Agudath Israel Congregation (Ottawa, Ont.)

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Agudath Israel Congregation (Ottawa, Ont.)

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In September 1932 about 16 families headed by Mr. J. Taller united to form a minyan (quorum) for the High Holidays in the West End. In April 1936 the group organized itself into a permanent Congregation which was chartered under the name Agudath Israel in 1938. The first president was Harry Leikin, and other founding officers included Alexander Kelman, Morris Goldberg and Norman Kalin. In March 1938 at a cost of $3000 the Anglican Church at 17 Fairmont Avenue was purchased as a sanctuary. The next congregation move was to 30 Rosemount. In 1947 Hon. Abraham Lieff became President of the Congregation and early in his seventeen year tenure as President, the Congregation moved from orthodox to conservative. On March 11, l951, the Congregation became affiliated with the United Synagogue of America. In 1954, 8 acres of land bounded by Kirkwood, Coldrey, and Laperriere was purchased, with construction of the new Synagogue beginning in 1958. The new Synagogue at 1400 Coldrey Ave. was opened in 1960. Until 1949, community rabbis were shared. Rabbi Fasman officiated at the opening of 17 Fairmount and Rabbi Kravetz conducted High Holidays in the early 1940s. In 1948, Rabbi Morris D. Margolis was engaged as the first spiritual leader of the Congregation, followed by Rabbis Samuel Burstein, 1951-1959, Kurtz, (1959-1961), J. Benjamin Friedberg, 1961-1974, Roy Tanenbaum, 1974-1976, Irving Schreier, 1976-1982, Arnold Fine since l982. Cantor Aptowitzer served the congregation from 1952 to 1994, followed by Samuel Linkofsky, and Stephen Chaiet. A gala celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the congregation was held on April 11, 1989 at 1400 Coldrey. An exhibition of photographs and an anniversary booklet entitled “50th Anniversary” was produced.

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