The Jewish Community of Prince Edward Island

Like many an Atlantic Maritime Jewish community, the first recorded Jewish settlers on Prince Edward Island arrived at the turn of the 20th century. A newspaper item from 1908 reports a celebration of Passover by the Jews of Charlottetown. At that time the brothers Louis, Israel and Abie Block arrived from Riga, Latvia, established three families, and became prominent entrepreneurs under difficult, pioneer conditions. Only Abie Block remained on the Island, and Sarah, the widow of his son Maurice, still resides there. There were approximately a dozen other Jewish families who operated businesses for various, briefer periods before World War II and the number of Jews increased temporarily during the war when the Air Training Station was active.

The significant majority of the members of the Prince Edward Island Jewish community of today arrived in the 1970s or later. A Torah scroll was borrowed in 1975 for the first known High Holy Day services (the first time a Torah had been brought to the Island) and again in 1976 for the first known Bar Mitzvah celebration. The education of its children was a major reason for the coming together of the community. The community organized itself formally in 1993, with Dr. Joseph Naylor being elected first president.

There are presently 39 Jewish homes on Prince Edward Island.

 

Reference

Medjuck, Sheva. (1986). Jews of Atlantic Canada. St. John’s: Breakwater Books Ltd.

Community Representative

The person responsible for representing the PEI community on matters that concern the Atlantic Jewish Council is Rosalie Simeone (send an e-mail).

Check Out These Links:

Community News
Article by Brian Golod
Island Information
Tourism PEI
Charlottetown, PEI
The Guardian Newspaper

 

Historical background prepared by Dr. Joseph Naylor