Fonds - Rabbi Israel Isaac Kahanovitch fonds

Rabbi Kahanovitch Marriage Registers Book 1 B 1 Marriage Register, June, 1938 to September 1940 [Rabbi Kahanovitch marriage registrations 1943-1944] [Rabbi Kahanovitch marriage registrations 1909-1911 and other notes] Marriage Register, September, 1940 to May, 1943 Marriage Registers index 1

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Rabbi Israel Isaac Kahanovitch fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1909-1945, 1961-1987 (Creation)
    Rabbi Israel Isaac Kahanovitch

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20 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Rabbi Israel Isaac Kahanovitch was a prominent Winnipeg rabbi and the Chief Rabbi of Western Canada.

Kahanovitch was born in Grodno, Poland in 1872. He studied in Grodno and in Slobodka, Lithuania, receiving his ordination at age 20; he practiced as a rabbi in Poland for a brief time. In 1896 he married R. Kleiman, with whom he had seven children. Fleeing pogroms in 1905, Kahanovitch moved to North America and led a congregation in Scranton, Pennsylvania until 1906.

Rabbi Kahanovitch moved to Winnipeg in 1906 and lectured at both Shaarey Zedek Synagogue and House of Jacob. An agreement between all of the synagogues in the city he was named the Chief Rabbi of Winnipeg.

In addition to serving as Rabbi, Kahanovitch was instrumental in founding a number of the most prominent Jewish organizations in Winnipeg. These include the Winnipeg Free School, Canadian Jewish Congress Western Division and United Hebrew Charities. He was also a prominent member of Winnipeg’s B’nai Zion Society, the Zionist Council of Winnipeg, Zionist Organization of Canada and United Palestine Appeal.

Across the rest of Western Canada, Rabbi Kahanovitch helped found synagogues and schools in many communities. He also arbitrated kashrut disputes in Calgary, Saskatoon, and Regina. As Chief Rabbi of Western Canada he was considered the only rabbi of performing a religious divorce.

Kahanovitch supported immigration of Polish Jews in cooperation with the Jewish Immigration Aid Society. He also raised money for Jews in Russia and Morocco, supported wartime relief efforts, campaigned against anti-Semitism in Canada and led boycotts of Nazi Germany. He was a religious Zionist, but encouraged cooperation with Labor Zionists in support of Jewish causes in Palestine.

Rabbi Kahanovitch died in Winnipeg in 1945.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of marriage registers and other records of Rabbi Israel Isaac Kahanovitch as well as additional records collected by family members Nazi war crimes.

Volumes of marriage registers record information about the bride and groom and other details about the wedding. Later volumes use the official City of Winnipeg forms and record more information than earlier volumes.

Other records of Kahanovitch relate to religious divorces, immigration and other legal documents. These records also include condolence cards on the death of his wife and cards to his family after his own death.

Newspaper clippings relate to Nazi war crimes, war criminals in Canada and anti-Semitism. These appear to have been collected by other members of the Kahanovitch family well after the rabbi’s death and do not appear to be related to Rabbi Kahanovitch.

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Physical condition

Some of the marriage registers are in fragile condition and are closed for preservation. See file list for further information.

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  • English
  • Yiddish
  • Hebrew

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Some records in this fonds are in Yiddish or Hebrew.

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Photocopies of marriage registers are available and should be consulted as far as possible.

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Finding aids

The marriage registers have been indexed. This index is available in the attached file list. Some of the information was illegible or missing from the originals and some errors may occur in the index.

The index is also available in the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada article index at:

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