May is the 3rd annual National Jewish Heritage Month in Canada.
National Jewish Heritage Month is a great opportunity to learn about the impact of Jewish heritage in communities across the country, and to appreciate the significant contributions made by Jewish Canadians in the fields of medicine, law, politics, arts, business and philanthropy.
For instance, starting in 1912, four women in Toronto, Mrs. Cohn, Miller, Spiegel and Adler, successfully raised $12,000 over nine years to purchase a building in 1923 to house The Hebrew Maternity and Convalescent Hospital. It would eventually become Mount Sinai Hospital. Learn more
In federal government, there have been 37 Jewish Canadians who have served as Members of Parliament. The first Jewish Canadian politician elected was Henry Nathan Jr., elected as a Liberal MP to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1871. Learn about the Jews who have shaped Canadian politics throughout the years.
Here are some ways you can celebrate National Jewish Heritage Month.
VISIT A JEWISH MUSEUM OR A SITE OF HISTORICAL JEWISH INTEREST
Visit Jewish institutions on your community - a museum, a Holocaust memorial museum, a Jewish library or historical synagogue.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CANADIAN JEWISH HISTORY
Did you know that the first Jews arrived in Canada in 1759 after the British Army conquest of New France? Read a McLeans article from 1959 celebrating the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jews to Canada.
Other resources include:
READ CANADIAN JEWISH LITERATURE
Whether it's a about Judaism, the Jewish Canadian experience, or just a piece written by a Canadian Jew, there’s plenty of choice.
RESEARCH YOUR FAMILY’S HISTORY
Explore your roots by determining when the first members of your family immigrated to Canada, then create a family tree. Take it one step further by recording interviews with your older living relatives to create a digital history.
RAISE YOUR JEWISH VOICE
As Jews in a democratic society, we have the privilege and the responsibility to express our views on ethical and moral matters. Visit your Jewish federation or council to find out how you can get involved with your local Jewish community.
SUPPORT A JEWISH ORGANIZATION
Do your part to strengthen the impact of the Jewish people by supporting a Jewish non-profit or charity in your community.
However you commemorate it, National Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about the inspirational role that Jewish Canadians have played and continue to play in communities across the country.