One woman’s mission to revitalize the Jewish community of Quebec City

Debbie Rootman at a Shabbat service in Quebec City. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Rootman)

Over the past generation, the Jewish community of Quebec City has been decimated—first by the Quebec Referendum, slowly by an outward migration of young people, and finally by COVID-19, which coincided with a loss of funds to keep any paid staff. The outlook for the couple dozen active remaining Jews looked grim.

Debbie Rootman wouldn’t accept that. She moved there in September 2019, and swiftly took it upon herself to revitalize the newsletter, organize events and galvanize community members as best she could. After facing extreme challenges in the last two years, Rootman felt so inspired by a recent episode of Yehupetzville, our podcast about Jews in small communities, that she reached out to share her own story—and share the proud, centuries-old Jewish history of her adoptive home city.


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.