Beth Israel Synagogue (Peterborough)

634 Weller St
Peterborough ON  K9J 4W9

Phone: (705) 745-8398

The Beth Israel Synagogue is a synagogue in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.HistoryAccording to Canadian census documents, there have been Jews in Peterborough since 1811, with numbers climbing slowly but surely: to 29 people identifying as Jewish in 1911, 136 in 1921, and to 256 Jewish people in 1961. The Jewish population has remained relatively steady since that time, with the 2001 national census showing over 300 Jews in Peterborough. Today, the Congregation Beth Israel includes about 35 participating families who live in Peterborough and surrounding areas.In 1911, with the community growing, a committee formed to seek a man to serve as Schochet, teacher and Chazan. They found and hired Philip Black who “with great zeal and dedication began to build the spiritual life of the Jewish Community”. From the early 1900s until as late as 1940, a system was in place whereby money was collected to pay the Schochet. Black served for two years, married, and, with the community being unable to support a full-time professional, Black took up as a merchant, while continuing as an active member of the Jewish community. Families active in Jewish Community life in Peterborough around the turn of the last century onward included Blacks, Florences, Lows, Swartzes, Sukoffs, Zacks, and Cherneys, Greens, and Fines.In the earliest days of Jewish community life, services took place in homes, with public space being rented for High Holiday services. In 1922 the community leased a house, with a hall on the second floor, located on Water Street. In 1928, with the growth of the community, the Hadassah Chapter began raising money for a synagogue.

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