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The 1967 Time Capsule


A few weeks ago, we wrote about a time capsule which was dislodged from the 1967 cornerstone of the building. This week, some 55 years later, we’re sharing in greater detail just what that time capsule contains. 


Canada, Montreal, and the Shaar in 1967

1967 was a monumental year for Canada, Montreal, Jewish Canadians, Israel, and the Shaar. Canada was marking its centennial; Montreal was at the centre of the worlds’ stage as the host of Expo 67 (at which the Shaar’ Rabbi Shuchat created the Pavilion of Judaism); and Israel had just won the 6-day war.


Meanwhile, Montreal’s Jewish community and, as a result, the Shaar’s membership, was greatly expanding. It became evident that the Shaar would need to expand to accommodate the increase in congregants. The congregation launched a campaign entitled “Progress Through Expansion” to raise funds for the expansion and, on October 1, 1967, the cornerstone was laid.





So what’s in the time capsule?

  The time capsule contains a diverse array of documents. The first are materials that provide context about Canada in 1967 and Jews in 1967. This includes a few pamphlets and papers relating to Canada’s centennial and Expo 67, and a time magazine issue about the 6-day war.



Declaration by the Canadian Interfaith Conference.



Souvenir booklet from Expo 67’s Pavilion of Judaism



The rest of the documents in the time capsule all relate to the Shaar. This includes the printed New Years Announcements from 1967, the program for the laying of the cornerstone, a photograph of the Shaar building prior to the expansion, and the text of the sermon delivered by Rabbi Shuchat on the occasion of the laying of the cornerstone, tantalizingly entitled “The To-Morrow of the Shaar,” in which he reflects on the history of the Shaar and the future of the Shaar moving forward as they expand. 




Most fascinating above all, however, are three letters from the Synagogue’s then-President Dr. Harry Ballon, the synagogue’s Parnass Jules Roos, and from Rabbi Shuchat. In Rabbi Shuchat’s letter he begins “To the Rabbi and President of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim many years hence-shalom!” He then details what to find in the time capsule and ends with the following reflection: “We are far from living in a world of peace. The Jewish People after the terrible destruction of the Nazi Period 1933-1945 are making spiritual and national progress everywhere except in Soviet Russia.”


Link to full documents in the time capsule

Sunday, July 14, 2024 8 Tammuz 5784