Sam Barrett: Schara Tzedeck and Other Early Synagogues and Schools in Vancouver

Posted by jyuhasz

First Schara Tzedeck Synagogue, 700 East Pender Street at Heatley Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., [1921]
Rights - : Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia
Barrett, Sam
Vancouver, BC
Krieger, Ann
Monday, March 26, 1973
Digital audio recording #: 19.73-01
               SB:         I was married in the year nineteen hundred and twenty-four. There wasn’t too many Jewish people in the city, but what there was usually concentrated at the Schara Tzedeck shul at the corner of Heatley and Pender Street. That was the centre of all social affairs and that was, a few years afterwards, the community centre was built on Oak Street. And that place then was the place where all the Jewish people had their social affairs. But the shul on Pender Street and Dunlevy was the only one in Vancouver at the time where on special Jewish holidays the people came to daven and hold prayers and meet others. A few years after I arrived they built another shul in the area now…
AK:        Where the present Schara Tzedeck is?
SB:        Yes, yes, you know where it is?
AK:        At Oak and 16th.
SB:        Oak and 16th. And then they built the other shul, Beth Israel, and they had a few different rabbis since that shul has been built. During those years, from 1924, many Jewish people came to Vancouver from all parts of Canada. At the first shul at Pender and Dunlevy the number of Jewish people living in Vancouver was very limited, but as the years went by and the people living here told their friends how beautiful the climate was and so on, by the year 1930 there was about 10,000 Jewish people in the city of Vancouver. People of very Orthodox and others progressive but they all came to the same shul. Later on a more progressive school opened up on Broadway. It was called the Peretz School. They done away with a lot of Orthodox principles, it was quite modern, so parents sent their children to the Peretz School where they were taught Jewish and Hebrew, and not many of the Orthodox things that the…learnt years ago. Most of the activities at that time was carried on at the Schara Tzedeck synagogue, social affairs and so on ‘til eight or ten years later the first community centre was built on Oak Street near Broadway. That was a gathering place for all social affairs. But on special holidays the very sacred ones and so on, all the Jewish people in the city of Vancouver until the community centre was built, met at the Schara Tzedeck at the corner of Heatley and Pender.

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