Second Wave

The Jewish community in North Bay rose to its greatest prominence following the Second World War when the Jewish population emerged among the city’s most important business and community leaders. A host of new businesses were opened by both newcomers and by young men and women of the second generation of North Bay Jewish families, many of whom were returning from active service in the Second World War. They returned to a community galvanized by the war effort, with a solidified Jewish identity. Shirley (née Moyel) and Marvin Hockman, who had come to Canada in 1927, established a number of businesses, including Hockman Furniture Co., in 1946. Marvin was a successful entrepreneur who also ran North Bay Auto Supply Ltd., which he opened in 1932, as well as several commercial buildings and apartments, and finally, the Voyager Motel. Their niece, Sandy Naiman ( b. 1938), was discovered in Europe after the war and brought to North Bay in 1949, where she was adopted by her surviving family, including her cousins Gloria (m. Gutman) and Sari (m. Markson).

The Jews of North Bay were also starting to enter the professional trades. Sid Cohen was an optometrist on Main Street. Max Back, who became the president of the shul in the late 1960s, was a dentist. Those who stayed in North Bay found it to be a city poised for prosperity. Herb Brown, his father a tailor, founded the H.E. Brown Supply Company Ltd. in 1947, a major automotive and industrial supply chain. By 1963, twenty-nine of the shops on Main Street were Jewish-owned businesses. Residents recalled that when the shops closed during the Jewish High Holidays it seemed as though the whole commercial strip was shut down. Despite the relative stability of the economy and the high standard of living its Jewish inhabitants were able to achieve, the emphasis on education led to an expectation that young people would ultimately move elsewhere following high school. For example, Osias Schacter’s son, Leo, became a lawyer in Toronto, while his grandson, Bernie, became a neurosurgeon. Max Stern, in turn was the founder of Stern Sanders & Co. Chartered Accountants. Murray Finkelman also made a living as a chartered accountant.