The Jewish Community of Rouyn-Noranda


The Jewish Community of Rouyn-Noranda is a professionally produced, 254-page softcover book featuring more than 40 stories about the life and history of our small Jewish community in northern Quebec, remembered by those who lived there.

Jews were present in Rouyn-Noranda from its earliest pioneer days in the 1920s and were soon numerous enough to form Kneseth Israel Congregation. In the early 1930s they built a small wood-frame synagogue, which served as the focus for all of their communal activities. The building was rebuilt as a brick structure in 1948, coinciding with the birth of the state of Israel.

Many Rouyn-Noranda families, including the Millers, Kormans and Mednicks, became merchants — purveyors of menswear, ladieswear, groceries and other commodities. Others worked as lawyers, butchers, dentists, photographers and hoteliers – there was even a local judge.

The book includes chapters on the Young Judaea chapter which enriched the lives of local Jewish young people, the Krugerdorf Jewish Cemetery near Engelhart, Ontario which served Jewish communities throughout the region, and the several Jewish “war heroes” who were associated with the towns.

By the 1960s, the Jewish community began to shrink as many of the youngsters began going away to college. The synagogue was sold in 1973 and the proceeds donated to Israel. While the synagogue was converted into an apartment building, the façade is protected as a heritage site and still bears its distinctive Magen David window above the main door.

Comprehensive in its scope, the book includes hundreds of black-and-white photographs, many from the personalized collections of former residents. It also includes details of Jewish life in other regional northern communities such as Sudbury, Timmins, Engelhart, Kirkland Lake and Val’ d’Or.

The book was compiled by Rosalie (Mednick) Nepom, Sol Mednick, Esther (Korman) Verred, Harvey Korman and Dr. Isaac Katz, and was edited by Bill Gladstone. Production took almost two years, during which the number of contributors more than doubled.

“The Jews of Rouyn-Noranda: the life and history of a small Jewish community in Northern Quebec (remembered by those who lived there)” is available from Indigo and other booksellers.