Rabbis and their Community

In one of the few studies of the early immigrant Orthodox rabbinate in North America, Ira Robinson has delved into the Jewish community in Montreal in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Rabbis and their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930, introduces several rabbis who, in various ways, impacted their immediate congregations as well as the wider Montreal Jewish community.

Most studies of the early North American rabbinate focus on only one rabbi. Here, though, Robinson carefully examines the interrelationship among a number of rabbis sharing the same communal "turf." He has diligently researched the unpublished source material these men, generally forgotten to history, left behind. Their writing offers a valuable glimpse at some of the struggles and challenges they faced in their own community, as well as those faced by Canadian Jewish society as a whole in the early twentieth century. Robinson introduces the reader to such leaders as Rabbi Hirsh Cohen, a fixture in the Jewish community of Montreal from 1901 through the late 1940s, Rabbi Simon Glazer, Cohen's main rival for the chief rabbinate, and revolutionary thinker Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg. The issues they faced, such as the Kosher meat wars of the 1920s, and the institutions they created, most notably the Jewish Community Council of Montreal, were factors of fundamental importance for the development of the second-largest Jewish community in Canada.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Title Page 4
Bibliographic Information 5
Dedication 6
Contents 8
Preface 10
Introduction: The Yiddish-Speaking Orthodox Rabbinate in North America and its Importance 14
“Pa Is a Mussolini”:A Portrait of Rabbi Hirsh Cohen 34
Rabbi Simon Glazer:A Rival for the Chief Rabbinate 48
Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg:Kabbalist and Communal Leader¹ 70
Rabbis and Shohtim: The Cases of Getsel Laxer and Hyman Meir Crestohl 82
The Founding of the Jewish Community Council of Montreal (Va’ad ha-’Ir)¹ 100
The Kosher Meat Wars of the 1920s and their Aftermath¹ 116
New Thoughts from an Ancient Source: Hirsh Wolofsky’s Commentary on the Torah¹ 132
Afterword 140
Glossary 142
Notes: Chapter One 146
Notes: Chapter Two 151
Notes: Chapter Three 154
Notes: Chapter Four 156
Notes: Chapter Five 161
Notes: Chapter Six 165
Notes: Chapter Seven 167
Notes: Chapter Eight 169
Notes: Chapter Nine 171
Index 172
Back Cover 182