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FREIMAN , Canadian family. moses bilsky (1831–1923) was a Canadian pioneer figure and an ancestor of the Freiman family by way of his daughter Lillian. He was born in Kovno and at the age of 14 went to Montreal with his father, moving to Ottawa in 1857. In the years 1861–67 he traveled throughout North and Central America, going to the Caribou gold fields in British Columbia overland by way of the isthmus of Panama, and enlisting in the Union forces in the U.S. Civil War. He returned to Ottawa and entered the jewelry business. There he founded the Adath Jeshurun synagogue in 1895, helped found the city's first Zionist Society in 1899, and led in community activity.

lillian (1885–1940) was born in Mattawa, Ontario. In 1903 she married Archibald J. Freiman (see below) of Ottawa. She was identified closely with Zionist work in Canada all her life and attended the third Canadian Zionist convention in Montreal at the age of 17. From 1919 to her death she was president of Canadian Hadassah. She took the initiative in 1920–21 in bringing 150 Jewish pogrom orphans to Canada and touring her native country to raise funds and recruit foster parents. In 1918, at the time of the great influenza epidemic, the mayor of Ottawa placed her in charge of efforts tocombat the disease. She played a prominent and stimulating role in a wide range of activities of a nonsectarian and Jewish nature, involving relief and succor to others, locally and overseas, Jew and gentile.

archibald jacob freiman (1880–1944) was a Canadian merchant and Zionist leader. He was born in Wirballen, Lithuania, and went to Hamilton, Ontario with his parents in 1893. In 1902 he settled in Ottawa, where he established a department store. He was president of the Adath Jeshurun synagogue from 1903 to 1929 and from 1920 to his death was national president of the Zionist Organization of Canada.

Their son lawrence freiman (1909–1986), a merchant, was born in Ottawa. He served twice as president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, and was honorary president of the Federated Zionist Organization of Canada, and was a member of the board of governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science at Reḥovot. Freiman played a leading role in cultural activities in Canada, and was a director of the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra, the Canadian Festival of Arts, and the National Arts Center in Ottawa.


H.M. Caiserman, Two Canadian Personalities (1948); C.E. Hart: The Jew in Canada (1926); Bernard Figler, Lillian and Archie Freiman: Biographies (1961).

[Ben G. Kayfetz]