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Yom Haatzmaut: The Shaar and the JNF


The Shaar has been active in the Zionist movement from the days of Theodor Herzl. Lazarus Cohen, a former president of synagogue, purchased land in Palestine as early as the 1890s, and Rabbi Abramovitch was a fixture at many of the first Zionist congresses. It is not surprising, then, that Shaar was involved with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) from its early days too. In our museum collection we have a few JNF certificates from those early years.



These certificates, which are bound in a large book together, show contributions made to the JNF Land Fund in the name of “Master Ben Zion Stein” on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah on November 23, 1912 (Montreal, Quebec), totaling $425 (nearly $10,000 today) by the Agudath Zion Society of Montreal.



The next page shows all the names of the contributors, most of whom were leaders at the Shaar, as well as being major philanthropists in Montreal’s Jewish community.



The final page notes that, in addition to the contributions made in Ben-Zion Steine’s name to the land fund, his name was also inscribed in the JNF’s golden book—a great honour which the JNF still offers today.



This certificate, from 1958, was in contribution to the Dr. Rabbi Herman Abramowitz Forest. 244 trees were planted by the pupils of the Shaar Hashomayim School on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the State of Israel.

Saturday, May 18, 2024 10 Iyyar 5784