Beth Israel Ohev Synagogue

Periscope Theatre There were relatively small numbers of Jews in Quebec City in the 19th Century. Thus it was difficult for their congregation to build a synagogue. Only in 1892, the first permanent synagogue, the Beth Israel, was erected.

The new Beth Israel Ohev Synagogue was built in 1944. Soon it suffered a suspicious fire, which some attributed to Vichy government of France sympathizers who were quite influential. With a declining congregation and financial difficulties, the building was sold to the Periscope Theatre.

The building was re-modeled and some additions made. The tiny Jewish community, which is composed by less than one hundred people, uses a modest building on De Merici Avenue for its synagogue. In fact, despite their small numbers, the Jewish Community of Quebec City fostered some prominent citizens.

For instance, Mr. Abraham Joseph, who settled here in 1832, became later the President of the Quebec Board of Trade and a city councillor, and Mr. Sigismund Mohr, who came to live here in 1871, is considered by many to have been the Father of hydro-electricity in Canada. Mr. Mohr introduces the telephone and the electrical lighting in the country. John Franks, another prominent representative of the Jewish community, was the chief of the Quebec fire brigade between 1790 and 1799. Quebec City Jews, mostly bilingual, have long been part of the English community of the city.

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