The Jackson’s Point Community Centre was originally founded in 1948 by the community who felt that a shul was needed for the large number of cottagers who either vacationed in the South Shore of lake Simcoe or made their summer homes there. The land for the building and the two lots to the north were donated to the community by Mr. Shia Wortzman. Initially the one-story, 40 by 65 foot building was constructed with outhouses in the back and very minimal amenities. It did, however, have an Aron Kodesh for the sefer Torah, a binah, chairs, a moveable mechitza and bookcases for the various books needed for prayer services and study. The building had a very modest street frontage and easily blended in with the surrounding cottages. Washrooms were added to the rear of the building proper in the mid 1980’s after a community fund-raising drive.
The shul initially had no official Rabbi, but rather, was led in it’s services by the participants. Over the years, various Toronto-based Rabbonim acted as either the Rabbi of the shul, or provided advice and answers for the various halachic questions that arose. They included Rabbi Price, Rabbi Gedalia Felder, Rabbi Dr. Leibel Zoberman, Rabbi Sholom Gold, and currently, Rabbi Yaacov Felder of Congregation Shomrei Shabbos. Various learned individuals without simicha served in this function as well, particularily Benyamin Rubinoff, Mr. Myer Rosenberg both as Balei Korah and as well Moshe Gross and Harold Mazel.
Initially, although large numbers of Jewish families vacationed in Jackson’s point, with regular deliveries of Kosher meats and groceries arriving weekly from Toronto and a kosher store in the area, the general population was not that welcoming of its Jewish residents, Signs such as “No Dogs or Jews Allowed” were seen on the beaches and in resorts in the area until the early 1960’s The modest appearance of the shul helped to keep a low profile during those times.
Various Presidents have served the community since its inception. They are Nathan Schwartz, Myer Rosenberg, Edward Reiter, and currently Judge Abraham Davis.
Only a short ¾ hour drive from Thornhill and one hour from Bathurst and Lawrence, the area has thrived as a cottage destination for numerous reasons. The route north is primarily along the 404, which avoids the heavy cottage traffic along the 400 to other locations. The lake is very clean with a rocky shoreline and excellent marina and other recreational facilities. Several resorts, hotels and Bed and Breakfast establishments are present providing lodging for guests who want to spend anywhere from a few days to a month in the area. For longer stays, a number of shul regulars rent cottages.
Members of the Shul like to think that the guests, some regulars from Toronto, Hamilton, Brooklyn, etc are not only attracted for the amenities that the area provided, but also for the ample (and some say overwhelming) kiddushim and third Shabbos meals provided by the Shul regulars.
In the summer of 2001 a decision was made by the Shul regulars to upgrade the Shabbos Eruv in the area. Rabbi Steinmetz from the Toronto-based Kollel Avreheim under the direction of Rabbi Shlomo Miller shlita was consulted and agreed to serve since that time to the present as the overseer and advisor to the Eruv. It is considered by many to be one of the finest and most Kosher eruvim in any public area. The Eruv not only encompasses the Shul and cottages of the surrounding regular shul participants, but also includes a local resort hotel, the Ramada Georgina Inn and a popular Bed and Breakfast facility. The Mayor of Georgina had a special order-in-council passed in order to provide the necessary religious rights in the area for use in the Eruv.
It was with full confidence of being able to move about freely on the Sabbath that the Eruv afforded, that new families from Toronto and the surrounding areas began to come to Jackson’s. Since that time in 2001, the participation in the Traditionally Orthodox Shabbos services of members of all Jewish religious denominations has increased to the point that there is a regular count of between 80 to 110 participants at any particular Shabbos Kiddush.
With success in numbers now evident, the shul regulars felt the need to refurbish the facilities to modern standards of comfort, health and safety, while still retaining the traditional look and feel of the three quarter century old building, to say nothing of the limited budget that these few families had to work with. Up to this point, most of the regular maintance and repair to the bulding was provided either by direct care of the members, such as Mr. Lawrence Savlov, or the financial assistance of members such as Lenny Wasser z”lt, and others. Often these repairs and upgrades were done graciously without any discussion or request. There was a need, and these individuals realized the need and responded with a full heart.
During the winter of 2003, the Shul regulars, the Davis, Posner, Harari, Axelrod and Goldwasser families proposed a renovation that would cost about 75,000 and would upgrade the Aron Kodesh, mechitas, the bookcases, washing facilities, lighting, washrooms, alarm system, chairs, air conditioning, cladding on the exterior and two new front windows. The traditional paneling on the walls and the windows were to remain, as was the binah and table set-up.
In order to raise that sum, these families felt the need to involve the greater Jewish community in Jackson’s Point. To this end, Mr. Mendle Green QC and Mr. Julie Wise were contacted in order to spearhead the campaign. These two individuals were well-known and respected in the general community. They understood the need for a continued Jewish presence in the area with the shul as the focal point for at least the next fifty years. The focus was two-fold, the much needed acquisition of funds and to increase the awareness of the shul in the general community, many of who have previously utilized the shul for Kaddish and other events over the years. The campaign was highly successful and not only were the necessary funds raised, but a new awareness of the shul was evident in a new generation, many of whom were children or grandchildren of former shul-goers or even of founding members.
During the summer of 2020, faced with the challenges that the worldwide COVID19 pandemic posed, and to ensure the health and well-being of our attendees, the davening moved outside to the large field area. These two picturesque and private lots were originally provided to the shul by it's founders for the purposes of a septic bed but found a new use as the site for the temporary shul. Rav Yaacov Felder was consulted and in his opinion, the site constituted a real shul with "walls" of trees and hedges all around and a suitable location under a provisional canopy for the Torah readings.
For further information about the shul or how to contribute, please either speak with Judge Davis, Chanan Sturm, Steve Goldwasser or Sam Axelrod. In addition, we generate a weekly email updating the shul-goers with the weekly events. You may email the shul at firstname.lastname@example.org for any general information or to be added to the email list.