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OUR HISTORY

Congregation Beth Ora is a Modern Orthodox synagogue serving the Jewish community in Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada. It was founded in 1953 when a group of dedicated young men and women, brought together by William Weiss, formed "The Jewish Congregation of Saint Laurent". They worked tirelessly to plan and build a new synagogue and set up committees to find members and raise funds.

After an extensive search for property, the land committee approached Mr. Alexis Nihon, a prominent industrialist, to discuss purchasing land. Not only did he have the land required to build the synagogue (60,000 square feet), on December 8th, 1953, the last night of Hanukkah, he announced that he was donating 40,000 square feet of the land for the erection of a synagogue and community centre.

As 1953 came to a close, elections were held for the board of directors, and 253 members had been signed up. At the beginning of 1954, Arnold Shrier was selected as the architect to design and supervise the building of the new synagogue and Talmud Torah joined forces with an afternoon school based at Beth Ora.

The Jewish Congregation of Saint Laurent published its first constitution in 1956:

  1. To maintain a House of Worship with services conducted according to the tenets of modern Judaism and according to the ritual of Minhag Ashkenaz
  2. To maintain a school for instruction in Hebrew and Jewish religious studies
  3. To maintain a community centre for the development of the moral, mental and physical welfare of its members, and for the cultivation of Jewish thought and action
  4. To maintain a cemetery
  5. To maintain registers of civil status
  6. To render all such other services, spiritual and otherwise, as are generally rendered by synagogues


In September of 1956, a branch of the United Talmud Torahs was opened in the newly erected Beth Ora Synagogue. 116 children were enrolled in the nursery school, kindergarten and afternoon classes.

On June 9th, 1957, in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the building was dedicated. Sculptor Adrien Vilandre was commissioned to design the menorah that has symbolized the name of the congregation to this day. Membership at this time was close to 700 families.

On April 9th, 1959 the congregation chose the name “Beth Ora – House of Light”.

The synagogue is a member of the Orthodox Union.

Presidents:
Nadine Anders – 2020-2023
Polly Storozum – 2020
Howard Yancovitch – 2019-2020
Barry Rashkovan – 2018-2019
Howard Yancovitch – 2017-2018
Howard Sholzberg – 2015-2017
Simon Bitton – 2013-2015
Glenn Caron – 2011-2013
Maury Rosenzweig – 2009-2011
Neil Stoopler – 2007-2009
Howard Michaels – 2005-2007
Ari Zlotnik – 2003-2005
Morty Mayberger – 2001-2003
Irwin Ludmer – 1999-2001
Les Satov – 1997-1999
Amir Anders – 1995-1997
Jack Dym – 1993-1995
Harvey Share – 1991-1993
Abe Green – 1989-1991
Abe Murad – 1987-1989
Louis Mandelcorn – 1985-1987
Manuel Dalfen – 1983-1985
Abe J. Steinberg – 1981-1983
Henry L. Garber – 1979-1981
Nat S. Bernstein – 1977-1979
Isaac Shustack – 1975-1977
Eddie Balter – 1973-1975
Ted Hurwitz – 1970-1973
Manny Finkelstein – 1969-1970
Herb Goodman – 1967-1969
Al Nadler – 1966-1967
Max M. Stein – 1965-1966
Harry Leitman – 1963-1965
Murray Fainer – 1961-1963
Moe Guttman – 1957-1959
Nathan Chad – 1955-1957
L. Arthur Simon – 1953-1955

Rabbis:
Rabbi Anthony Knopf – 2016-present
Rabbi Moshe Jablon – 1986-2016
Rabbi Jerome Wolicki – 1972-1986
Rabbi Morris Halpern – 1955-1972

Shaliach Tzibur:
Rabbi Heshy Benshimon – 2015-present

Cantors:
Cantor Arie L. Subar – 1984-2015
Cantor Pinchas Rabinovicz – 1979-1983
Cantor Paul Kowarsky – 1976-1978
Cantor Samuel B. Taube – 1963-1975

Chazzan Sheini:
Chazzan Sheini Amiel Bender – 1990-2014
Chazzan Sheini Alexander Munitz – 1981-1986
Chazzan Sheini Abraham Kenner – 1956-1981
Sun, June 13 2021 3 Tammuz 5781