Putting the ‘oy’ in cowboy: What is the future of Alberta Judaism?

Captured at the kosher pancake breakfast during the Calgary Stampede in 2022. (Photo by David Sklar)

The Calgary Stampede, winding down this week, is about more than Stetson hats and corn dogs. The annual festival creates an opportunity for Albertans of all backgrounds to come together over bull-riding rodeos, country music shows and pancake breakfasts. And this is certainly true for Jewish Albertans, whose community can trace it roots deep into the origins of the Wild Rose Country.

On this week’s episode of Bonjour Chai, David Sklar takes a deep dive into his adopted home’s Jewish universe. He’s assembled an expert panel on the past, present and future of Southern Albertan Judaism, featuring Judy Shapiro, a retired journalist and Jewish community professional; Harry Sanders, a director at the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta; and Danielle Braitman, director of engagement programming at the Calgary Jewish Federation.

Then, David visits Irena Karshenbaum of the “Little Synagogue on the Prairie”, a 100-year-old shul recently relocated to Calgary’s Heritage Park, and we’ll hear clips from a Sunday morning kosher Stampede pancake breakfast, held by the Calgary JCC and House of Jacob Mikveh Israel.

What we talked about


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold, Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Michael Fraiman is the producer. Andre Goulet is the technical producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.