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7 Jewish Reasons (and Ways) to Celebrate Canada Day

7 Jewish Reasons (and Ways) to Celebrate Canada Day

Canadian flag flying in the breeze

This Sunday, July 1, is Canada Day, a national holiday that celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of Canada and its citizens. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up blog posts, interviews, and stories by and about Canadians and Canada – all with a Jewish twist.  

1. Read about how Canada is leading the way.

With passage of the country’s Civil Marriage Act in 2005, Canada became the first country outside Europe (and the fourth in the world) to legalize marriage equality. Two years later, on May 22, 2007 in Toronto, Harvey Brownstone, the first openly gay judge in Canada, officiated at the wedding of Thea Spyer and Edith Windsor, a lesbian couple from New York. More recently, Canada demonstrated leadership in welcoming and resettling Syrian refugees.

2. Check out a Montreal rabbi’s powerful Torah commentaries.

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom in Montreal, is the current author of our Ten Minutes of Torah commentary for the Book of Numbers. Learn more about Rabbi Grushcow in our interview with her and sign-up to receive her Torah commentaries (and others) in your inbox daily.

3. Learn what sets Canadian Jewry apart.

Canadian Reform Jewry and its clergy are distinct from the Reform Judaism practiced in the United States and in other locales. This interview with three Canadian rabbis highlights and expounds upon some of the differences.

4. Celebrate Queen Victoria.

Several Reform Jewish Canadians, over the years, have shared reflections about another of the country’s holidays, Victoria, Day. Observed on the last Monday before May 25, it not only ushers in the summer season, but also honors – or honours, as Canadians spell it – the life of Queen Victoria. Learn what Cantor Aviva Marer, Rabbi Larry Englander, and Rabbi Esther Lederman have to say about Victoria Day.

5. Have a laugh about American Thanksgiving.

Read the story of two Canucks – a rabbi and a cantor – who, while integrating into life in the U.S., encountered their share of confusion about American Thanksgiving.

6. Discover Jewish Nova Scotia.

If Canada is in your summer travel plans, Nova Scotia has lots to offer Jewish travelers, including the Pier 21 processing center, which welcomed more than a million immigrants to the country between 1928 and 1971.

7. Visit Canadian Reform synagogues.

Whether it’s Nova Scotia or another province or territory, if your destination includes the Great White North and you will be there during Shabbat, it might be nice to visit a Reform community during your stay, eh?

Whether you’re celebrating with a two-four (the Canadian term for a case of beer comprising 24 bottles), or in some other way, happy Canada Day to our Reform Jewish community up north!

Jane E. Herman , a.k.a. JanetheWriter, is the senior writer and editor at the Union for Reform Judaism. She is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and holds a master's degree in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. She grew up at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ, and now belongs to Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. A proud New Yorker, she loves books, fountain pens, social media, Words with Friends, mah jongg, and all things Jewish. She blogs at JanetheWriter Writes.

Jane E. Herman

Published: 6/28/2018

Categories: Jewish Life, Jewish Life Around the World
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