Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance, and Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, released the following statement to mark Jewish Heritage Month:
“May is Jewish Heritage Month and a time to celebrate the culture, perseverance and faith of BC’s Jewish community.
“Jews began arriving in British Columbia in the late 1850s, drawn to the west coast by the discovery of gold in the Fraser River and Cariboo regions. British Columbia’s first synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El, was built in Victoria in 1863 and is still a place of worship today, making it the oldest synagogue still in use in Canada.
“Since then, Jews have come to this province in search of a better life for themselves and their families. They have contributed to the strength, diversity and prosperity of communities across British Columbia.
“For example, David Barrett (1930-2018) became Canada’s first Jewish prime minister when he was elected premier of British Columbia in 1972. During his tenure, he introduced the ambulance service of British Columbia and the Agricultural Land Reserve and established what is now known as ICBC.
“Anne Sugarman, née Wodlinger, (1895-1973) was the first president of the Vancouver Council of Jewish Women. During World War II, she founded and chaired the Red Cross Salvage Scheme and later launched the first guide dog program in North America.
“Unfortunately, there has been an alarming increase in anti-Semitism and bigotry in British Columbia in recent years. The Jewish community is often the target of police-reported hate crimes. That is why our government is committed to fighting racism and discrimination. Soon, we will introduce anti-racism data legislation to tackle systemic racism and improve equity in services and supports like health care and education.
“We need to do more. As British Columbians, it is up to each of us to speak out against anti-Semitism whenever we encounter it. Only together can we combat the hate and bigotry that continues to grow online and in communities across our province.
“In honor of Jewish Heritage Month, I encourage everyone to learn more about the history of the Jewish people in British Columbia and to join us in reiterating our commitment to condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms. shapes.”
For more information on the Jewish community in Canada, visit: http://jewishheritage.ca/
For more information on Jewish history in British Columbia, visit: https://jewishmuseum.ca/
For more information on Congregation Emanu-El de Victoria, visit: https://congregationemanuel.ca/
For more information about Jewish community organizations in the Lower Mainland, including schools, synagogues, cultural and social service organizations, visit: https://www.jewishvancouver.com/