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Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Museum

Tourism Region: Montreal

Image highlighting the museum Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Museum

The Congregation Shaar Hashomayim has a history spanning some 155 years in three different locations in Montreal, Quebec. The institution plays an important religious and educational role both within the Jewish community and Quebec society.

For many non-Jews, the Shaar Hashomayim represents their first contact with Jewish culture and theology. Group tours and school field trips to the synagogue are frequent.

On September 15, 2001 the Shaar Hashomayim's new museum was officially inaugurated. On October 15, 2002 the "Canadian Jewish Virtual Museum and Archives" was launched with seven partner organizations under the auspices of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.

The second phase of the CJVMA website will begin in April 2003 with new partner organizations from the Atlantic Jewish Council and small Jewish communities in Ontario.



450 Kensington Avenue
Westmount, Quebec
H3Y 3A2

Telephone: 514-937-9474
Fax: 514-937-2067

Visit the Website
Email Us

Hours of Operation

Operations: Year Round • By Appointment

Open: The museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Friday from 9:00 AM to noon.

Closed: Saturday
Jewish and statutory holidays.

Administration fees

Admission: Free

About Collections

Jewish Liturgical and Ritual Objects, Judaic Rare Book Collection, Photographic Collection documenting Jewish Life in Canada and Europe, Extensive collection of documents, minutes, birth and wedding certificates, correspondance, official acts, bulletins and recordings of public lectures.

Approximate number of objects in the collections: 15,000 plus 6,500 Judaic Books


Jewish Women's Institute, Minute Books, Birth, Marriage, and Death Registries of Montreal Jewry from 1857

Electronic Records • Prints and Drawings • Manuscripts • Films and Videos • Photographs • Sound Recordings • Textual Records
Other: Artifacts pertaining to Canadian Jewish life

Decorative Arts

Morrocan and Ethiopian Jewish Folk Art , American Jewish Folk Art, European Jewish Folk Art

Ceramics, Porcelain or Pottery • Glass • Metalwork, Silverwork or Goldwork • Textiles or Tapestries

Fine Arts

Oil Painitings, Illuminated Manuscripts, Tapestry, Sculpture, Watercolor, Lithographs, Diverse Collections of Jewish Artists covering a range of subjects, i.e. Holocaust, portraiture, Biblical renditions etc.

American • Canadian • European

Contemporary • Modern • Historical

Painting • Photography • Prints and Drawings • Sculpture • Sketchbooks or Albums • Film and Video

Folk Art • Religious Art

Human History

The collection is related to Jewish communal and religious life in Canada.

Archaeological Objects • Ceremonial Objects • Costumes and Accessories • Currency • Furniture or Furnishings • Household Objects or Domestic Technology • Imaging : Film : Photographs : Video • Local History • Manuscripts • Medals • Memorabilia • Military History and Technology • Oral History • Printing and Bookbinding • Religious or Liturgical Objects

Services & Activities

The museum is located within the oldest Ashkenazi congregation in Canada, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. Tours of the synagogue are available in French, English, and Hebrew.

Research Services

Geneology, Library of Judaica. Books and facilities may be used on the premises.

Archival Records • Genealogical Research • Library • Video Library
Other: History of Ashkenazi Jews in Canada
Recording of Oral Histories

Educational Programs

The Congregation houses a Jewish Studies Institute educational facility for adults; the Foundation School, offering pre-school programmes; Shaar-Ami, hosting after-school Jewish education; and The Akiva School, a primary Jewish day school.

In addition to the educational centres Congregation Shaar Hashomayim is at the forefront of musical and cultural life of the Quebec Jewish community with gala concerts featuring world renowned performers, a lending library of Jewish music recordings, recordings of congregational choirs and young Jewish talent concerts.

The synagogue sponsors numerous youth programmes including "Ikarim," "Kef/Kadima" (leadership), and JET (Jewish Encounter for Teens), sporting events, performing arts, and community service programmes.

Classes or Workshops • Family Programs • Lectures • School Programs : Age 0-4 (Pre-School) : Age 5-11 (k-6) : Age 12-17 (7-13)(Quebec: Secondary 1-CEGEP) : Age 18 and up (Post-Secondary) • Seniors Programs
Other: Fact, Fiction, Propaganda

This multimedia interactive presentation was designed to teach young adults to be critical thinkers. This is accomplished through analyzing the relationship between fact, fiction and/or opinion, as well as propaganda.

Propaganda is first examined during the Nazi period in order to alert students to its inherent danger; to illustrate the techniques of the propagandist; and to contextualize the historical origins of racist propaganda.

The presentation concludes with an analysis of contemporary propaganda and racism on the Internet.

Visitor Services

Bilingual Services • Films and Videos • Guided Tours : English : French • Accessible by Public Transportation • Gift shop • Cloakroom • Washrooms • Special Needs Facilities : Washrooms : Wheelchair access

Volunteer Services

Volunteer Services Available • Volunteer Training Offered

Number of Volunteers: 10

Activities: Scanning and digitizing archival collections, Museum docents.

Internet Services

General InformationChildren

Publications & Products

Brochures • CD-ROMS • Postcards • Posters • Commemorative Souvenirs • Videos