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Photo of a Star of David by David Holifield via Unsplash.

Photo by David Holifield via Unsplash.

May is Canadian Jewish Heritage Month 

May 14, 2024 — 

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month is marked in May, celebrating the contributions made by Jewish Canadians, regardless of their cultural background, to the fabric of Canadian society.  

Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to increase intercultural understanding and appreciation of the communities and cultures that make up our UM community. Our values of diversity and inclusion are reflected in the work we are doing to combat hatred and promote understanding, building spaces of belonging and empowering all to thrive. 

As part of the that work, this spring UM’s Listening, Learning and Leading series offered two human-rights-based workshops called Centering Humanity: Human Rights Frameworks in times of Violence, Discrimination and Hatred, and another called Digital Harms: Online Hate and Racism. 

Another upcoming series is called Antisemitism: Learning Sessions for Decision-Makers (sessions for leaders). Three sessions will be led by Dr. Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, covering the basic historical trajectory of antisemitism, and current issues and considerations, with opportunities for participants to ask questions and engage in dialogue to further their understanding of antisemitism.  

Every year UM lowers the flag to commemorate Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to acknowledge the Holocaust and the harms caused by antisemitism here and around the world. President Benarroch notes that the day is an opportunity to “speak out against antisemitism, racism and hatred in all forms and remind our UM community to embrace our common humanity.” 

In November 2023, the Manitoba government moved to add Holocaust education to the curriculum for grades 6, 9, 11 and 12.  


Join the learning journey to advance equity, diversity, accessibility and anti-oppression at UM. 

Support the work being done by the Office of Equity Transformation, UM’s Anti-Racism Taskforce and the Office of Anti-Racism (Rady Faculty of Health Sciences). 


UM stories 

Read about UM archeologist Haskel Greenfield who from 2011-2017 led the University of Manitoba’s archaeological excavations, with an international team of more than 100 professors and students, of the Early Bronze Age layers at the famous site of Tell es-Safi/Gath in Israel. “You have a sense that antiquity and the ancient world is real, it’s tangible, it’s relevant. It’s not ancient history. It is part of the present,” he says. 

Life after the Holocaust: UM alumni who survived: By the end of the Second World War, six million Jewish people were dead along with millions of other victims of Nazism. Read these remarkable stories of children, many of whom were war orphans, who survived and became graduates of UM. 


Jewish heritage and culture resources 

Jews have lived in Canada for nearly 250 years, starting with very few and growing through immigration over time. However, until the 1960s, Canada had professional, educational and immigration barriers and prejudices targeting Jews. Canada is home to an estimated 400,000 people of Jewish heritage, making it the fourth-largest Jewish community in the world, with larger populations in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. (From Canadian Jewish Experience online exhibition for Canada’s 150th) 


Learn more about Jewish culture and history with these resources: 

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