ADATH ISRAEL was born
in 1930. Our humble birthplace was a rented hall above a delicatessen on Van Horne
Avenue in Outremont. This was our home for ten years. In 1932, Reverend Myer Mandelcorn
joined us and served as Hazzan for over thirty years. Also during this time, the
first religious classes were organized. In 1936, Joel Sternthal became our President.
He served as President and Honorary President until his passing in 1979. Mr. Sternthal's
years of leadership brought creativity and dynamism to our synagogue, its school,
and community center. In 1939, we began construction of our synagogue building
in Outremont, and in 1940 it was dedicated. Also in 1940, Rabbi Charles Bender
began his tenure. He served as Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus until his passing in 1993.
Rabbi Bender had previously served as Rabbi of the Spanish and Porugese Congregation.
Thus, Rabbi Bender was a rabbi in Montreal for sixty-five years.
In 1941, we became the first synagogue in Canada to sponsor and inaugurate
under its own aegis a Jewish Day School. We were also the first in Canada to institute
the Ivrit B'Ivrit method of instruction. In 1947, a building for our growing school
was dedicated. This was followed in 1951 by the dedication of our new high school
building. Mr. Mordecai Mendelsohn, long time principal of our school, was a major
factor in our school's excellence. Throughout our history we have taken great
pride in our schools and in the generations of students they helped produce. In
2000, we held the first ever Adath school reunion. It was a monumental event for
all who attended.
The 1950's were a time of constant
growth and activity for our congregation. Sisterhood, Men's Club, Young People's
Society, Junior Congregation, PTA, Home and School Association, Bar Mitzvah Alumni,
Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Chevra Shas, and adult study groups were all vibrant
parts of our synagogue family.
In 1981, we dedicated
our second synagogue building, in Hampstead. This marked a revival of interest
and activity for the congregation. In this era an outstanding leader was Samuel
Grostern, who served as our President and Honorary President from 1975 until his
passing in 2002. Without Mr. Grostern, our Hampstead venture would not have come
In 1992, Poale Zedek Congregation merged with
us. Founded in Mile End in 1910, this group adds a special flavor to our synagogue.
The hand-made Aron Kodesh of Poale Zedek now graces our Rabbi Charles Bender Library.
It is a wonder to behold!
In 2001, we joined the Union
of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the OU), and we continue to be an
active and proud member synagogue.
In 2003, we concluded
the merger with Anshei Ozeroff, founded by Jews who arrived from Poland, many
of them from the town of Ozeroff. The synagogue started in a house on de Montigny,
and most recently was located on Bourret.
In 2008, we
established a new corporation to officially and legally reflect the complete name
of our merged congregations. We are now named ADATH ISRAEL POALE ZEDEK ANSHEI
Cantor Benjamin Hass came to us in 1965 upon
the retirement of Cantor Eugene Goldberger. Cantor Hass served until 1987. The
voice of Cantor Yaakov Motzen delighted us in the years 1987 - 1997, when he served
as our Chazzan, followed by Cantor Abraham Sultan, who served until 2007. Chazzan
Sheni Nuchim Benjaminson came in 1966 and served until 1998. Chazzan Sheni Ouri
Marciano served from 1998 - 2006. Rabbi Michael Kramer joined us in 1969, upon
Rabbi Bender's retirement. In August, 2001, Rabbi Kramer became Rabbi Emeritus,
after thirty-two years of active and beloved service to ADATH ISRAEL POALE ZEDEK
and the wider Montreal Jewish community. Succeeding him, Rabbi
Michael Whitman became the third spiritual leader in our congregation's
Today, Rabbi Whitman, Assistant Rabbi Alex Zwiebel,
and Chazzan Shmuel Levin serve our congregation. Archie Etcovitch is our chariman; our Co-Presidents are Andrea Elbaz (the first woman president in our history!) and Andre Zoldan.
Past Presidents are Leo Samuels, Louis D. Satim, Samuel David Gameroff, Joel Sternthal,
David Dubin, Dr. Jack Siminovitch, Louis Glazer QC, Samuel Grostern, Morton J.
Pearl, Sol Zuckerman, Leonard Copoloff, Lawrence Bergman, Jack Cooperberg, Edward
Rogozinsky, Richard Tozman, David Gandell, Dr. Peter Safran, and Steve Bramson. On the Poale Zedek side, a long-time
President was Ben Morris. A long-time president of Anshei Ozeroff was Harry Shaffer.
We pride ourselves on our close-knit family environment,
on our warmth to all newcomers, and on our innovative programming. Recent events
include Bnei Mitzvah Program, Youth Minyan, Shabbat to Share with MADA, Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkle Musical Tribute Concerts, Youth Service and Youth Minyan, Family Movie Matinees, alternative Shabbat morning formats,
Judaism and the Environment Lecture Series, Young Couples/Young Families Shabbaton,
Free Fast Fun Alternative High Holiday Service, Cooking for the Soul (a participatory
cooking class and Torah learning), Klez-Tic (a musical celebration of cultural
distinctiveness and harmony featuring a concert combining Klezmer and Celtic music),
Mussar Vaad, annual men's Wilderness Retreat Shabbaton, "Jewish Texts, Jewish
Music, Jewish Healing," and monthly meetings of JACS (Jewish Alcoholics,
Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others).
2013, ADATH ISRAEL POALE ZEDEK ANSHEI OZEROFF celebrates Adath's 83rd year,
Poale Zedek's 103rd year, Anshei Ozeroff's 95th year, and our 32nd year in Hampstead.
We are a vibrant and active modern orthodox synagogue community. We recall our
past with pride and we look to the future with confidence and anticipation.