Taking root: the origins of the Canadian Jewish community by Gerald Tulchinsky

By Gerald Tulchinsky

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I am happy to acknowledge also the encouragement and assistance provided by a number of my colleagues, at Queen's and elsewhere, who read early drafts of parts of this manuscript and offered me their helpful comments: Lucien Karchmar, George Rawlyk, the late Roger Graham, and Donald Swainson. Lucien Karchmar also read chapter six and saved me from making several errors. Special thanks are due to Stephen Speisman, Ian McKay, Ramsay Cook, James Pritchard, Maurice Careless, Louis Greenspan, Paul-André Linteau, David Bercuson, Harry Gutkin, and Jonathan Sarna, all of whom read the entire manuscript and rescued me from many factual errors and inconsistencies.

24 In the 1870s, Cincinnati emerged as a leading centre of Jewish religious life, and Philadelphia as a major educational and cultural hub, while Chicago attracted a huge Jewish population after the 1880s. All of these communities were independent of New York, a city one-quarter Jewish by 1914 and the residence of about half of all America's Jews. In Canada there were no counterparts to Cincinnati, Page xx Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, or the other Jewish centres, which so diffused power and influence in American Jewry that national organizations have always been relatively weak.

Still, it appears that antisemitism outside Quebec was not nearly as strong as the anti-Oriental feelings on the Canadian west coast, or the anti-Slavic attitudes on the Prairies. 22 The special character, dimensions, and persistence of the French Canadian variety from the 1920s onwards helped to shape the community-consciousness of about half of Canada's Jews and indirectly, through national organizations dominated by Montreal, of a significant portion of the remainder. If the Canadian Jewish community has been much more effectively governed in national organizations than American Jewry, this is largely attributable to the fact that Canadian Jewry has felt more threatened.

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