by Samuel D. Gruber
A few weeks ago we reported about an abandoned wooden synagogue in western
The small wooden synagogue, built on the Canadian prairie in 1913 was on the move in June, as a flatbed truck carried the small structure to
The synagogue was built as part of the Montefiore Agricultural Colony near the town of
Jewish life on the Canadian prairie was documented by Harry Gutkin in his 1980 book Journey into Our Heritage: The story of the Jewish People in the Canadian West, as well as in several articles by Cyril Edel Leonoff. Most of the agricultural colonies were located in Saskatchewan. Now city Jews (and non-Jews) won’t have to travel far to get a taste of that past. The total cost of the move and restoration is estimated at $1 million dollars Canadian.
There are many precedents for moving historic buildings, and several small synagogues similar in size and materials to this one have been moved in the
By the way, there are still places where synagogues associated with agricultural colonies survive intact, and even in use. In Southern New Jersey there are several of these. In fact, I gave my first conference paper ever about synagogue architecture about the synagogues in these rural Jewish settlements. It was a session for ISJM in 1988. I'll try to blog about these another time.