Brantford Hebrew Association

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Brantford Hebrew Association

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Description area

Dates of existence

1907-1950

History

The Brantford Hebrew Association, Congregation Beth David’s precursor, was founded in 1907 when Rabbi Backer officiated Brantford’s first public Jewish religious service in an upper hall on George Street. Services had previously taken place in the homes of Jewish families, who had begun settling in the area around the turn of the century. By 1911, services had moved to the old Conservative Hall at Dalhousie and King Street. In 1915, the Congregation purchased a building at 33 Palace Street and remodeled it into a synagogue. This building was also used as a community centre and for the Congregation’s Hebrew School.
On October 13th, 1911 the Congregation was incorporated, and the following year it purchased land for a cemetery in the northeast corner of Mount Hope Cemetery. Due to increasing membership, a new synagogue was built at 50 Waterloo Street in 1948. In January 1950, the Congregation changed its name to Beth David in honour of member David Axler, who died during the Second World War while training as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The Congregation was at its peak in the 1960s with 150 member families. However, membership drastically fell after the children of this generation moved to larger cities and their parents followed after retirement. By 1999, only 28 families remained as members and services were reduced to being held on the High Holidays and special occasions, such as, Bah Mitzvah’s. Dwindling resources and membership forced the Congregation to close around 2001. Throughout its existence, over 30 rabbi's served the Congregation, including Rabbi Saul Wolfe Gringorten (ca. 1910-1923). Its cemetery continues to be looked after by Allan Norris, a past president of the Congregation.

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Related entity

Congregation Beth David, Brantford, Ontario (1950-2001)

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temporal

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

The Brantford Hebrew Association was the precursor institution to the Congregation Beth David.

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