Abraham Tanenbaum was a founder and early
member of Knesseth Israel synagogue. He migrated to Toronto
in 1911 from Parczew, Poland with eight dollars to his
name. He later became a peddler, collecting scrap metal
around the city. In 1914, after he had saved enough money,
he brought his wife, Chippa Sura, and two sons, Joseph
and Max, to Canada. The Orthodox Jewish family lived in
the Junction in a house on Maria
Street, directly across from the Synagogue.
Abraham would often be found studying the Talmud
or having lunch on Shabbat
with visiting rabbis.
made his fortune brick by brick, by demolishing old buildings
free-of-charge for the right to search through the rubble
for salvageable scraps. He later established the Runnymede
Metal and Salvage Company, which became the second largest
steel fabricator in Toronto. With the help of his sons,
Abraham built his profitable business into an empire based
upon steel fabrication and real estate.
Abraham and Chippa Sura were generous people who lived
by the Jewish principle of philanthropy and benevolence.
Joey Tanenbaum, Abraham and Chippa Sura’s grandson,
followed the charitable teachings of his grandparents
and became a well-respected philanthropist in Toronto
in the area of arts and culture. Joey also funded the
restoration of Knesseth Israel synagogue and donated the
heritage plaque in his grandparents’ memory.
TO KNESSETH ISRAEL - THE SYNAGOGUE TODAY
Tanenbaum family portrait
(March 26, 1939)