A century of welcoming Jewish immigrants: JIAS marks its 100th anniversary

JIAS is holding two exhibits to mark its centennial, including the Refuge Canada Tent, created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. (Photo courtesy JIAS/Pier 21)

One thing that unites all Jewish Canadians—from Victoria to Winnipeg to Halifax, across politics and religious denominations—is that we all came from somewhere else. Before there was here, there was there. And whether it’s a part of your recent or more distant memory, all of our families were once strangers in a strange land.

The idea of an organization to help Jewish immigrants from Europe began after the First World War, with many small groups volunteering in cities across Canada. On a summer’s day in 1922, all these groups came together to create Jewish Immigrant Aid Services, better known as JIAS.

This year marks the organization’s 100th anniversary. To celebrate the milestone, JIAS hosted two special exhibits: the first, called Love the Stranger, was created with the Ontario Jewish Archives. It uses original documents and photos and oral histories to tell the story of JIAS and how Canada’s Jewish population arrived at our shores. The second is called the Refuge Canada Tent. Its a travelling exhibit created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and it introduces viewers to Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis.

The CJN Daily producer Zac Kauffman visited both exhibits at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.

What we talked about:


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