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In Memoriam

The Jewish Faith in Chatham-Kent

Jewish Cemetery, Memorials, and Synagogue History

A Winter's Celebration at the Chatham Synagogue
There is a very high chance that the building was NOT a Synagogue yet when this photograph was taken
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We would like to thank the Ontario Jewish Archives at 4600 Bathurst Street in Toronto for their extensive help with research for this page of our web site.

Research has proven that there were no actual separate "Jewish Faith Cemeteries" in Chatham-Kent. We have though, for instance, found write-ups of an internment in Detroit in 1936 and another 14 years later to a family plot there. In "Jewish Community in Canada" (information provided by Ontario Jewish Archives) it mentions "Few of these smaller Jewish communities could sustain their own cemeteries. Cornwall purchased one in 1897; and St Catharines did the same fifty years later. Most other communities, however, have interred their dead in Buffalo, Hamilton, Montreal, or Toronto, using the burial grounds of these larger, neighbouring centres."

Frank Kovinsky and his family were the first of the Faith to settle in Chatham. That was in 1897. His son Sam was elected to Council in Chatham. In 1950 a new Synagogue was opened in City of Chatham. (Building was purchased in 1944, They "Took Possession" of the main part of the building 1949 and special services were held that year, and was officially opened January 8 1950.) It was called the Children of Jacob Synagogue and served as a school, Jewish Community Centre, and Synagogue. Both Hebrew and Yiddish were taught in the school. Two early teachers in the school were Mr Leon Kahane, and David Arze_ (Probably Arzem). The following is titled as "In Honor" and contains information on the opening day of that Synagogue. Following that is "In Memoriam"

In Honor

From Book of Remembrance of the Jewish Community Centre and Synagogue in Chatham

Sunday January 8th 1950 will long live in the memory of Chatham Jewish Community as the outstanding day of our communal history. For with the dawn of that bright wintry morning, a struggle of almost insurmountable obstacles was completed. Chatham at last had achieved its dream. We had our own Jewish Synagogue and Centre. "THIS INDEED WAS OUR DREAM COME TRUE."

Under the supervision of Max M Cohen, our general chairman for events, our program commenced at high noon. With Rabbi Stohlman of Windsor as our spiritual Guide, our Centre received it's Heavenly Blessings in a most impressive ceremony. We can see him now bestowing the benedictions, as the portals were opened and our Holy Torah placed in our "ARON KODESH". It is impossible for me to set in words the Spiritual uplift that embraced our community at this ceremony.

...And then came our Honoured Guest, Mr Avraham Harman, Consul-General for the State of Israel to Canada. How gratifying it was to us, a community as small as ours, to welcome this esteemed personage. Mr Harman graciously came to us by plane from Montreal to join in our Simcha. When one considers his every day curriculum, his constant requests, his many official duties for his country, we become more and more appreciative of his visit to us. In mid-afternoon, Mr Harman visited our school where our children greeted him in Hebrew on behalf of their teacher Mr Kahane. How pleased he seemed to hear our children express themselves in Hebrew, and portray to him that the torch of Judeah is borne brightly by our youngsters!

The highlight of our day, however, was our evening banquet at which the Consul was to deliver his message from Israel to us.

The committee in charge were pleased at the time to welcome many of our supporters and friends from Windsor, London, St Thomas and Toronto. Our head table was graced by our Consul-General, His Worship Colonel George Kerr, our Mayor; Rabbi Stohlman and our local representatives.

After a few introductory remarks, it was our privilege to listen to Mr Harman. Most eloquently did this fine young man portray to us the hardships, the struggles and the ultimate achievements of our people in establishing our Sate as we know it today. As an eye witness, Mr Harman in his vivid address lifted us from our Canadian scene to that of our brothers and sisters in Israel. And for the short period of his address, we were fortunate to dwell mentally with our Kin, in the new born State.

With the close of this momentous day in our history, a very tired but happy community felt that our progress to date was merely a stepping stone to greater things. With Mr Harman's words still echoing in our hearts, we are certain that the scope of our progress in Chatham shall be without boundaries.

George J Sherman

In Memoriam

Our Departed Members

We humbly recall the following members of our Congregation who entered the World Beyond...:

Mary Helen GOLD, February 27, 1923, 11 Adar 5683;

Sam KOVINSKY, March 30 1936, 7 Iyar 5696;

Louis KOVINSKY, January 29 1939, 9 Shvat 5699;

Silvia MILLMAN, March 27 1945, 13 Nissan 5705;

Howard Donald GOLD, October 27, 1950, 16 Marcheshvan 5711;

Anna KOVINSKY, December 15 1950, 6 Teves 5711;

Alex GOLD, May 9 1952, 14 Iyar 5712;

Abraham SALEM, May 19, 1954, 16 Iyar 5714.

Joseph ROMBERG, Jan 3 1959, 23 Teves, 5719

Murray HOCHMAN, March 12, 1959, 2 Adar II, 5719

Pinchus SHERMAN, March 14, 1959, 4 Adar II 5719

Sam STEINBERGH, February 23 1960, 25 Shvat 5720

Morris KATZMAN, July 2 1960, 7 Tamuz 5720

Frank CEPLER, August 3 1960, 10 Av 5720

Ida Dorothy GOLD, Jan 10 1962, 5 Shvat 5722

Isadore SOLOMON, May 1 1963, 7 Iyar, 5723

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