A History

 

Old Synagogue, Used from 1925 to 1949 Old Synagogue, Used from 1925 to 1949

 

There is a record of a Jewish presence in Guelph as far back as 1901, when there were thirteen Jews listed as registered voters in polling station 18 in the City of Guelph.  The first Jewish wedding ceremony on record took place in Guelph in 1901 between Charles Freeman and Emma Zecilman.  The first official congregation was formed in 1907 and religious services were held in members' homes as well as other locations.  The first marriage ceremony of a member of this congregation was that of Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Smith in 1907 with Rabbi Halperin officiating.  The congregation grew with the arrival of more Jewish families, among them Acker's in 1916, Enushevsky's in 1917 and Brown's in 1919.

Guelph Hebrew Congregation 1925 and 1938 Guelph Hebrew Congregation 1925 and 1938

In 1925, the expanding congregation purchased a house at 47 Surrey Street West (see photo above), our current location, to be used as a synagogue.  In 1949 the current building was built on the property at the northwest corner of Dublin Street South and Surrey Street West in Guelph.  It was named Beth Isaiah in memory of the late Isaiah (Sydney) Acker who died while on duty in the RCAF in World War II. Upon entering the synagogue, you will find a commemorative plaque listing our founding members (see photo on right).

The congregation has survived and flourished in this building for sixty years. Indeed, many members have flourished in our Royal City as well. One in particular, Joe Young, served as the City of Guelph mayor for 2 terms.  Many other members have also realized a number of accomplishments over our several decades as part of the larger Guelph community.

Past Presidents Plaque Past Presidents Plaque

There is a membership of about fifty families, with a full time spiritual leader and an active religious school and Hebrew school.

The synagogue continues to be the centre of the Jewish community and the place to mark important life cycle events in our community.

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