Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured Non-Fiction: Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey by Gerald Tulchinsky

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University of Toronto Press, 2008

The history of the Jewish community in Canada says as much about the development of the nation as it does about the Jewish people. Spurred on by upheavals in Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Jews emigrated to the Dominion of Canada, which was then considered little more than a British satellite state. Over the ensuing decades, as the Canadian Jewish identity was forged, Canada itself underwent the transformative experience of separating itself from Britain and distinguishing itself from the United States. In this light, the Canadian Jewish identity was formulated within the parameters of the emerging Canadian national personality.

Canada’s Jews is an account of this remarkable story as told by one of the leading authors and historians on the Jewish legacy in Canada. Drawing on his previous work on the subject, Gerald Tulchinsky illuminates the struggle against anti-Semitism and the search for a livelihood amongst the Jewish community. He demonstrates that, far from being a fragment of the Old World, the Canadian Jewry grew from a tiny group of transplanted Europeans to a fully articulated, diversified, and dynamic national group that defined itself as Canadian while expressing itself in the varied political and social contexts of the Dominion.

Canada’s Jews covers the 240-year period from the beginnings of the Jewish community in the 1760s to the present day, illuminating the golden chain of Jewish tradition, religion, language, economy and history as established and renewed in the northern lands. With important points about labour, immigration and anti-Semitism, it is a timely book that offers sober observations about the Jewish experience and its relation to Canadian history.

Gerald Tulchinsky is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at Queen's University.

From the catalogue. To find out more about Canada’s Jews, visit the University of Toronto Press website.