Montreal's Jewish neighbourhood of Papineau

Going to shul

Audio is ON {Note: Photographs of the Red Shul can be seen in the Photos section of the main menu.) Peter: The Red Shul. Philip: Red, because the bricks were red because just past it there was a White Shul also, and the bricks were white. I remember the Red Shul as a place with lovely activity all the time. Kids running in and out. Kids parents yelling at the kids to keep quiet. Other parents, other men yelling at, not their kids, at other kids, yelling. And the women used to be separate from the men. The women were upstairs, the men were downstairs It was a real real joyous place, synagogue. Peter: How often did you guys go there. Philip: I'm not sure really how often, but my father would take us. We may have gone once a week. Especially in the summer. Lots of fun. Lots of fun. And then there were the bar mitzvahs. Peter: Did most guys have bar mitzvahs? Philip: At that time, everybody had bar mitzvahs. I didn't because my mother was delivering Judy. So I was called up though....But that was a great, great place Peter: So did they have to have bar mitzvah lessons or.... Philip: No, We all took lessons, from Mr Charness. I can't remember whether the Hebrew that we took was only at Mrs Wolofsky's place. Because we also went to a Talmud Torah on Marquette and St Zotique which was a tremendously active place. With a lot of rooms and I remember our teacher's name was Mr Elimelech. Peter: Yeah, you told me about him. Philip: I think I talked about him and I talked about Hillu Diamond coming to the door one time, and I can't remember who it was that said, "Hillu, what do you want?" "I want to see Rabbi Elimelech." So he was called to the door, and Hillu had a water pistol and just sprayed him all. Peter: (laughter) Are you serious? Philip: I'm serious for sure. Hillu ended up one of the best violin musicians that there was. The father used to ....I remember at a particular time, the father chasing Hillu in the whole neighbourhood of Papineau looking for him because the teacher was there and Hillu didn't show up for his violin lesson. He was quite a wild little kid but a terrific kid. And then there's the White Shul.
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