B y: Hibaq Ali, Jordan Apostoli and Karina Motalleb. The Jewish Experience In Twentieth Century Canada. Jewish orphans immigrate to Canada in the 1900s 17Jan.2011<http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/legacy/chap-4a.asp> . 1897- The Jewish Times N ewspaper is Born.
The first publication of an exclusively
Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Times, was
printed in Montreal, Quebec. Founded
by Lyon Cohen and Sam Jacobs, the
newspaper intended to support
Jewish rights and advocate for the
socialand economic freedoms of
Jewish Canadians. The paper began
as a platform for the Jews of Montreal to
speak-out against the injustice of the
anti-Semitic articlescirculated in
Montrealnewspapers in the wake of the
Dreyfus Affair scandal. The paper
became an avenue for Canadian Jews
to voice their grievances and support
each other in the face of adversity.
The Jewish Times, the first Canadian Jewish newspaper, in its first year in circulation
17.Jan 2011 <http://www.jewishpubliclibrary.org/blog/?page_id=744>
School aged kids in Toronto, 1900.
17Jan. 2011 <http://www.stpaulsirishmusic.com/st-pauls-school.html>
The Jacob Pinsler case sparked the Jewish Educational Rights
Movement, when Pinsler failed to receive a tuition scholarship promised
to him at Dufferin School in Montreal. Pinsler was denied the scholarship
under claims that by law, Jewish students were not eligible for provincial
education grants in Protestant school boards. After many demonstrations and
protests the Statues of Quebec was finally revised in 1903 to allow a portion of
the taxes paid by Jewish proprietors to be allocated to Protestant school
boards, making them eligible for Protestant education grants. The same law
also gave Jewish pupils certain rights in both Protestant and Catholic schools
including the right to refuse compulsory classes and daily activities which
infringe upon their religious freedoms. This new law was significant for the
Jewish community in Montreal because it guaranteed their social and economic
access to education. It provided them with many educational opportunities that
were denied to their ancestors. It gave them hope and inspired them to work
with the Provincial and Federal government to improve the circumstances of
Jews across the nation.
The Jewish Colonization Association
opened its first Canadian committee
in Montreal. The organization
assisted the mass emigration of Jews out
ofRussia and Eastern Europe. The JCA
prepared immigrants to become
agricultural laborers andencouraged them
to take up unoccupied land in the Prairies.
This event was significant for Canadian
Jews because it assisted in their
professional and economic
assimilation into Canadian society.
The organization presented new
immigrants with the opportunities in
housing and work. It trained them,
and prepared them to be successful
contributors to Canadian society.
A JCA photo of the Lipton Jewish farming Community in Saskatchewan, just one of the many Jewish communities assisted by the JCA.
Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour and a copy of the Balfour agreement, addressed to Baron Rothschild, leader of the Jewish community in Great Britain.
17Jan. 2011 <http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2009/11/05/hamas-want-britain-to-make-amends-for-crimes-against-palestine/>
The Balfour Declaration was signed by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James
Balfour on behalf of the British government promising to aid in the
establishment of Palestine as the national home to the Jewish people. This
event was met by positive reaction from the Canadian Jewish community which
rallied together in support of the declaration, holding demonstrations in many
major cities such as Montreal and Toronto. This was a significant event for
the Jewish community in Canada because it was seen as a reward for their
hard work and dedication to the home front during the war efforts. The British
and Canadian support of Palestine as the Jewish homeland created a unity
amongst politicians and the Jewish community. It was seen as one of the first
major political decision to support Jewish refugees and informed them that they
were not alone in their battle.
Immigrants arriving in Canada by boat in the early twentieth century.
17Jan 2011. <http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhnnhs/qc/grosseile/natcul/natcul1/a.aspx>
Immediately following the First World War the Canadian government revised its immigration policies in the Immigration Act of 1919. To protect the nation from an influx of foreign immigrant, the Immigration Act formalized immigration policies which allowed officials to turn down immigrants and refugees on the basis of cultural and ideological traits. This event was significant not only for the Jewish community but for Canadian history as a whole. It projected an image of Canada as one that was unsympathetic to victims of war. It was a period of institutionalized racism that was followed by the exclusion and restrictions of many marginalized groups. While the period following the First World War is usually represented as one of economic and cultural prosperity in history books, it was also a dark period for Canadian minorities struggling to overcome deep-seated cultural and religious tension.
Canada’s Jewish population
exceeded 155, 000. The pogroms in
Russia and Eastern Europe in the late
19th century and the early 20th century
caused millions of Jews to seek
refuge in North America. After the
United States, Canada was the
second choice. Its Democratic
government promised freedom from
dictatorial rule and the Canadian
Pacific Railway guaranteed
transportation and freedom of
movement to various places in
Canada and the United States.
Immigrating to Canada
provided closer proximity to the
U.S. and the possibility of
immigration there at a later date. The massive exodus of Jewish emigrants from European countries is significant in Canadian History because it reveals the extent to which Canada was seen to be a place of refuge where displaced populations could start over and flourish.
A map of North America, symbolizing where European Jews immigrated in the 1930s.
“The Unwanted” – In the 1930s and 1940s, Winnipeg was a place rife with Anti-Semitism.Jan.19.2011<http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.vosizneias.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/image015.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.vosizneias.com/31428/2009/05/08/quebec-canada-in-winnipeg-in-the-1930s-and-1940s-jews-were-considered-personae-non-gratae/&usg=__HIAirnnW8YhWE1iuwN7Kp7lyEU8=&h=360&w=287&sz=14&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=NHfW9JOFK5RbkM:&tbnh=131&tbnw=104&ei=3FI_TfvxLYKB8gbDwKnsAw&prev=/images%3Fq%3DJews%2Bin%2BCanada%2Bin%2Bthe%2B1930s%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1900%26bih%3D704%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=452&vpy=45&dur=109&hovh=251&hovw=200&tx=132&ty=132&oei=3FI_TfvxLYKB8gbDwKnsAw&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=41&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0>
The Canadian government decided to limit immigration because of the failing
economy. They attempted to limit immigration by implementing two orders-in-
council. In 1930, they implemented the first order-in-council, which prevented
Europeans from immigrating to Canada, except for those who were
economically independent and/ or had families in this country. The second
order in council prevented Jews from entering the country altogether, by stating
that only immigrants from Britain and America who were economically
independent and worked in an industry could come to Canada. Some people
speculated that Canada had ‘dirty hands’ in this immigration policy and was
deliberately attempting to exclude Jews from entering. Only 15, 800 Jews were
allowed to immigrate to Canada. Within 1930 and 1934, 16, 785 immigrants
were expelled from Canada. The restriction is significant in that it reveals how policy makers in Canada, at this time, might well have been anti-Semitic in their orientation. This is a fact that is somewhat repressed in mainstream History.
In August, there was a riot at
Christie Pits during a baseball game in
which Jews attacked Germans that they
suspected were plotting hate crimes. A boy
moved his sweatshirt and out tumbled a
swastika. This inaugurated the riot. It is
considered to be one of the most serious
riots in the History of Toronto. The Jews rioting against
Germans was initiatedby their
knowledge of anti-Semitism, their awareness
of their fellow Jews distress in Europe under
Hitler’s Nazi regime and their awareness
of swastika clubs in Toronto. The
emergence of the swastika at the baseball
game was enough to initiate the riot because it reminded them of Jews distress in Europe and they assumed that an attack on them might be
imminent. The significance of this event is that it reveals that anti-Semitism existed, to some extent, in Toronto, in the 30’s, not necessarily as an entrenched, organized movement, but more on the level of local friction and occasional outbursts. Also, it reveals that Jews felt free and entitled to openly defend themselves in Canada whereas they did not feel this way in their countries of origin.
A plague at Christie Pits, memorializing the riot between two groups.
In May of 1939, Prime Minister William Lyon
Mackenzie King disallowed a
steamship, containing 901 German
Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi
Germany, from entering Canada. This
is consistent with the ‘none is too
many’ policy he came to adopt. That is,
no Jew in Canada was still too many
Jews, in Mackenzie’s eyes. During
World War II, Canada accepted only 1
percent (8, 000) of 811, 000 Jewish
refugees. The rest were internationally
accepted. This boat first went to the
Havana Port, in Cuba, where the
government would not acknowledge
their passenger entrance visas. No
other Latin American country would
allow the refugees admittance. The significance of this event is that it most certainly reveals the limited, anti-Semitic orientation of Mackenzie King and, perhaps, his entire government. It does not, however, reveal, a widespread anti-Semitism throughout Canada as most people were not economically in a position to contest government policies, nor where they even cognizant of what his policies were.
A picture of the St. Louis steamship, containing 907 German Jews who were disallowed entry into Canada after escaping from Nazi Germany. Jan19.2011<http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/canada.html#Between>
In September, 1939, Canada entered
World War II. One-fifth of Canadian
Jews entered the armed forces
(around 17, 000). Many Jewish
soldiers who survived received
military awards. Some were
commemorated by having parts of the
natural landscape of Saskatchewan
named after them. The significance of this event is that Canada entered World War II against Nazi Germany and anti-Semitism and Jews were enabled to fight for their own cause. In Canada, Jewish efforts were recognized and commemorated.
This is a picture of the first Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada’s entrance into the World War II was a unique event in Canadian History, as it was the first World War that they fought, because they enlisted the services of women and a sizeable number of Jewish men were enlisted in the Canadian armed forces.Jan.19.2011<http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/433720-1/start-world-war-2-24&imgrefurl=http://quebec.inetgiant.ca/Montreal/AdDetails/Canadian-British-World-War-II-medal-group-1939-1945-laval-150/3895872&usg=__leX1LGBRXhIZ16st2gnjEpWsKeU=&h=339&w=400&sz=24&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=SuN-corrukQFPM:&tbnh=133&tbnw=151&ei=k1Y_TaimM8O78gaXo8DTAw&prev=/images%3Fq%3DCanada%2Benters%2BWorld%2BWar%2B2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26biw%3D1900%26bih%3D704%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=375&oei=k1Y_TaimM8O78gaXo8DTAw&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=43&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0&tx=101&ty=87>
The war ended and Canada
implements anti-racist and anti
discrimination legislation. They
became more lax with immigration
laws. Within 1941-1951, 16, 275
people of Jewish descent entered
Canada. The significance of this event is that Canada became more compassionate and liberal in its immigration policy.
This is an picture of a Canadian solider, fighting abroad.
Canada entered World War II to protect the interests
of the British Crown. Its participation in the war effort
and the excellence of its service caused it to be
recognized as an important country.Jan.19.2011
A picture of Canada’s rising immigration levels accelerating in the 1950s and 1960s with its new immigration policy which allowed immigrants back into Canada.
Canada permits more immigration and allows people from Europe, including displaced persons, back into Canada. Unfortunately, by the same token, this meant that S.S. members (Halychyna members) were given entrance. The Jewish population was aghast and the Canadian Jewish Congress resisted the government’s decision. The Government was surprised by the Jewish reaction and was willing to negotiate. It deferred the reception of the Halychyna members to permit Congress to demonstrate evidence that the Halychyna members were plotting against the Jews. The Jewish Congress did not produce evidence implicating the Halychyna members as responsible for committing hate acts and so no evidence could be used against the members. The government enabled immigration to continue. The Halychyna members entered Canada the following year. Although Canadian Jews suspected that many were Nazi sympathizers, and, potentially, war criminals, the government did not enlist support to forcibly remove them, nor did they have jurisdiction to do so. The significance of this event is that Canada’s more liberal immigration policy allowed members of nations/ ethnic groups in conflict to carry their antipathies into Canada.
In May of 1960, Adolf Eichmann, a
German Nazi, was tried for war
crimes in Israel. These include
crimes against humanity under Israeli
law and crimes against the Jewish
people. His case exposed the
atrocities committed during the
Holocaust to the world and to
Canadians. It transformed the trial
from a private issue that the Jews
were facing into a public issue that
has since become one of the most
notorious events in History. The significance of this event is that the world was made cognizant of the fact that Jews had become more powerful globally and were making it known that the horrific events of World War II and would not go unpunished.
A picture of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi war
criminal. Eichmann was tried for war crimes,
including crimes against humanity and crimes
against the Jewish people in Israel in 1961.
Canada implemented a new point
system for the selection of new
immigrants based on education,
language skills, and employability as
well as age and Canadian
destination. The changes practically
banished subjective assessment and
discrimination from the selection
process. As a result, Jews have
continued to immigrate to Canada
over the past several decades.
This image from Canadian Immigration Lawyers captures the idea that Canada is open to immigration and is inclusive of culturally diverse peoples.
17Jan. 2011 <http://www.akcanada.com/wordpress/ ?tag=assessment-Canadian-immigration>
René Lévesque was the founder of the Parti Québécois. He was the Premier of Quebec from 1976 to 1985. His government passed the Quebec Charter of the French Language.
17Jan. 2011 <http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/francophonie/ histfrqc_s4_modernisation.htm>
The Parti Québécois won the provincial election. The party put forward French
language regulations and passed Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language,
in 1980, ensuring the primacy of French in all aspects of life in Quebec. The
francizationof the workplace implicitly excluded non- Québécois from
employment even if such persons were bilingual. Surveys at this time reveal
that Jews were concerned that this piece of legislation would narrow their
employment opportunities. Moreover, certain provisions of Bill 101 that govern
the language of education and almost entirely eradicate admission to English
language schools have a directly negative impact on the Jewish community.
While the Canadian Jewish population across Canada has increased, the
community in Montreal has decreased between the years 1981 and 1991
because Bill 101’s language restrictions on employment and education are
unfavourable to Jews and have caused many in the community to emigrate
from the city. The result is that the Montreal Jewish community is struggling
because there are no longer enough members to support the group.
Montreal held its first conference on
divorce to educate the community,
suggest strategies, and provide
resources for Jewish men and women
undergoing issues with divorce.
According to Jewish law, only a man
can give his wife a get, a Jewish
divorce document that is administered
by a rabbinic court. Montreal’s
conference was a step toward greater
equity for Jewish women and led to
the contribution of Canadian Jewish
women in the national amendment to
the country’s Divorce Act on August
12, 1990. According to the
amendment, agunot, women bound to
disintegrated marriages, can now be
The Jewish wedding ceremony is traditionally held under the huppa or canopy. It is here that the blessing, the giving of the ring, the signing of the ketubah, or marriage contract, and the breaking of the glass take place.
17 Jan. 2011<http:// www.israel-wedding.com/ weddings.htm>
In the Big M Drug Mart case, the
Supreme Court invalidated the Lord’s
Day Act of 1906, which prohibited
business and recreational activity on
Sunday. The Jewish community of
Canada contributed to this ruling by
submitting an argument that the
government should either create
policy on strictly secular foundations
or make laws that take into account
minority religions and not just the
religious observations of the dominant
group. The Supreme Court’s ruling,
though it upheld the concept of
religious freedom, did not make note
of the articulate objection put forward
by the Jewish community against the
Lord’s Day Alliance.
Schwartz’s Deli is a Jewish establishment in Montreal that was founded in 1928.
17 Jan. 2011 <http://www.schwartzs deli.com /index_fr.html>
The French Language Office of
(OFL) compromised the availability o
imported kosher foods that were
necessary for Passover meals on the
grounds that the products lacked
French labelling. Eventually, OFL and
the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC)
came to an agreement that permitted
the sale of such dietary goods for
Passover without French labels for a
limited period during the religious
holiday. B’nai Brith Canada was
unhappy with the decision because
they had preferred to prove that the
sale of such goods without
French labelling in the province of
Quebec had constitutional validity.
Kashrut, or Jewish dietary laws, is referred to as kosher in English.
17 Jan. 2011 <www.kosher.com>