News Release Article from  Parks Canada

Government of Canada Commemorates Israel Isaac Kahanovitch as a Person of National Historic Significance

March 24, 2016                             Winnipeg, Manitoba                                            Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada recently unveiled a plaque commemorating the national historic significance of Israel Isaac Kahanovitch. In the early 20th century, Kahanovitch was a leader in the Jewish community across the Prairies, encouraging the growth of educational, social and religious institutions for the sharing of Jewish life and faith and the betterment of his community.

After moving to Winnipeg in 1907, Kahanovitch served as rabbi of an Orthodox congregation at Beth Jacob Synagogue. As people fled persecution in Europe, the Jewish community grew substantially in Western Canada in the early 20th century. Kahanovitch’s extensive knowledge of Jewish law and tradition, and his moderate outlook and engaging personality, were crucial to bringing together people from Jewish communities from different parts of Europe. Though much of his work was of a spiritual nature, his efforts to bridge the religious and the secular contributed significantly to creating a strong Jewish community in Western Canada.

Commemorating Israel Isaac Kahanovitch at the launch of Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada’s exhibit allows families and youth to learn about the history of the Jewish community in their region and how this historical figure contributed to Canada’s rich and diverse heritage As we near the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government invites all Canadians to experience and learn more about our history and cultural heritage..



The Government of Canada is proud to recognize Rabbi Kahanovitch as a person of national historic significance. Rabbi Kahanovitch was a pivotal figure in unifying the Jewish community of western Canada as it grew rapidly in the early 20th century, and many of the institutions he helped to establish continue to be pillars of the community today. These types of designations reflect the rich heritage of our nation and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.”

The Honourable Jim Carr
Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre

“Rabbi Kahanovitch was a seminal figure in the social, cultural and spiritual life of western Canadian Jewry. His influence has reverberated over the years and to this day his accomplishments are well recognized.”

Mr. Mark Kantor
President of the Board of Directors, Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada


Quick Facts

  •  For over 30 years, Israel Isaac Kahanovitch was widely recognized as the Chief Rabbi of Western Canada, the first and only to have such a geographically vast rabbinate.·        
  • Kahanovitch was a respected authority over Orthodox congregations on questions of halachah (Jewish law), kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) and ceremony in Western Canada.
  • He was involved in the founding of the Canadian Jewish Congress and was a delegate at the inaugural Congress, held in 1919.


Related Product

Backgrounder: Israel Isaac Kahanovitch (1872-1945)


Associated Links

News release: Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historical Significance of Abraham Albert Heaps and Israel Isaac Kahanovitch

Parks Canada

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history. Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that make up the rich tapestry of Canada’s cultural heritage and which offers visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discoveries.

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Caitlin Workman
Office of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

Caption of Image:  Israel Isaac Kahanovitch, Chief Rabbi of Western Canada.

Israel Isaac Kahanovitch, Chief Rabbi of Western Canada.

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Hon. James Gordon Carr Parks Canada History and Archaeology

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