Accession consists of records documenting the 100th anniversary celebration of Congregation Knesseth Israel. The records were compiled in an indexed binder by Edwin Goldstein, president of the synagogue. Included are newsclippings, press releases and advertisements; invitations and programs; a commemorative calendar; a volunteer t-shirt, a kippa and a gift bag; correspondence with the Ontario Trillium Foundation; information on a guided architectural walking tour of the area; an Israel Today DVD featuring the synagogue; the book "One Hundred Years at the Junction Shul" written by Neil Ross and Lorne Miller; and a DVD compilation featuring video and photographic highlights from the various anniversary events.
Congregation Knesseth Israel was established in 1911 at 56 Maria Street in the West end of Toronto. Early 20th century membership in the synagogue consisted mainly of new jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, many of whom lived and worked in the Junction as artisans, peddlers, shop owners and scrap and metal collectors. Known as the Junction Shul, Knesseth Israel Synagogue was built with the labour and funds provided by the founding members and their families.
Orthodox services first began in 1913 and since the 1930s the synagogue has functioned without a rabbi, with services being led by a cantor or the congregants themselves. Some family names associated with this early period include: Alexandroff, Goldstein, Nickolaevsky, Kronis, Greenblatt, Usprich, Tanenbaum, and Naftalin.
Knesseth Israel is the oldest Toronto synagogue still in use as a synagogue today and is now cared for by the descendents of these founding families. Although members of the synagogue are now few (as the Jewish population of the Junction has waned greatly since the 1960s), the synagogue still performs High Holiday services for some 75-80 full members and 300 associate members.
Physical description note: includes 1 text, 3 objects and 2 DVDs.