Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal

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Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal
V11p629002 Synagogue.jpg
former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Stanley Street in Montreal in use 1890–1947
Basic information
Location St. Kevin Street in Snowdon, Canada
Geographic coordinates 45°29′23″N 73°37′56″W / 45.489802°N 73.632098°W / 45.489802; -73.632098Coordinates: 45°29′23″N 73°37′56″W / 45.489802°N 73.632098°W / 45.489802; -73.632098
Affiliation Judaism
Rite Spanish and Portuguese
Status Active
Leadership Rabbi Avi Finegold (interim)
Architectural description
Architect(s) Charles T. Ballard
Completed 1947

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal, also known as Shearith Israel, is a Montreal synagogue, located on St. Kevin Street in Snowdon, which is the oldest Jewish congregation in Canada. The Congregation traces its history back to 1760 and was formally established in 1768. It is affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

Some of the notable Rabbis of the synagogue have included Jacob Raphael Cohen (1738–1811), Abraham de Sola (1825–1882) and his son Meldola de Sola (1853–1919).

As of July 2017, the interim Rabbi is Avi Finegold. The immediate past Rabbi is Shachar Orenstein. Rabbi Howard Joseph, who has served the community since 1970, is Rabbi Emeritus.


The first synagogue building, and the first non-Catholic[dubious ] house of worship built in the province of Quebec, was built in the Old City on Chenneville Street in 1838. The Judeo-Egyptian style temple-like building had a front of cut stone, adorned with a portico with two columns. This was the only formal place for Jewish worship in Montréal until 1846. Charles T. Ballard, architect, designed a new and larger synagogue for the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation on Stanley Street in the Egyptian Revival style of architecture in 1887–1890.[1]

The congregation has been housed in its fourth premises in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce area of Montreal since 1947.

In the sanctuary, Torah is read to the congregation from the bimah and the Torah scrolls are stored in the aron kodesh on the east wall. The congregation face towards the east, and Jerusalem, in praying. The ornamentation features symbols such as Stars of David, signs of the zodiac and natural forms.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dictionary of Architects in Canada". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Synagogues". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]