Social activities have always been an important part of the various Synagogues in Saint John.
The Museum has photographs of a Young Judaea basketball team dated 1922, and a Young Judaea dinner photo showing the mothers who catered the dinner from approximately 1955.
The women of the community have always been available to support the mother of a Bar Mitzvah boy, stepping up to help cook for and serve as many as 300 invitees. The menu was varied, but usually included
meatballs, mini hot dogs in sauce, kugel, various salads, as well as a variety of sweets, and usually a Bar Mitzvah cake.
We never called to ask women to come in to help, everyone knew that the Thursday and Friday prior to the Bar Mitzvah, you just showed up to help.
Then there were the Holiday events.
Chanukah was always celebrated with a full chicken dinner, with latkes enough for as many as 200 people, sponsored by Sisterhood.
There were also Chanukah gift bags for the children, also sponsored by Sisterhood.
Sisterhood has occasionally held dinners for Rosh Hashanah, again, usually a full chicken dinner, and always a Break the Fast meal following Yom Kippur. The meal usually consisted of scrambled eggs, bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon, kugel, herring, salad, cinnamon bread, etc.
Henrietta Szold Chapter of Hadassah Wizo ( Saint John) was very active, holding social events at members’ homes, hosting Hadassah Maritime conventions, again with full course dinners, and a Social following Friday evening Services with a wide variety of sweets.
Over the years, various groups of women would go into the Synagogue kitchen and bake sweets to be served after Saturday morning Services.
There was always a variety of sweets in the freezer. And in a question of “where were you when…”, we were in the Synagogue baking when 9/11 happened in New York City, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Sisterhood also held a Casino evening and various other fun events.
Sisterhood was the driving force behind most of the social events in the community up until approximately 2010. However, there were also other active groups in the community. There was a Seniors club that was active for a number of years, holding not only meetings but social events as well.
At one time we had a very successful choir in the community; we also had a theatre group that put staged plays for the whole Saint John community that was very successful.