The Community Today

North Bay has been described as an attractive place for Jewish families, small enough to be comfortable and large enough to sustain its Jewish cultural activities and a synagogue. However, like many other small towns, a lack of professional opportunities and the difficulty of finding a Jewish spouse were cited as the most common reasons for leaving North Bay. But for already established professional families, North Bay has been a good place to raise children.

In 2007, the synagogue was damaged by flooding caused by a burst water pipe. There was $150,000 worth of damage, most of which was covered by insurance, but emergency funds were raised to repair the roof, siding and interior. The wooden Torah Ark had to be rebuilt, but luckily the three Torah scrolls were not damaged. A strong showing of community goodwill arose from the incident. The congregation was aided by the St. Andrew’s United Church and the Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption, both of which contributed financial support for the repairs. In turn, North Bay’s local mosque generously invited the Jewish community to use their new facility while the work was being done. When thanked by the community for his support, the Bishop of the Catholic Church stated that “all of the church congregations did not want North Bay to be without a synagogue.” After this crisis, the congregation was extremely moved by the level of support that they received from the churches and the Islamic community in town.

In July of 2008, the North Bay Municipal Heritage Committee conducted an evaluation of the Sons of Jacob Synagogue. In their review of the building’s history, architectural significance and place in the community, they recommended the synagogue be recognized a Priority One heritage building. A ceremony was held at the synagogue on 14 July 2009, which included the installation of an historical plaque to mark the building’s official designation as a heritage landmark.

Support from the community
Support from the community

Herb Brown talks about how the non-Jewish community helped out after a water pipe burst and did serious damage to the Synagogue.

Interview with Herb Brown, 14 August 2007, Sharon Gubbay Helfer. OJA, Oral History #345

Click here to watch the video