The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies/ l’Association d’études juives canadiennes was founded in 1976 as the Canadian Jewish Historical Society / Société d’histoire juive canadienne. The original aim of the society was to promote and disseminate historical research concerning Jewish engagement with Canadian society. In 1996, in an attempt to broaden its research scope, the society changed its name to the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies / l’Association d’études juives canadiennes (ACJS / AÉJC).
In addition to history, the new association now encouraged research on the Canadian Jewish experience through the disciplines of political science, sociology, economics, geography, demography, education, religion, linguistics, literature, architecture, performing and fine arts, among others.
This past May, the Association held its 41st Conference at Ryerson University in Toronto. The first day of the conference, Rebecca Margolis, Associate Professor, Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program/
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, presented her paper “Yiddish Language Shift in Canada”.
The evening event was open to the larger community, which saw the book launch Of Seymour Mayne’s In Your Words: Translations from the Yiddish and the Hebrew. This selection offers translations from the work of Canadian Yiddish poets, Rachel Korn, Melech Ravitch, and J.I. Segal, and a moving sequence of poems by Abraham Sutzkever, one of the great poets of the Holocaust. Complementing the Yiddish is a selection of poetry in translation from notable contemporary Hebrew poets. Two Zelikovitz affiliates also participated in the Keynote Panel Session, “No Better Home Than Canada?”
A number of ZC affiliates presented at this conference:
- David Koffman, Assistant Professor, J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry, York University, asked the question, “Has There Ever Been a Better Home for the Jews…than Canada?”
- Susan J. Landau-Chark, Associate Director, Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies, Carleton University, presented “Not at the Table: The Jewish Community at Confederation.”
- Deidre Butler, Associate Professor, College of the Humanities and Director of the Zelikovitiz Centre, and Betina Appel Kuzmarov, Associate Dean (Students and Enrolment) and Assistant Professor, Law and Legal Studies, Carleton, and Member of teh Zelikovitz Advisory Board presented, “Capital Divorce: Stories of Jewish Divorce in Ottawa.”
- Barry Stiefel, Historic Preservation & Community Planning, Art & Architectural History, Urban Studies, College of Charleston, spoke on “Jewish Automobile Consumption in Canada During the Boycott of Ford Motor Company, 1920-1947.”
For more information on the ACJS/AEJC http://acjs-aejc.ca/