A cherished past. A hopeful present.
The year is 1877. The newly constructed Canadian Pacific Railway has given Canada a new identity, and with it, came new people. European immigrants begin making their way from the East of Canada by train to a flourishing, four-year-old city known as Winnipeg. One of those Europeans was a man named Edmond Coblentz, the first Jewish person to settle in Manitoba.
Edmond soon spread the news to relatives and peers that his newfound home was prosperous and welcoming. And from then on, immigration increased and more Jews from around Europe settled in Winnipeg. With the extensive hardships faced in their homelands, Manitoba gave these people an unprecedented, hopeful look at their lives, their dreams and their futures. By 1891, the Jewish population of Winnipeg had grown to 645. That number doubled by the time the 1900s rolled in.
This optimistic and resilient community of Jewish immigrants came together and decided they needed a place to worship, celebrate and share their traditions. They bought a plot of land on what is now Henry street for $1,250 and constructed a synagogue with one goal in mind: uniting their community and faith for the better. In 1889, Shaarey Zedek, meaning “the Gates of Righteousness” opened its doors.
From our humble beginning on Henry street to our accomplished institution on Wellington Crescent, our community has endured countless highs and lows. Through tragedy and triumph, Shaarey Zedek has represented what it means to be Jewish and Manitoban for over 130 years. It’s always been a place to celebrate our past and sustain our future.
The L’Dor Va Dor campaign shares the same goal our founders shared all those years ago: uniting our community and faith for the better. It is time to work together and start a new chapter of our cherished history.
Our institution is in need of updates and maintenance. This renewed space will provide the opportunity to enhance the level of programming we can offer to current and prospective members. But overall, these necessary changes will enrich the lives of the next generation of members, and so on and so forth.
One day, the story of Shaarey Zedek will include the generosity and strength of those who supported and pledged to contribute to L’Dor Va Dor.