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The Atlantic Jewish Council

Halifax

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Jewish Life in Halifax

Halifax is a charming city on the East Coast of Canada with a lively and vibrant Jewish community of approximately two thousand people. At any given time of the year, there are numerous Jewish programs and initiatives happening throughout Halifax. To learn more about these programs, please click here and sign up for our weekly newsletter here!

Jewish Institutions in Halifax

Atlantic Jewish Council (The Jewish Federation, a community-based organization)
5670 Spring Garden Rd., Suite 309
Halifax, NS
B3J 1H6
Phone: (902)-422-7491

Beth Israel Synagogue (Orthodox)
Rabbi: Yakov Kerzner
1480 Oxford St.
Halifax, NS B3H 3Y8
Phone: (902) 422-1301
Fax: (902) 422-7251

Chabad-Lubavitch of the Maritimes
Rabbi Mendel and Bassie Feldman
1171 Waterloo St.
Halifax, NS B3H 3L6
Phone: (902) 422-4222

Halifax Joint Hebrew School (Shaar Shalom & Beth Israel Synagogues)
Administrator Phone: (902) 999-5394
Email: halifaxhebrewschool@gmail.com

Shaar Shalom Congregation (Conservative)
Rabbi Gary Karlin
1981 Oxford St.
Halifax, NS B3H 4A4
Phone: (902) 423-5848
Fax: (902) 422-2580

 


Kosher Food in Halifax

BREAD:

Stone Hearth Bakery
Stone Hearth Bakery
7071 Bayers Road
Suite LL05
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3L 2C2
Phone: (902) 454-2851
Fax: (902) 454-2881

This is a local bakery under the strict supervision of Rabbi Yakov Kerzner from the Beth Israel Synagogue (HK). All Stone Hearth products are Kosher Pareve. The breads, rolls and bagels are “Pat Palter”. Their products are also available in the local grocery stores, e.g. Sobeys.

Ben’s Bakery
The following products of Ben’s Bakery do not bear a kosher supervision marking on the label but Rabbi Kerzner (from the Beth Israel Synagogue) has ascertained their kosher status. The following products are kosher ONLY WHEN BEARING THE INK-JETTED CODES 2505, 2503, 2405, AND THE PRODUCTS DO NOT CONTAIN RAISIN JUICE CONCENTRATE.

  • Texas Toast, white and whole wheat
  • Butternut Thick 100% Wheat Bread
  • Villaggio Breads, white and whole wheat, hot dog and hamburger buns
  • Holsum Bread, white and whole wheat
  • Holsum Hot Dog and Hamburg Buns (white and whole wheat)
  • Ben’s Hot Dog and Hamburg Buns (white and whole wheat) and Subs
  • Xtra Soft Breads, white and whole wheat
  • Soft Sandwich, white and whole wheat

Canada Bread Company products baked in the Halifax Plant and the Moncton plant are kosher. Those baked in the Halifax plant should have HX stamped on the plastic fastener, while products baked in the Moncton Plant should have MO stamped on the plastic fastener;  however, sometimes the HX or MO are inadvertently cut out by machinery.

There is also an “inkjet code” printed on each bag.  The code for the Halifax Plant is 02 and the code for the Moncton Plant is 05.

East Coast Bakery
East Coast Bakery
6257 Quinpool Rd
Halifax, NS B3L 1A4
(902) 429-6257

All products including Challah breads, loaves, and rolls are Kosher Parve-certified by the Chabad of the Maritimes.

Pete’s Frootique
Halifax Store
1515 Dresden Row
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(902) 425-5700

Sweet challahs and rolls from Montreal Kosher bakery arrive in the stores each Friday night and they are immediately frozen. These frozen products are available any day of the week at the deli counter or on the shelves on Thursday and Friday.

WINE AND GRAPE JUICE:

A selection of kosher wines can be found at the following locations:

Bishop’s Cellar
1479 Lower Water Street,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(902) 490-2675

Port of Wines
5431 Doyle Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(902) 422-0680

Nova Scotia Liquor Commission (NSLC)

Sobeys on Queen Street carries Manischewitz sweet wine.

Quinpool Market Superstore carries a wider selection of wines.

Grape Juice is usually available at Sobeys on Queen Street.

CHEESE:

Hard Cheeses:

  • A selection of hard cheeses is sometimes available at Sobeys on Queen Street in the kosher section near the back of the store.
  • Costco sells two types of Bothwell Cheese bricks (OU) – old cheddar & smoked gouda.

Soft Cheeses:

  • Goat cheese, ricotta and cottage cheese are available at Sobeys and Superstore in the health food sections as well as at Pete’s Frootique.
  • Creamed cottage cheese (4 x 113g) is available at Superstore under the No Name label and Nordica Brand.

CANADIAN HASHGACHOT:

COR: KASHRUTH COUNCIL OF CANADA

MK: MONTREAL KOSHER

BCK: BRITISH COLUMBIA KOSHER

HK: HALIFAX KOSHER

GROCERY STORES:

The following stores have selections of kosher products in specially marked Kosher sections and/or other items marked kosher on the regular grocery shelves:

Quinpool Market Superstore
6139 Quinpool Road
(902) 425-1498
This store carries some kosher dairy products, breads, baked goods, packaged dry goods. Many of their house brand products such as cookies, carbonated beverages, pastas etc., bearing the labels “President’s Choice”, “Blue Menu”, “No Name” and “PC Organics” are kosher under various recognized supervisions. There is also a Nova Scotia Liquor Commission Store in the same plaza that carries kosher wine.

Barrington Market Superstore
1075 Barrington Street
(902) 492-3240
This location carries some kosher dairy products, breads, baked goods and packaged dry goods,  Many of their house brand products such as cookies, carbonated beverages, pastas etc., bearing the labels “President’s Choice”, “Blue Menu”, “No Name” and “PC Organics” are kosher under various recognized supervisions.

Sobeys on Queen Street
1120 Queen Street
(902) 422-9884
This store carries some kosher dairy products, packaged dry goods, breads and baked goods, deli products, frozen raw poultry and beef and raw fish. Many of the house brands under the “Our Compliments” and “Smart Choice” labels are kosher under various recognized supervisions. The in-store liquor store carries Manishchewitz wine.

Pete’s Frootique
Bedford Store
1595 Bedford Highway, Sunnyside Mall
Bedford, Nova Scotia
(902) 835-4997

Halifax Store
1515 Dresden Row,
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(902) 425-570
Pete’s has a small selection of kosher dry goods and dairy products, such as yogurt, and soft cheese.

Costco
230 Chain Lake Dr
Halifax, NS B3S 1C5
(902) 876-7788

137 Countryview Dr
Dartmouth, NS B3B 0E7
(902) 481-7635
Costco has a good selection of kosher cookies, crackers, granola bars, cereals, herring, cream cheese, hummus, chips, popcorn, fresh vegetables and fruits, and other food.

DINING OUT:

Chabad-Lubavitch of the Maritimes
Rabbi Mendel and Bassie Feldman
1171 Waterloo Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3L6
Phone: (902) 422-4222
Chabad will prepare kosher meals for you with advance notice. All food is Cholov Yisrael and Pat Yisrael.

Sorry, but there are no Kosher restaurants in our area.


The History of the Jewish Community of Halifax

The first Jews arrived in Halifax in 1750, a year after the city was founded and established as a fort. By 1752, there were as many as 30 Jewish men, women, and children living in Halifax. Very early, a town plan allocated a separate cemetery for Jewish use in an area near what is now the corner of Brunswick Street and Spring Garden Road. However, the site was never utilized as it was expropriated for a jail in 1758.

The first Jewish settlers came from Newport, Rhode Island. Most were merchants. One of the most noted early residents was Samuel Hart, who arrived in 1781. A decade later, Samuel Hart entered politics and was to be elected to the Provincial Legislature for Lunenburg County. Although he could be considered an elected Jew, the laws were such that he had to convert so as to swear an oath on the Christian Bible.

Between the 1820s and 1860s, few records remain and the Jewish population of Halifax may in fact have disappeared for much of that time.

By the 1860s, however, the numbers begin to rise once again and Jewish weddings and other community events were recorded in public halls and private homes.

As new immigrants began to enter the city after fleeing the renewed Pogroms in Russia, the 1890s saw the foundation of the community. The need for a proper home of worship soon became obvious and the Baron de Hirsch Hebrew Benevolent Society was founded in 1891. A Jewish death forced the 1893 purchase of land on Windsor Street, for the site of what remains the Jewish cemetery for the city.

In 1894 a former First Congregation Baptist Church on the corner of Starr Street and Hurds Lane was purchased. With the generous contributions of Christian congregations in the city, repairs were made and the building made ready to serve as both synagogue and school for the community. On February 19th, 1895, the Synagogue was dedicated and within an hour witnessed its first wedding, that of Sarah Cohen and Harry Glube. These dual events received wide coverage in all local newspapers, including almost full transcripts of the many speeches and prayers made.

By 1901, the Jewish population of Halifax had grown to 118. As immigration continued, the Jewish community began to feel the strain of existing within non-Jewish society and answering the demands of the ever growing Canadian Jewish society. Sometime around 1912, the Webber family opened their own, private synagogue on Proctor Street, under the name, The Webber Shul.

In 1913, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Halifax charged the kosher butcher, Rabbi Abraham Levitt, with inhumane practices in municipal court. The case panicked the larger Canadian Jewish population and demonstrated the subtle anti-Semitic attitudes in Halifax at the time. The case was lost for the Jewish community who immediately appealed. With the help of a Montreal Rabbi, a Dalhousie University physiologist, and a more favourable judge, the case was overturned on appeal.

On the morning of December 6th, 1917, the Halifax Explosion damaged the Starr Street Synagogue beyond repair. Not until 1920 was sufficient moneys raised to purchase a new site on Robie Street. Consecrated in the following year, the community soon added a Community Centre on Quinpool Road. The Webber Shul and Baron de Hirsch Congregations reunited in 1936, only to divide once again in the 1950s.

In 1953, a conservative congregation, Shaar Shalom, was established, and dedicated their synagogue on Oxford Street on October 31st, 1954. The orthodox Baron de Hirsch Congregation constructed a new synagogue, the Beth Israel, also on Oxford Street, and it was officially opened October 21st, 1957.

The Jewish community of Halifax has continued to grow and is now the largest population east of Montreal. With approximately 1,500 Jews and various organizations still active from the 1920s and all the decades since, Halifax’s Jewish community continues to make history and struggle for a definition.

Reference

Medjuck, Sheva. (1986). Jews of Atlantic Canada. St. John’s: Breakwater Books Ltd.