Where we come from:
In 1861, the population of Kingston Jews was just five. By 1920, due to the mass exodus from eastern and central Europe, the population grew to 303. These immigrants were generally of modest means. They were able to carve out a living peddling and progressed to being store owners. In the 1960s, the dramatic expansion of universities brought unprecedented numbers of Jewish professionals, mainly academics, to Kingston. Many of their grown children moved to larger centres, but newcomers replaced them. Currently, the Kingston Jewish community is 900 strong.
The birth of an organization:
On the 19th of May, 1947, the Jews of Kingston, at a well-attended meeting, decided to form a Jewish Community Council. At that first meeting, Rabbi Renov said, “Our first goal is to achieve unity – unity of thought and action.” Under the leadership of Sheldon Cohen, the Council became the voice of the Jewish people in Kingston and the nucleus of Jewish life. The new organization served as the coordinating agency for Kingston’s Jewish organizations, and monitored and confronted anti-Semitism.
Our name changed to The Kingston Jewish Council (KJC). in […]. Our purpose remained the same: to strengthen and celebrate Jewish life in Kingston. In support of this goal, we facilitate social, cultural, religious, and educational activities that bring the community together. Our events are often family oriented and child friendly. Indeed, the future of the Kingston Jewish Community is with our children. Today, Kingston is proud to offer two congregations; Beth Israel (which recently changed it’s affiliation to Conservative), and the reform Iyr HaMelech, members of both congregations are automatically members of KJC. Kingston is facing the same challenges that all communities are facing how do we attract more members and increase engagement. At this time it is very important for KJC to follow in the footsteps of our previous leaders and once again become the voice of the Jewish people in Kingston and serve as the coordinating agency for Kingston’s Jewish organizations and be the organization to stand up and confront any anti-semitism in Kingston as well as promote the right of Israel to exist in peace. The original words of Rabbi Renov “our first goal is to achieve unity – unity of thought and action” are as important today as they were 70 years ago. If you would like to become a member of the KJC, or want more information please click on contact us and email us.