Remembering the last Jews of Maitland, Ont.

Maitland, Ont., a town of 1,200 on the St. Lawrence River. (Google Maps image)

Elena Kingsbury grew up in Maitland, Ont., a small town of about 1,200 people—including just two Jewish families. She would hop across the St. Lawrence River into Ogdensburg, NY, where her family were members of the international Anshe Zophen synagogue, which supported congregants from nearby towns on both sides of the border.

In 2000, Kingsbury would be the last bat mitzvah in the now-closed synagogue. The 9/11 attacks made border crossings too difficult, and a declining population led to the regional exodus of many young locals—including herself. Now an education specialist at the Friends Of Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies in Ottawa, Kingsbury joins to recall her years growing up in the tiny riverside town, and how it shaped her conception of what it means to be Jewish.


Yehupetzville is hosted by Ralph Benmergui. Michael Fraiman is the producer and editor. Our music was arranged by Louis Simão and performed by Louis Simão and Jacob Gorzhaltsan. Our sponsor is PearTree Canada, which you can learn more about at This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, watch this video.