Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance, and Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, have released the following statement to mark Jewish Heritage Month:
“May is Jewish Heritage Month. It is a month to celebrate the culture, history, perseverance, faith and contributions of B.C.’s Jewish community.
“As a result of a long history of oppression, Jewish communities around the globe have developed a strong sense of community and resilience. Jews arrived in British Columbia over 160 years ago, building the first synagogue Emanu-El in Victoria in 1863. Their commitment to spiritual and communal ideals made possible the beginnings of Jewish life on the West Coast.
“Since then, Jews have come to this province in search of a better life for themselves and their children. They have built lives here and played dynamic roles in our communities through their leadership and achievements in business, academics, politics and the arts. David Oppenheimer moved to Vancouver in 1885, became the city’s second mayor (1888–91) and was responsible for starting the city’s fire department, streetcar system and Stanley Park.
“Over the last few years, there has been an increase in antisemitism and bigotry in B.C. The Jewish community is one of the most frequently targeted groups in police-reported hate crimes. This is why our government is committed to addressing racism and discrimination in all its forms. We will introduce B.C.’s first ever anti-racism act. We will also be introducing legislation to support race-based data collection to address systemic discrimination and modernize sectors like policing, health care and education. These are important steps in building a province that is safe and inclusive for all communities.
“Sadly, antisemitic acts against Jewish British Columbians are increasing, so it’s important that we stand together united against hate. We need to recognize that people of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths add to the strength of B.C.”
For more information on the Jewish community in Canada, visit: http://jewishheritage.ca/
For more information about Jewish history in B.C., visit: https://jewishmuseum.ca/
For more information on local Jewish community organizations including schools, synagogues, cultural and social service organizations, visit: https://www.jewishvancouver.com/
For resources on Holocaust education, human rights and anti-racism, visit: https://www.vhec.org/