Beth Israel Synagogue
Willow Creek RM 458, Saskatchewan, S0E, Canada
Links and documents
1906/01/01 to 1908/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Beth Israel Synagogue is a Municipal Heritage Property situated on a Legal Subdivision (16 ha) located in the RM of Willowbunch, 13.5 kilometres southeast of of the Hamlet of Gronlid. The property features a cemetery which was established in 1906 and a wood-frame synagogue which was built in 1908.
The heritage value of the Beth Israel Synagogue resides in its status as the oldest surviving synagogue in Saskatchewan. The impetus to build the synagogue came from a group of Jewish settlers who immigrated to Saskatchewan from Lithuania via South Africa in 1906 to found the Edenbridge Hebrew Colony. Shortly after their arrival, the new settlers established a cemetery and erected the synagogue to continue their faith in their new home. The synagogue also served as a social and cultural gathering place for the community.
The heritage value of the Beth Israel Synagogue also lies in its architecture. The unassuming exterior with simple clapboard siding, rounded-arch windows and modest ornamentation belies the striking interior which is entirely encompassed with elegant wood paneling. The building is designed with a second floor balcony to accommodate female worshippers, in accordance with the Orthodox tradition, which separates male and female congregants. The copious use of wood in the interior and the second floor balcony are uncommon features of rural places of worship in Saskatchewan.
Rural Municipality of Willow Creek No. 458 Bylaw No. 02-03.
The heritage value of the Beth Israel Synagogue resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those features reflecting the property's function as a place of worship for the Jewish faith, including religious ornamentations and decorations, signage, pews, Aron Kodesh, Binah, cemetery and balcony for female worshippers;
-those features reflecting the simple nature of the building's exterior architecture, including unadorned clapboard siding and round-arched windows on the front façade;
-those features which reflect the elaborate nature of the building's interior, such as the wood door and wall paneling.;
-the location of the building next to the cemetery on their original location.
Local Governments (SK)
Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)
Municipal Heritage Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation
Heritage Resources Branch
1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK
File: MHP 101
Cross-Reference to Collection