May is Canadian Jewish Heritage Month! This month, which was officially recognized in Parliament in 2018, celebrates the inspirational role that Jewish Canadians have played in forming the fabric of Canadian society in the past, as well as the contributions of Jewish Canadians today. Listed below are programs and resources for this special month being offered in our community and around Calgary.


Also, you can learn more about Canada's Jewish roots all month by following us on Twitter @JewishCalgary, where we will share fun facts and interesting trivia, courtesy of historian Harry Sanders.

Facts and Moments from Canadian Jewish History

In 1912, George E. Robbins (né Gedalyahu Rabinovici) had a front row spot at the 1st #YYC Stampede Parade. His twin daughters recognized him in an enlargement of this photo at the 2005 Stampede. Dr. Robbins died #OTD in 1973. #JewishHeritageMonth

Originally built in 1916, the Montefiore Institute was a place of worship, a social center and a school. It also had a lending library with over a thousand books!

Hy Estrin (1919–1999) of #YEG’s Cosmo Cleaners appears as “Mr. Suede” in this 1968 ad published #55YearsAgoToday. Estrin was born in #YYC. #CanadianJewishHeritageMonth

The 1933 “Midnight Frolic,” an annual Jewish fundraiser in #YYC, took place #90YearsAgoToday at the Palace Theatre (extant at 219–8 Av SW). Participants enjoyed “two really good pictures, a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a snappy step number,” & prizes.

Doreen Kline, Lillian Groberman, & Lola Goldblum pictured #60YearsAgoToday in a Calgary Herald preview of the upcoming Hadassah Bazaar at the Big Four Building in #StampedePark. The Bazaar was a highlight of the Jewish year from 1960 to 1986.

On May 11, 1983, Mayor Klein & Israeli Consul Gideon Saguy joined 250 at #YYC’s JCC for the dual naming of 16 St SW as Jerusalem Rd. One speaker, Osman Tabish, said the naming was “very noble in meaning” but wished city Arabs had also been involved.

Jewish Heritage Month at The Military Museums

Hidden Heroes: Honouring Canada's Jewish Soldiers of the Second World War
Thursday, May 11, 2023
7:00pm | 4520 Crowchild Trail SW, Calgary

Join speakers Ellin Bessner and John Hart (FSSF Association) for a special reception, lecture and exhibit featuring the elite commandos of the Jewish faith who served in the Devil’s Brigade. Program presented by The Military Museums in partnership with the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta (JHSSA). Admission by donation. Registration requested. More information here.

Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Display at Paperny Family JCC

Throughout the month of May | Paperny Family JCC

Did you know that the iconic Smithbilt Hats – the trademark White Hats which are known worldwide as a symbol of hospitality and a symbol of Calgary – were created and trademarked by a Jewish immigrant? Or, that one in 10 local Jews joined the Canadian armed forces during WWII? Most Calgarians don’t know much about our city’s Jewish history, or the presence of Calgary’s Jewish community today. This small yet impactful exhibit takes the viewer on a journey through Southern Alberta’s Jewish history, from the first settler in 1889 through to the accomplishments and establishments of Jewish Albertans today – highlighting the many ways that Jewish Albertans have shaped our province, and in particular, our city. 

Recommended Reading Display at Calgary Central Library

Throughout the month of May, Calgary Central Library will be displaying its recommended reading list in honor of Canadian Jewish Heritage month. Visit the library or contact CPL to learn more.