Wildfires are raging again. Canadian Jews can’t ignore them

New York City has been suffering from wildfire smoke stemming from wildfires in Ontario and Quebec in the summer of 2023. (Photo by Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia Commons)

This week, millions of Central Canadians woke up once again to the distant smell of what seemed to be campfires. As was the case weeks ago, Canada’s wildfires are raging beyond Alberta and British Columbia this year—they’re keeping Ontarians and Quebeckers indoors, along with much of the population of New England, New York and beyond. Given that most Canadian Jews live in Ontario and Quebec, it feels right to revisit the role of Jewish activism in the fight against climate change, so we invited on Rabbi Yonatan Neril, founder of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Jerusalem, and the co-author of the Eco Bible, an ecological commentary on the Torah.

Before that, Avi and Phoebe chat about the secret Canadian Jewish history of Babu Bhatt from Seinfeld; high-end gold-plated kosher dining; and whether the Segal Centre, a prominently Jewish arts hub in Montreal, should be putting on a production of The Nightmare Before Christmas.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive 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. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast or donating to The CJN.