Montefiore Club

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Coordinates: 45°29′40″N 73°34′34″W / 45.494548°N 73.57618°W / 45.494548; -73.57618

Montefiore Club
Private club
Genre Jewish
Fate Closed
Founded 1880
Defunct 2010
Headquarters Montreal, Canada

The Montefiore Club was a private social and business association, catering to the Jewish community, located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[1]

History[edit]

Sign above door

Founded in 1880, the club was originally called the "Montefiore Social and Dramatic Club",[2] named for Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, the British-Jewish philanthropist.[3] It was established by 11 people, all quite young, with ages ranging from 15 to 23,[4] as a social club for young Jewish people. It held fundraising balls to help Jewish refugees, and plays that were produced to fund welfare programs for immigrants.[5] Later renamed the "Montefoire Club", and modelled on upper class gentlemen's clubs of London,[6] it functioned as a private social and business association,[7] catering to members of the Jewish community.[8]

Among its members, were "well-to-do" members of the Jewish community, who were excluded from elite Anglophone clubs such as the St. James and the Mount Royal.[7][9]

In the early 1990s, the club had more than 600 paying members.[4]

In the mid-1990s, $500,000 was spent on renovations to the building.

In 2005, after experiencing a decline in membership, new policies were introduced:

  • Annual fees were reduced
  • Women were admitted as full members
  • The dress code was relaxed
  • New activities were introduced including luncheon speakers and wine workshops

In its final years, the building was used frequently by Concordia University, usually for social events.

In the summer of 2010, after experiencing years of financial difficulties, the club closed.

The club[edit]

To obtain membership, a contribution to the life of Montreal's Jewish community was prerequisite.[10]

The location of the Montefoire Club itself changed locations three times, the last being its 1195 Guy Street address, where it remained for 104 years, until its closure. The Guy Street location displayed no sign, with only a green canopy identifying it. The building is a large, three-storey Victorian greystone.

The Guy Street location had a luxurious interior, with high ceilings, and a lobby built with large oak beams in a Dutch style. The rooms were carpeted, with deep-cusioned chairs and sofas, and walls of fine carved wood. Card rooms were located on the second floor, with bedrooms on the third floor that were made available on a temporary basis for members. Wives and children were forbidden access to the second and third floors.[11]

The club was open seven days a week, and often rented out its facilities for community events. The cuisine was considered among the finest in the city, and although having a Jewish clientelle, the club was never kosher.[12]

Notable meetings[edit]

Throughout its history, the club was as a venue for many notable meetings involving prominent members of the Jewish community.

Closure[edit]

Montefoir Club in 2015

In the summer of 2010, after operating for 130 years, and with only 72 paying members,[14] the club closed. It had been experiencing financial difficulties, and had insufficient membership to remain open.

At the time of its closure, the club had used all of its financial reserves, and was operating at a deficit of approximately $25,000 per month. With an annual operating budget of about $750,000, and full fees being only about $2,000 (among the lowest for Montreal's private clubs), the club was unable to remain operation.[4]

The organization sold the building to Concordia University. It will be renovated, and then used for meetings, events, and academic conferences.[15]

The proceeds from the sale of the premises will be used to pay costs and staff severances. Remaining funds, expected to amount to approximately $1.5 million, will be donated to the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal for Jewish education, and to Concordia University to fund a Jewish studies endowment.[15]

The contents of the building, which includes artwork, will be auctioned to members, with remaining items made available to the general public.

The club plans to donate its substantial archives to the Jewish Public Library.[4]

Members[edit]

Notable former members include:

Presidents[edit]

Some past presidents include:

  • John Michaels: 1880-1882; 1892-1894
  • Maxwell Goldstein: 1882-1885; 1886-1891; 1905–1906
  • Lyon Cohen: 1891-1892
  • Bernard Goldstein: 1894-1896
  • J. Goldstein: 1896-1898
  • Michael Hirsch: 1885-1886; 1896-1902; 1908–1910; 1911-1934
  • Abraham Michaels: 1902-1905
  • Emanuel Blout: 1906-1908
  • Jacob Levi: 1910-1911
  • David Kirsch: 1934-1936
  • A. L. Mailman: 1936-1938
  • Jack L. Klein: 1938-1943
  • Joel B. Saxe: 1943-1945
  • William Gittes: 1945-1947
  • Samuel Moskovitch: 1947-1949
  • Harry Benjamin: 1949-1951
  • Arthur N. Friedman: 1951-1953
  • Norman Genser: 1953-1955
  • Bernard J. Lande: 1955-1957
  • Arthur Pascal: 1957-1959
  • Harry Wolfe: 1959-1961
  • Saul E. Moskovitch: 1961-1963
  • J. B. Becker: 1963-1965
  • Phillip Meyerovitch: 1966-1968
  • Dr. André Aisenstadt: 1968-1970
  • Henry S. Weiser: 1970-1973
  • Sidney Schwartz: 1973-1975
  • James D. Raymond: 1975-1977
  • Manuel Shacter: 1977-1979
  • Nicki H. Lang: 1979-1981

Legacy[edit]

To support scholarships for Concordia University graduate students, an endowment has been established. Recipients will be "Moses Montefiore Fellows".

A plaque commemorating Moses Montefiore will be attached to the Guy Street building with the enscription:

"In memory of Sir Moses Montefiore for his lifelong philanthropy and service to world Jewry”.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Montefiore Club
  2. ^ Marrus, Michael Robert (1991-01-01). Mr. Sam: the life and times of Samuel Bronfman. Penguin Books Canada. ISBN 9780670834303. 
  3. ^ King, Joe; Johanne Schumann (2001). From the ghetto to the Main : the story of the Jews of Montreal. Montreal: Montreal Jewish Publication Society. 
  4. ^ a b c d e The Canadian Jewish News - Montefiore Club closing doors after 130 years
  5. ^ Shuchat, Wilfred (2002). SHUCHAT, The Gate of Heaven: The Story of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim of Montreal, 1846-1996. CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, 83, Part 1 (2002): 9. 
  6. ^ Marrus, Michael (1991). Samuel Bronfman : the life and times of Seagram's Mr. Sam. Hanover: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press. 
  7. ^ a b Taking root: the origins of the Canadian Jewish community By Gerald J. J. Tulchinsky https://books.google.com/books?id=7tMCamkUKuQC
  8. ^ Birnbaum-Grobstein family database - Places - Montefiore Club, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  9. ^ Tulchinsky, Gerald (2008). Canada's Jews : a people's journey. Toronto : Buffalo: University of Toronto Press. 
  10. ^ Weinstein, Harvey (1990). Father, son and CIA. Halifax, N.S.: Goodread Biographies. 
  11. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=_Wh-2gcQl6kC&pg=PA174 Never Climbed His Mountain By Julian Gladstone
  12. ^ Elazar, Daniel Judah; Harold J Waller (1990). Maintaining consensus : the Canadian Jewish polity in the postwar world. Lanham: University Press of America ; [Jerusalem] : Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. 
  13. ^ Kolber, Leo; MacDonald, L. Ian (2006). Leo A Life. Ontario: McGill Queens Univ Pr. 
  14. ^ Montefiore Club closing doors after 130 years | JewPI.com
  15. ^ a b c d Concordia purchases Montefiore Club - NOW - Concordia University
  16. ^ Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Quebec, 1792-1992. Sainte-Foy: Presses de l'Universite Laval. 1993. 
  17. ^ Troper, Harold (2010). The defining decade : identity, politics, and the Canadian Jewish community in the 1960s. Toronto ; Buffalo, NY: University of Toronto Press. 
  18. ^ Davidson, Evelyn (2001). Who's Who in Canadian Business, 2001. p. 101. 
  19. ^ The Canadian Jewish News - Jewish Canadian airmen buried in Britain

External links[edit]