How a handful of Jewish doctors formed an unlikely community in Sioux Lookout, Ont.

Ben Langer, left, and Benji Goldstein created a hub of Jewish life in Sioux Lookout, where both doctors set up a practice. (Photo courtesy Ben Langer)

If you’ve heard of Sioux Lookout, a town of fewer than 6,000 people in Northern Ontario with a significant First Nations population, you probably wouldn’t expect it to be home to any number of Jews. The rural community, nestled between clear blue lakes and verdant forests, is an attractive summer getaway—but living there full-time can be difficult.

It’s that much harder to practice medicine there, with little support or infrastructure, travelling north to fly-in First Nations communities with sometimes no resident physician of their own. But these are the challenges that attract a certain kind of doctor—and, as it happens, several of them are Jewish.

After Benji Goldstein, an Israeli-born doctor, became perhaps the town’s first practising Jew, Ben Langer moved next door, on a mission to help underserved communities as a rural family doctor. Together, and with a few other Jews in the area, they began baking challah, celebrating Shabbat and building an ice hanukkiah every winter, becoming an unexpected focal point of Jewish life. Both men join Yehupetzville to chat about the risks and rewards of making a life so far from home.


Yehupetzville is hosted by Ralph Benmergui. Michael Fraiman is the producer and editor. Our music was arranged by Louis Simão and performed by Louis Simão and Jacob Gorzhaltsan. Our sponsor is PearTree Canada, which you can learn more about at This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, watch this video.