Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal

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Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal
V11p629002 Synagogue.jpg
Former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on Stanley Street (in use 1890–1947)
Basic information
LocationSt. Kevin Street, Snowdon, Canada
Geographic coordinates45°29′23″N 73°37′56″W / 45.489802°N 73.632098°W / 45.489802; -73.632098Coordinates: 45°29′23″N 73°37′56″W / 45.489802°N 73.632098°W / 45.489802; -73.632098
RiteSpanish and Portuguese
LeadershipRabbi Menachem White
Architectural description
Architect(s)Charles T. Ballard
Date established1768; 250 years ago (1768)

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal, also known as Shearith Israel, is a Montreal synagogue, located on St. Kevin Street in Snowdon, which is the oldest Jewish congregation in Canada. The Congregation traces its history back to 1760 and was formally established in 1768. It is affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Some of the notable Rabbis of the synagogue have included Jacob Raphael Cohen (1738–1811), Abraham de Sola (1825–1882) and his son Meldola de Sola (1853–1919).

The immediate past Rabbi is Shachar Orenstein. Rabbi Howard Joseph, who has served the community since 1970, is Rabbi Emeritus.


By 1777 the Jewish community felt itself able to erect and support a synagogue building. Lazarus David had died in 1776 but in August l4,1777 his widow,Phoebe, sold for 1200 French livres part of a David property to three of the Congregation's leading members, Samuel Judah, Simon Levy and to Andrew Hays, recently married to her daughter Abigail (Branny). The building completed the following year,stood behind a low stone wall , had a high red,roof and was located at the junction of Little St.James, (since covered over) and Notre Dame Sts, a site now partially occupied by the new Court House. The second synagogue building was built in the province of Quebec, was built in the Old City on Chenneville Street in 1838. The Judeo-Egyptian style temple-like building had a front of cut stone, adorned with a portico with two columns. This was the only formal place for Jewish worship in Montréal until 1846. Charles T. Ballard, architect, designed a new and larger synagogue for the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation on Stanley Street in the Egyptian Revival style of architecture in 1887–1890.[1]

The congregation has been housed in its fourth premises in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce area of Montreal since 1947.

In the sanctuary, Torah is read to the congregation from the bimah and the Torah scrolls are stored in the aron kodesh on the east wall. The congregation face towards the east, and Jerusalem, in praying. The ornamentation features symbols such as Stars of David, signs of the zodiac and natural forms.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dictionary of Architects in Canada". Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  2. ^ "Synagogues". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 16, 2011.

External links[edit]