Canada’s oldest Ashkenazi congregation just recovered a 100-year-old time capsule on its milestone anniversary weekend

A masonry worker chisels out a 100-year-old time capsule from a cornerstone of the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue in Sept. 2022. (Screenshot courtesy of Hannah Srour-Zackon)

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim is older than Canada itself. It was founded by Jews who came from England to what is now Quebec, wanting to create their own space apart from the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. Decades after the congregation’s inception in 1846, a new building was built, in 1922, in Westmount. And in a cornerstone of that building, congregants placed a time capsule—a memento of a bygone era that only now, 100 years later, is being unearthed.

The synagogue’s archivist, Hannah Srour-Zackon, watched as the capsule re-emerged for the first time in a century this past weekend during the synagogue building’s 100th-anniversary ceremony. She joins today to describe what they found, how the capsule reminds us of the rich history of the Shaar, and what its role has been in the Canadian Jewish community.

What we talked about:

Watch the mason release the 1922 time capsule from the cornerstone of the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue in Montreal in September 2022. (Video courtesy of Hannah Srour-Zackon).


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.