Baron de Hirsch Institute

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Baron de Hirsch Institute

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Dates of existence

1891-

History

In 1863, the Young Men's Hebrew Benevolent Society (YMHBS) was formed by young unmarried men with the desire to help Jews in need. The Society also allowed the young Jewish men of Montreal to get to know each other better and care for their social welfare needs. By 1882, the Society could not cope financially with the influx of immigrants arriving from Russia, most who were destitute and had no other means of support. The YMHBS appealed to Baron Maurice de Hirsch and in 1891, the new Baron de Hirsch Institute opened and was dedicated to the purpose of a "Free School for the poor children of the Jewish faith and a home for sheltering distressed immigrants and orphans." In 1900, the Baron de Hirsch Institute enlarged its sphere and, in recognition of their namesake's generous support, obtained a new charter of incorporation under the name Baron de Hirsch Institute and Hebrew Benevolent Society of Montreal. In 1917, because of the overlapping of charitable and philanthropic work in the community, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (today's Federation CJA) was founded and began operation out of the Baron de Hirsch Institute building. The Baron de Hirsch Institute in turn became one of the agencies of the new organization; continuing its activities with the religious school, a library, cemetery management, family welfare, legal aid and the Hebrew Court of Arbitration.

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