• Campaigns
May 02, 2022

Trailblazers and milestones: Celebrating Jewish Heritage Month 2022

Jewish Heritage Month provides all Canadians with the opportunity to learn about the profound contributions of Jewish Canadians to Canada. The CRRF is pleased to be supporting this important opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.

Many Canadians will be surprised to learn that Canada is home to the fourth largest population of Jewish people living in the world. Along with their size and diversity, the communities’ long and varied histories further speaks to resilience in the face of historic and contemporary anti-Semitism and discrimination. 

To celebrate noteworthy trailblazers and to highlight milestones in Canadian Jewish heritage, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is pleased to be partnering with the team at the Ontario Jewish Archives, along with David S. Koffman, the J.Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, to spotlight these stories.

“The slices of Canadian Jewish life and history we’ve gathered together for this Jewish Heritage Month story-set highlight some amazing and largely unknown aspects of a diverse and wonderful community’s contribution to Canada. I don’t think enough can be said about the significance, importance, and deep value of working together across cultural and religious differences to share our stories.” 

– David S. Koffman

The CRRF has co-created an engaging digital campaign that highlights historical figures like Esther Brandeau, the first known Jew to arrive in Quebec, and trailblazers like architect Benjamin Brown of Toronto. The campaign will also highlight milestones of community building, including moments of interfaith and interethnic solidarity in the face of attacks on minorities in Canada, and more.

Additionally, online audiences will have an opportunity to view two exclusively-produced videos that tell the story of boxing great Sammy Luftspring, and of the important contributions of the Canadian Jewish medical community despite blatant antisemitism in the medical establishment at the turn of the twentieth century. 

The videos are being produced by Bonfire Originals, an award-winning creative film studio, which has produced dynamic content for Historica Canada, among other agencies and institutions.  

With archival images and creative treatment, these visually stunning videos will serve as valuable resources for educators, community groups, anti-racist workshop practitioners and leaders far beyond the month. 

These short videos will be released mid-May on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as well as shared through our newsletters.

 The CRRF’s National Anti-Racism Fund has also provided financial support to the following organisations to hold related events:

Cross Cultural Walking Tours

For Jewish and Asian Heritage Months, the Cross Cultural Walking Tours will celebrate the rich layered history of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods: Chinatown, Downtown Eastside, Paureru-Gai, Jewish Strathcona and Hogan’s Alley. These tours will build awareness of the contributions of Indigenous and early immigrants then, and bridges communities and cultures around the city now.

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, https://www.crossculturaltours.ca/annual-may-tours

Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto

Event: Tribute to Friendship between Jewish and Asian Canadians

This unique two week art exhibition will highlight the very long history of Jews and Chinese being racialized and victimized because of their ethnic background, the positive experiences of relationship building between the two cultures of distinct characteristics, and the artists’ experience and observation of the rising sentiment and challenges of anti-Asian, antisemitism, and racialization in Canada. 

May 25-June 8, https://www.cccgt.org/

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