ACJS 2021: A View of the Field: Reflecting on Canadian Jewish Studies

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Our conference is taking place online this year; stock up on your favourite conference treats, and enjoy some stellar scholarship!

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The theme of this year’s conference is “A View of the Field: Reflecting on Canadian Jewish Studies.” Given the unusual nature of this past year––and of the conference itself––we felt that it would be an opportune moment to reflect on the present and future of the field of Canadian Jewish Studies.

We want to know what projects are getting our scholars most excited without limiting them to a particular theme. Let us know what you’re currently working on, take this opportunity to get a head start on an exciting future avenue in your research, or even revisit some past work you feel merits new consideration.

We welcome and encourage submissions in English and French on any topic relating to Canada’s Jews. This year, there are no limitations related to travel or funding, so brew up some coffee, stock up on your favourite conference treats, and enjoy some stellar scholarship with friends and colleagues!

Given the lack of overhead costs involved with travel, accommodations, and physical space, we are not charging a standard rate this year. Pay what you can; when you reserve your ticket, you'll be prompted to enter an amount of your choosing. For reference, our suggested donation is $25.

Here's a look at the schedule:


Links will be provided to participants three days prior to the sessions.

Please note the fifteen-minute gaps between sessions. This is meant to give you a short break to refresh or prepare for the following session, but we will keep the previous session open for anyone who would like to “schmooze” and get to know one another.

11:00 AM – 12:45 PM: Welcome and Session 1: Canadian Jewish Community Concerns

Valentina Gaddi, Université de Montréal, Études Juives Canadiennes et genre: le point sur la situation [Canadian Jewish Studies and gender: where are we at?]

Jonathan Slater, SUNY Plattsburgh, So Near, yet so Far: an Assessment of the 2018 Survey of Jews in Canada

Joshua Tapper, Stanford University, Crisis Leadership and Community Upheaval: Findings from Toronto Jewry and the Coronavirus Pandemic: An Oral History Project

1:00 – 2:00 PM: Session 2: Keeping Kosher?

Ira Robinson & Yosef Robinson, Concordia University, “Are Tref [Non-Kosher] Butcher Shops Really Tref?”: An Insight into the Dynamics of the Kosher Meat Industry in Montreal, 1934

Nancy Phillips, York University, The Secret Bacon Story: Why Did Kosher Canadian Jewish Mothers' Feed Their Children Bacon Between 1920-1945?

2:15 – 3:30 PM: Expanding Our Fields: Panel Discussion on Canadian Jewish History and Latin American Jewish History

Richard Menkis, University of British Columbia

Yolande Cohen, Université de Québec à Montreal

Hernan Tesler-Mabe, University of Ottawa

Raanan Rein, Tel Aviv University

Adriana Brodsky, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

David Sheinin, Trent University

Moderated by David Koffman, York University

3:45 – 5:15 PM: Session 3: Language

Rotem Raz, University of Toronto, Reconciliation and Language Revitalization: Thoughts about Indigenous Languages and Hebrew

Övgü Ülgen, Université de Montréal, Language, Religion, and the Difference: Moroccan Jewish Belonging in Canada

Zoë Belk, University College London, Absence of Morphological Case and Gender in Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish

5:15 – 5:45 PM: Break

5:45 – 7:00 PM: Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award Presentation to Frank Bialystok, followed by:

"Singing through Tears: Canadian Jewish Choirs in the age of COVID-19"


9:00 – 10:30 AM: Open Board Meeting, Association for Canadian Jewish Studies | Réunion publique, Association des études juives canadiennes

10:45 AM – 12:45 PM: Session 4: Advocacy

Kenneth Grad, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, A Gesture of Criminal Law: Jews and the Criminalization of Hate Speech in Canada

Megan Hollinger, University of Ottawa, How We Speak About Anti-Jewish Hate: Exploring the use of the term “antisemitism” and how it may affect the fight against it in contemporary Canada

Elizabeth Moorhouse-Stein, Queen’s University, Division and Cohesion: Different Patterns of Organized Israel-Advocacy Among Jews in Canada and the United States From 1990 to Today

Jason Chartrand, York University, “Carving out a space within ‘a relatively new field of professionalization’: postwar Jewish activists and the development of the ‘intergroup relations expert’”

1:00 – 2:15 PM: Meet the Author Live: No Better Home

Hosted by Richard Menkis with guests David Koffman, Lois Dubin, Norman Ravvin, and Pierre Anctil

2:30 – 4:00 PM: Session 5: Second World War & Holocaust

Nathan Lucky, University of British Columbia, Untitled about Holocaust responses in Canada and US

Barbara Weiser, Independent, Canada’s National Holocaust Memorial.... A Comparative Study

Peter J. Usher, Independent, Counting Heads: The Canadian Jewish Congress and the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War

4:15 – 5:15 PM: Session 6: Holocaust Survivors

Anna Sheftel & Luke Moyer, Saint Paul University & University of Waterloo, Reconceptualizing Resilience: Examining Narratives of Holocaust Survivor ‘Success’ and ‘Failure’ in Canada

Joseph Kary, Independent, Notorious Holocaust Survivor

6:00 – 8:00 PM: ACJS Movie Night: Jews of Colour

Hosted by Tyler Samuels and David Koffman, Film TBD


9:00 – 10:30 AM: Annual General Meeting

10:45 – 12:15 PM: Session 7: Stories

Simone Grossman, Bar Ilan University, La double vie du policier ex-hassid d'Outremont

Deidre Butler & Betina Appel Kuzmarov, Carleton University, Troubling Batei Din: Stories of Jewish Divorce in Canada

Monda Halpern, University of Western Ontario, “She just vanished”: Mob-Boss Bessie Starkman and Family and Religious “Abandonment”

12:30 – 1:30 PM: Lunch Break/Open Schmooze Session

1:30 – 3:00 PM: Session 8: Popular Culture

Liat Steir-Livny, Sapir Academic College and The Open University, Canadian Holocaust Survivors and Second Generation in I was a Child of Holocaust Survivors

Alexandra Frankel, York University, About Sheila Heti’s Motherhood

Miranda Crowdus, European Centre for Jewish Music, Hanover, Peripheral Jews, Global Narratives: The Complexity of Contemporary Jewish-Canadian Identity through the Lens of Popular Musical Culture

3:15 - 4:45 PM: Session 9: Fitting In

Ashley Mayer-Thibault, Université de Montréal, Quebec’s Sephardic Jews: Between Localism and Francophone Transnationalism

Bonnie Ellen Campbell, Independent, A Rare Union of Two Cultures: How a Jewish merchant from Prussia made a meaningful marriage with a Nlaka’pamux girl from Spuzzum, and how his adherence to Jewish values enhanced the lives of his biracial children

Irving Rosen, Independent, Toronto’s Signal Medical Pioneers and their Relations to Immigrant Jews

We wish to thank our sponsors | Nous remercions sincèrement nos commanditaires:

Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies

The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies

Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program

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