The history of the Jewish communities of Canada is one that can be closely tied to the fur trade and expansion. Beginning with members of the army of General Jeffrey Amherst, who would be the first Jews to settle in Canada when they settled in Montreal in the 1760's, the Jews took advantage of being unrestricted in their movements and began to settle throughout Canada. Such is the case of the Beth Jacob Congregation of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
In her book, The Beth Jacob Story (FHL book # 971.352/H1 K2c), Majorie Freeman Campbell recounts the history of that congregation. Beginning with the first Jewish residents, who were of German origin, she tells the stories of not only the founding of the congregation but also of those people who who would become its foundation.
From its early years, composed mostly of fur traders and peddlers, Majorie tells the history of the world as well as the congregation, which brings to life the struggles and heartache so many overcame to begin their new lives in Canada. The stories of the growth of the community complete with the history of the Synagogue and burial ground are fascinating reading, and the genealogical information on the families of the area brings the entire community to life. It is truly a wonderful book.
The information on some of the families has now been added to the Knowles Collection- Jews of the Americas.