Rabbi David Monson z"l
Known affectionately as the "people's rabbi," Rabbi David Aaron Monson z"l
earned many accolades, titles, and praises throughout his extraordinary life. He was dedicated to serving not just the Jewish community, but people from all walks of life, regardless of their race or religion.
Shortly after the Ottawa-born rabbi was ordained at the age of twenty-two, Rabbi Monson z"l
went overseas as a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II.
In Toronto in 1946 after the war, Rabbi Monson z"l
became the founding rabbi of Beth Sholom Synagogue, staging early services in a pharmacy. He was one of the first to officiate at a bat mitzvah in 1953 and, under his leadership. Beth Sholom introduced a mixed choir to the service and allowed men and women to sit together in the sanctuary.
In 1949, Rabbi Monson z"l
and two other Toronto clerics bought a farm on Keele Street and in 1954, Northwestern Hospital opened on the site. In the early 1960s, he was a founder of the Canadian Council for Christians and Jews. Over the years, he served on the Ontario Police Services Commission and many other government committees.
In these same years, he helped establish Or Yehuda, a community centre for underprivileged Iraqi and Romanian children in Israel. He helped in the establishment of the University of Waterloo, organized the Hebrew Association of the Blind, and was named by the Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to the Board of the Canada Council.
Rabbi Monson z"l
was a great supporter of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Centre and, through his persistent efforts, the small hospital he first visited during the Six Day War was transformed into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.
Rabbi David Monson z"l passed away in 1998 at the age of 91.