an honourary secretary, an executive board of honourary officers and Mishpat Hashalom committee (Jewish Arbitration Board).
The collection is on permanent loan from the Jewish Public Library of Montreal. It was transferred to the archives in 2001.
Physical condition :Some documents are fragile.Language :Yiddish, English, Hebrew, and Russian.Finding aids :The finding aid was compiled by Beverly & Eiran Harris for the Jewish Public Library of Montreal.General note :The Administrative History of the collection is from the finding aid of the JPL.
The Montreal Council of Orthodox Rabbis is an integral part of the Vaad Ha'ir. At its regular meetings, various problems of halachic import are discussed, plans are promulgated for the strengthening of kashruth and orthodoxy, reports are heard from the mashgichim (kashuth supervisors) concerning their work, etc.One of the functions of the Rabbinate is to inspect, accompanied by a mashgiach (supervisor), all premises where kosher meat is sold and where kosher meat products are manufactured
The Vaad Ha'ir employs kashruth supervisors (mashgichim), who inspect all kosher butcher shops and delicatessen factories regularly. With hotels and restaurants, the Vaad Ha'ir grants kashruth supervision only to those whose owners agree to accept a permanent kashruth supervisor
The Ezrath Torah Fund was founded by the late Chief Rabbi Hirsh Cohen for the purpose of giving financial support to scholars, Torah students and in general to fellow Jews abroad, especially in Israel, who are in dire need
The Vaad Ha'ir is very much interested in helping to avoid domestic misunderstanding and endeavours to settle any existing family problems that are brought to its attention. The Vaad tries to investigate the situation with understanding and tact, and in many instances the Vaad Ha'ir has re-established broken or partially broken homes
The Jewish Community Council offers to any individuals or organizations that want to avoid litigation in civil court the opportunity of settling their differences before the Rabbinical Court (Beth Din) or Arbitration Court (Mishpat Hashalom)
One of the Vaad's vital projects was to preserve the religious faith and culture of the Jewish community in the former Soviet Union. The Vaad Ha'ir was the first Jewish religious body to receive permission from the Soviet government to establish and maintain close contact with the Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union. It provided tangible assistance, such as religious articles, sacred books, parcels of new clothing and kosher food. The Vaad Ha'ir's income is derived from fees for ritual slaughtering of animals as well as fees for kashruth supervision in the Montreal region