Celebrating Jewish heritage in Canada

May is Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, an opportunity to discover and celebrate Jewish culture, faith and history, as well as the tremendous contributions of Jewish communities to our country’s social, political and economic fabric.

The month of May has special significance for Jewish communities around the world. It often coincides with the holiday of Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks,” which celebrates the spring harvest and commemorates the gift of the Torah.

At Library and Archives Canada (LAC), we are proud to preserve and make accessible this important heritage. For Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, we invite the public to delve into the priceless archives that we treasure:

  • Podcast | Treasures Revealed, episode 7 – Sefer Torah. We speak with Senior Archivist Christine Barrass about an extraordinary scroll, or Sefer Torah, that is part of the Shearith Israel synagogue collection held at LAC. This scroll is a document hand-written in Hebrew by a scribe and measures approximately 35 metres in length when fully unrolled. The Sefer Torah is considered to be the most valued object in Judaism, and is a highlight of the Jewish collections at LAC.
  • Podcast | Mr. Lowy’s Room of Wonder. Down an obscure hallway at our downtown Ottawa location, there is a mysterious room overflowing with majestic tomes and ancient wisdom. The Lowy Room is a self-contained museum housing over 3,000 rare, often unique Hebraica and Judaica items dating back to the 15th century. We pay a visit to the current curator of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection, Michael Kent, who gives us a guided tour of some of the incredible items in the collection and shares the stories surrounding their journey.
  • Flickr Album | Mr. Lowy’s Room of Wonder. Discover the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Room.
  • Flickr Album | Altona Haggadah. The Altona Haggadah, a colourful and hand-illuminated manuscript created in 1763, is one of the treasures of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection at LAC.
  • Blog | Making Connections, Growing Collections
  • Blog | From the Lowy Room: Canada’s Talmud
  • Blog | Imagining Canada – Metsia’at ha-Arets ha-Hadashah
  • Collection | Jacob M. Lowy Collection. This collection is Canada’s national treasure of old and rare Hebraica and Judaica.
  • Genealogy | Jewish Canadians. Find resources for researching the genealogy and family history of Jewish Canadians.
  • Research | Research Guide to Holocaust-related Holdings at LAC

To learn more

Statement by Minister Hussen marking Jewish Heritage Month in Canada

Photos and videos