13 August 2007

Montreal: Journal back issues online

Readers with connections to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, will be happy to know that the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal has now placed all past issues of their quarterly journal, Montreal Forum, online.

Click here, and then click the Montreal Forum logo.

Each issue's table of contents is listed. One interesting feature in most issues is "Montreal - In Days Gone By." The December 2006 (Vol. 2, Issue 2) column focused on Jewish Montreal in the 1760s.

Following General Jeffrey Amherst's bloodless takeover of Montreal and New France in September 1760,it became possible for Jews to settle legally in the area. Previously, only Roman Catholics were permitted to live there.

In 1742, Aaron Hart left England for Jamaica and New York, went north with Amherst's army of 2,000 men and rode into Montreal with him. It is likely his co-religionists Levy Solomons, Ezekiel Solomon, Chapman Abraham, Benjamin Lyon and Gershom Levy were also in that group.

The article details the early Jewish life of Montreal. The first Jewish baby born was David David (October 13, 1764), while the first to die and be buried there was Lazarus David (October 22, 1776).

But perhaps the most significant Jewish “birth” was the founding in Montreal of the Corporation of Portuguese Jews, Shearith Israel, by about a dozen families on 30 December 1768. This founding of what might be called a home base, cemented a most important element in their lives. As pioneers, they naturally had the obligation to be sufficiently successful in business so that they could establish homes and all the other necessities for raising families, but they never forgot their commitment to their Jewish lifestyle.


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