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Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee


As we have written about several times over the past year, the Shaar Hashomayim holds deep ties to the English tradition, especially exemplified in its celebration and commemoration of reigning English monarchs. This past week on June 20th marked 185 years since Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837. The Shaar marked the occasion by holding a special evening service of thanksgiving and praise in Her Majesty’s honour. Interestingly, this service was held during Lazarus Cohen’s first of many years as President of the synagogue.



The Rabbi serving the congregation at the time was Reverend Isidore Myers (1856-1922). It was Rabbi Myers who provided the English translations of the psalms sung for the occasion. He moreover composed lyrics to an original “Jubilee Anthem” in both English and Hebrew. This Jubilee Anthem was presumably sung to the tune of “God Save the Queen.” The opening lyrics are as follows: 

God bless our Sovereign still,

Guard her from every ill,

Lord, we implore!


Rabbi Myers, however, was only with the congregation for one year (1896-1897) and would leave just months later to California. You can read more about Rabbi Myers here (note: the Shaar has a copy of the book mentioned in the linked blog post)


The Chazzan at the time, as noted on the pamphlet was Rev. Victor Rosenstein, who would stay with the Shaar until 1899. Rosenstein eventually moved to Los Angeles where he was the first chazzan hired by a Los Angeles Synagogue. You can read more about Chazzan Rosenstein here, on the website for the Jewish Museum of the American West (it appears he may have been a controversial character). 


Another interesting detail appears at the bottom of pamphlet, noting the name of the printer. 



A. L. Kaplansky, better known as Abraham Leon Kaplansky (1860-1939), established Canada’s first Hebrew and Yiddish printing press shortly after he immigrated to Montreal in 1893 (just four years before this special service). Kaplansky would go on to become one of the most prominent Jews in Canada. 


Read the pamphlet from the Special Service in Honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

Monday, June 17, 2024 11 Sivan 5784