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Quebec Jews Dedicate New Synagogue Despite Attempt by Anti-semites to Fire Building

May 22, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A 18-year battle by the Quebec Jewish community to erect a Jewish house of worship in this city was culminated today when Congregation Beth Israel Ohev Sholem dedicated a new synagogue, despite last minute efforts by anti-Semitic vandals who attempted to set the structure afire.

When officials of the congregation arrived at the synagogue today prior to the dedication ceremonies, they found that the windows had been smeared with kerosene and ignited rags thrown into the building. The fire blackened the walls but did not seriously damage the interior. Police have started an investigation of the attempted arson. The opening ceremonies proceeded on schedule despite the fire.

From the time the synagogue project was first broached in 1932 it encountered opposition from the Quebec municipal administration and certain reactionary French-Canadian groups here. A municipal bylaw prohibiting the erection of the synagogue was fought successfully in the courts. Although the city authorities appealed the courts’ decisions, it is thought that they will cease fighting now that the synagogue has been erected.

Leaders of the Canadian Jewish Congress and other Jewish personages were present at the dedication ceremonies which were climaxed by a banquet this evening. Dr. David Melnik, rabbi of the congregation, said that after war-time building restrictions are lifted further floors will be added to the synagogue which consists of only a lower floor at present.

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