The accession consists of records and artifacts created or collected by Rabbi Monson during his career. This includes his annual journals, marriage registers (1939-2000), newspaper clippings, photographs, awards, certificates, letters, a vinyl record, and several artifacts. The artifacts include objects of recognition from Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem and from a Negev Tribute in 1977, and items of regalia clothing from the Order of the Masons. There are also two scrapbooks of clippings: one documents Beth Sholom Synagogue in the 1940s, and the other is about the University of Waterloo in the 1960s.
Among the photos in this collection is the confirmation of Iona Feldt (m. Silverberg) daughter of Samuel (Shmeal) Feldt.
Rabbi Monson was born in Ottawa in 1917. He was educated at Yeshiva University and later was ordained by the Rabbinical College of Canada of Montreal in 1939.
He served as a rabbi for Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue in Toronto from 1939 until 1943. During the war, he served as a Chaplain with the Canadian military until 1945. After his return to Toronto, he founded Beth Sholom Synaogogue and served as rabbi there until his retirement in 1985. During his tenure, he officiated his first bat mitzvah in 1953, introduced a mixed choir to the service, and allowed men and women to sit together in the sanctuary.
Rabbi Monson was a founding member of the Canadian Council for Christians and Jews. Over the years, he served on the Ontario Police Services Commission and many other government committees. He also helped establish Or Yehuda, a community centre for underprivileged Iraqi and Romanian children in Israel. As well, he was also instrumental in the establishment of the University of Waterloo. He organized the Hebrew Association of the Blind, and was named by the Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to the Board of the Canada Council. He was also active in the Order of the Masons. Finally, Rabbi Monson was a great supporter of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. Through his persistent efforts, the small hospital he first visited during the Six Day War was transformed into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.
During his career he became widely known as the "people's rabbi", due to his ability to connect with community members from all branches of Judaism as well as non-Jews. He died on July 28, 2008, at 91 years of age. His wife Susan predeceased him and he left behind one child, Judith Waldman.
Associated material note: Library and Archives Canada possesses 30 cm of records created by Rabbi Monson as well.