Fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between Jewish and other cultural and faith communities in Quebec is a key part of the advocacy efforts of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs-Québec (CIJA-Québec).
On July 18, in partnership with the Young Chinese Professionals Association (YCPA), CIJA-Québec launched an innovative series of intercultural meet-ups with current and future leaders of Montreal’s diverse cultural communities.
The first in the series was held at the Jewish Montreal Museum and featured a walking tour of historical Jewish neighbourhoods near St. Laurent boulevard.
In their opening remarks, the event’s Co-Chairs, CIJA-Québec and JCC Ambassadors Emmanuelle Amar and Michel Ohayon, emphasized the importance of intercultural dialogue to strengthen cultural communities and enhance social harmony. They also gave a brief overview of the Jewish community’s history in Quebec.
During the walking tour through the Plateau, guests from various cultural communities had the opportunity to learn about the long history of the Jewish community, evidence of which is found in Montreal’s historic infrastructure. Beyond testifying to the Jewish community’s success in integrating into and contributing significantly to Quebec society, the tour discussion also addressed some the obstacles and the challenges encountered by our community and its approaches to overcome them.
The attendees expressed their surprise as to just how deeply rooted the Jewish community is in Montreal, as many of the historic Jewish landmarks, although still present, have been since converted to alternate uses. Despite subtle evidence and signs (in both Hebrew, English, and featuring stars of David) indicating the origins of these sites, their long histories go largely unnoticed in day-to-day modern Montreal life. Many said that this tour gave them a new appreciation for the Jewish community and its deep roots in Quebec as well as a better understanding of the overall historic transformations of Quebec society.
The event was attended by several members of the Young Chinese Professionals Association (YCPA), the African Business Network (REPAF), the Haitian Young Chamber of Commerce (JCCH), the Chamber of Commerce of the Quebec Iranian Community (CCQIC), the Jewish Chamber of Commerce of Montreal (JCC), the Latino-American Chamber of Commerce of Quebec (CCLAQ), as well as Saul Polo, founder of the CCLAQ and now member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Laval-des-Rapides.
The series of intercultural meet-ups will resume on August 22nd, hosted by the YCPA. For more information, please contact Elana Minz, CIJA’s Associate Director, Community Relations and Project Management, at firstname.lastname@example.org.