The Beth Jacob Synagogue
Pearl and Max B. Herman Centre
The Beth Jacob Synagogue / Pearl and Max B. Herman Jewish Community Centre is home to the Jewish community of Regina. This community has existed since 1905.
At that time, we were comprised of Jewish families who were fleeing persecution from Eastern European countries in the late 19th century. In 1891, there were only nine Jews living in Regina; thatnumber grew steadily, and Beth Jacob became an incorporated entity in 1905.Over the years the Jewish community in Regina grew and thrived, with the population reaching its peak in the late 1950s to early 60s. Since then, we have experienced a steady decline as families moved to larger centres. Today the membership of Beth Jacob totals approximately 80 families.
Beth Jacob owes its name to the fact that services were originally held at the residence of Jacob Schachter (literally “House of Jacob”).
In 1913, however, construction of our first synagogue, which was located on Ottawa Street between Victoria and 13th Avenue, began with a cornerstone-laying ceremony attended by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and the mayor of Regina; it remained our home until 1951, when a newer building was erected on Victoria Avenue.Beth Jacob spent over 40 years at that location before relocating to our current building on McTavish Street in 1992.
Although we may be small in number, Beth Jacob remains a vibrant community. Our goal is to continue to be meaningful to Jews of the 21st century and leave a legacy for the generations to come.
Pearl and Max B. Herman
The Herman family originally came from the region of what was known as Bessarabia, in pre-revolutionary Russia, and what is currently the country of Moldova. They emigrated to New York in the early 1900s, in an effort to escape religious persecution.
Max, who also went by the nick-name ‘Bucky’ (thus, the ‘B’ in his name), was born there in 1912. Max’s father and mother were the only Herman family members who moved to Canada, deciding to settle in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Eventually, the family located in Wadena, Saskatchewan, to be closer to a source of raw furs; Harry, or Aharon by his Hebrew name, head of the family and Max’s father, was involved in the fur trade by profession.
Sid Herman, Max’s younger brother, was born in Winnipeg in 1917.
In 1938, Sid and Max both moved to Regina. That year. Max met and married Pearl Krivel whose family, originally from the town of Lipton, Saskatchewan, had a grocery store in the city. They resided in Regina until 1958, then moved permanently to Las Vegas, Nevada, although they both retained family ties to Regina (the Hermans and the Krivels) and remained members of the Regina Jewish Community and the Beth Jacob Synagogue.
In 1938, prior to World War II, Max operated a small used car business in Regina and shared with Sid a small part of the company. This was the beginning of Herman Brothers, which originally operated at the corner of Albert Street and 12th Avenue. Max was also later involved in the home-building business in Regina.
World War II onward
During World War II, while stationed with the Royal Canadian Air Force in the United Kingdom, Sid became acquainted with what were known as “caravans” – small, moveable houses ot businesses, often horse-drawn, many of which were used by Roma who did laundry for Allied service personnel. He got the idea that a modern version of such a product would be very practical for Saskatchewan’s urban and rural settings. On return, he convinced Max of this and they took steps to pioneer the sale here of trailers and large mobile homes. The business moved from the city centre to an expanded location in the south, at the junction of highways #1 and #6 in the late 1950s, at about the same time Max sold his share to Sid and moved to the United States.
Max and Pearl, very much a co-equal team, became involved in the hotel/motel business in Las Vegas, eventually owning three such businesses during their ‘second careers’: The Apache (in the downtown area of the city, used by many entertainers of colour at a time when they were not permitted accommodation at major hotels), The Gold Key, and The Jamaica (on the famous ‘Las Vegas Strip’).
Max and Pearl remained committed to Regina even after their departure in the 1950s. They visited numerous times, always making the journey by car – Max would not fly! At the time of their deaths more than 30 years later (Max in 1989, Pearl in 1990), they bequeathed a sizeable estate to the Regina Jewish Community/Beth Jacob Synagogue and, particularly, to the University of Regina. The former now call their home the Pearl and Max B. Herman Centre, located at 4715 McTavish Street in Regina’s southwest. The bequest to the University of Regina provides two bursaries annually for students, supports the University library’s Judaica and religious studies acquisitions, and assists in financing a programme of speakers and studies focused on Judaism and religious tolerance.
Max and Pearl were warm and loving people who did not have children of their own.
They are buried together in Regina, in the Jewish Community cemetery just off Broad Street and 4th Avenue.
The Herman name had originally been recorded as a possible street name by Regina’s Library Board sometime in the period 2000-2003 upon a petition from Sidney Herman, and the use had been allocated to the firm of Harvard Developments Inc.
On January 21, 2008, the Civic Naming Committee of Regina decided to formally honour Max and Sidney Herman by agreeing that a street carrying the family name should be created.
In February, 2008, Harvard stated that it would use the Herman name in one of its new developments planned for the northwest area of the city. Herman crescent is found in the sub-division of Edgewater, adjacent to Pinkie Road and Sherwood Drive.