Tradescantia Zebrina .:. The Wandering Jew

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tales and opinions of the wandering Jew

Vancouver's Jews

Jewish people are the most culturally-concentrated group in Metro Vancouver according to a new study looking at where cultural groups settle.

Now, I realise I haven’t technically “lived” in Vancouver for a while now, what with being a student in Montreal, and now being in Jerusalem. But I’ve maintained my residency, I still vote there, my income tax gets funneled through BC, and the lovely province of BC foots my healthcare. So maybe it’s that I’ve been away for a while now that’s making me scratch my head upon reading this CBC article.

Vancouver isn’t, by and large, a shomer shabbos community. Jim Torczyner’s studies of the Jewish communities in Canada’s major cities showed that my parents’ generation moved to Vancouver to escape the Conservative/Orthodox insular communities, and accompanying religiosity, that they’d grown up in in Toronto or Montreal. Torczyner found that Vancouver’s Jews were more greatly unaffiliated than Toronto and Montreal’s. When Vancouverites went to shul, they most often went to Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist/Renewal and did not often follow the halakhic practices ascribed to those denominations (for example, most Conservative Jews did not keep kosher, were not shomer shabbos, etc).

So how can Jews be such a densely situated community? The only explanation I can think of for this is related to something I saw when I was last in Vancouver: more Chabbad/Lubavitch, specifically in/around 41st and Oak. I saw young guys wearing tzitzit! I can’t remember ever having seen young guys with tzitzit when I was in high school! So I’m guessing that the concentration that now lives in the Oak Street corridor are greatly Orthodox, adding to the families who have lived in the Oak Street neighbourhoods for a generation (or more).

I want to see an article in the Jewish Western Bulletin Jewish Independent giving a big shout out to the Jews on the Drive, in the ‘burbs, on the east side, in the West End… Jews who aren’t within walking distance of that (expensive, west side) Oak Street and the synagogues found there. I want to see an article, heck, a series!, exploring how Jews who can’t afford to live within walking distance, but who want to be shomer shabbos, create alternative Jewish communities. If the JWB doesn’t take up the challenge, they should drop me a line: my rates are reasonable (I don’t have west side rent to pay!).

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Filed under: canada, judaism

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