Jewish Community

Resources, oral histories regarding the Jewish community in Cape Breton.


Congregation Sons of Israel Kippah
Congregation Sons of Israel Kippah
A photo of a ceremonial kippah head covering worn by Jews during prayer. This kippah features the tartan pattern common to Cape Breton, with the name of the synagogue printed inside.
Glace Bay Jewish Cemetery
Glace Bay Jewish Cemetery
A collection of photos of the Jewish Cemetery in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Leon Dubinsky Interview
Leon Dubinsky Interview
Leon Dubinsky was born in 1941, in Sydney, NS. Growing up in Sydney and Whitney Pier, his mother and father ran a grocery store, and later a ship chandlery selling supplies to convoys. They were active members of the Jewish community their entire lives, encouraging extended family to attend synagogue and get involved musically. Rabbi Kenner, himself interested in opera, assembled a choir at the synagogue. Half of the the choir was composed of Dubinsky family members, including Leon's uncles, aunts and cousins. Leon joined when he was 9, along with his siblings. He grew up playing with musicians, and collaborated with prominent Cape Breton musicians such as Rita MacNeil and the Rankin family. Leon was also involved in theatre, studying for an MA in Illinois, and returning to the island to perform in musicals and Shakespeare, which he toured nationally. His music group recorded ten albums of original material, one a year, through the 70s and 80s. His song and arrangement for We Rise Again is certainly his most popular, and is sung internationally. Leon lives in Englishtown, performing regularly during Celtic Colours. In this interview, Leon discusses his family, his father's career, living in Sydney and Englishtown, his music, and the Jewish community through the years. This Interview was conducted over the phone in the fall of 2013 at Cape Breton University by Ely Rosenblum.
Shirley Chernin Interview part 2 of 5
Shirley Chernin Interview part 2 of 5
Shirley Chernin discusses living in Glace Bay and Sydney throughout her life, her involvement in the Jewish Community and her role as a "professional volunteer". Interview recorded by Ely Rosenblum over lunch at Shirley's home
Simon and Norman Rosenblum Interview Part 1 of 2
Simon and Norman Rosenblum Interview Part 1 of 2
Simon Rosenblum and Norman Rosenblum discuss growing up in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, their parents Fanny Gorelick and Arthur Rosenblum, Rosenblum's Ladies wear, the Jewish community, and anti-semitism. Interview conducted by Ely Rosenblum in Toronto, Ontario.
Simon and Norman Rosenblum Interview Part 2 of 2
Simon and Norman Rosenblum Interview Part 2 of 2
Simon Rosenblum and Norman Rosenblum discuss growing up in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, their parents Fanny Gorelick and Arthur Rosenblum, Rosenblum's Ladies wear, the Jewish community, and anti-semitism. Interview conducted by Ely Rosenblum in Toronto, Ontario.
Susan Chernin Interview
Susan Chernin Interview
Susan Chernin discusses growing up in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia at the exhibit Jewish Life on Cape Breton Island at the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, York University. Recorded in Toronto, ON by Ely Rosenblum
Two Soundmarks in Sydney: A Sonic Tour of the Boardwalk
Two Soundmarks in Sydney: A Sonic Tour of the Boardwalk
A soundscape composition of Sydney's downtown boardwalk. These recordings are an experiment of sonic ethnography that engages the listener with the soundscape of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Each soundmark, a term coined by R Murray Schafer, denotes the sound associated with a geographic locale. I encourage you to think in particular about the second soundmark of the waterfront: listen for the sound of the busking fiddler. It is not a live performance, but a recording played out of a speaker mounted in Sydney’s famous World’s Largest Fiddle. In the background we hear ships and the sounds of construction: the changing sonic landscape of a city trying to revive itself and survive in the wake of the shutdown of the steel plant and the coal mine, and reinvent itself as a historic landmark.
Whitney Pier Jewish Cemetery
Whitney Pier Jewish Cemetery
A collection of photographs from the Jewish Cemetery in Whitney Pier, Cape Breton