Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

History of Jews in Quebec Explored in New Class

Montreal’s Université de Montréal has launched a new course this semester that asks the question: “Who are the Jews of Quebec?”

The course, organized by the theology and science of religions department, is the first of its kind to be held in a Francophone university, The Canadian Jewish News (http://www.cjnews.com/campus/new-udem-course-studies-quebec-jews) reported.

Called “Culture et expériences Juives au Québec” (Jewish Culture and Experience in Quebec), the class is co-taught by Jean Duhaim, professor of theology specializing in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism, and Alain Gignac, who focuses on the New Testament and interfaith dialogue.

According to the syllabus, the course will focus on how Jews have adapted and contributed to the life and culture of the province, particularly in the francophone context. It will examine the origins and demographics of Jewish communities (the plural is used) in Quebec, and how they fit into Quebec’s “vivre ensemble” (live together) mentality.

The main goal of this class, Duhaim told the Canadian Jewish News, is to promote openness and to dispel misconceptions about Quebec’s diverse Jewish community.

“We sometimes think that Jews are recent immigrants,” Jean Duhaim told the Canadian paper. He wants his students to understand that “the first Jews arrived with the British troops in the 18th century.”

This links directly to another aspect of the course: Jews in Quebec are typically thought of as Anglophone. According to Gignac, that is grossly unrepresentative. About 40 percent of Quebec Jews, he told the Canadian Jewish News, are Francophone, mostly from the Mahgreb. The class will also concentrate on more recent Sephardic Jewish immigration from countries like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, which took place in the 1960s and 1970s.

A number of guest lectures (open to the public) will be held in the context of the course over the next several months. Speakers will include Ottawa history professor Pierre Anctil, who studies the Quebec Jewish community and its Yiddish culture; Yolande Cohen, professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal focusing on Sephardim; former Canadian Jewish Congress Quebec president Victor Goldbloom, also the Quebec’s first Jewish cabinet minister; and the UdeM’s Marie McAndrew, professor of intercultural education and the Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Studies.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.