Montreal, Quebec
Montreal, QuebeciStock

With its membership decreasing due to age and lack of interest, the South Shore Jewish community in the Montreal, Canada suburbs has been faced with the difficult decision of closing its main communal organization.

The South Shore Jewish Community (SSJC), which has existed since 1994, is now disbanding. With its members becoming elderly and few new faces moving to the area, there is a lack of resources to keep it going, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

The community once numbered over 130 families. A decision was made to close up their organization rather than squander its remaining small amount of money, with the majority of members in their 70s and the job of leading the community being left for a “dozen elderly people.”

"It’s painful, it hurts, but we have no choice,” community president Jacques Saada told the CJN. “The generation that founded the SSJC is dwindling. Despite our tremendous efforts, we were never able to attract a new generation.”

The volunteer-driven SSJC, located in a strip mall, had reopened for in-person events a few months ago after covid restrictions were removed. But attendance was lackluster.

Saada, who has led the community since 2013, explained that many members have moved elsewhere or travel to larger Jewish communities in Montreal for events, even though some new families of Russian and South African descent have moved into the neighborhood. He said those families had not been interested in joining the local community.

The SSJC’s reach went from the St. Lawrence River all the way to the US border. It valued diversity and had Ashkenazi and Sephardi members, along with various levels of observance. It also attracted people of modest means along with members with bigger incomes.

The SSJC had for the last few years affiliated itself with the Communauté Sépharade Unifiée du Québec, which Saada also headed. It was also linked with the Federation in Montreal, from which it received an annual grant of $5,000.

The community’s lease on the SSJC building expires in June.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)