Creating the Chupah: The Zionist Movement and the Drive for Jewish Communal Unity in Canada, 1898‐1921

Creating the Chupah: The Zionist Movement and the Drive for Jewish Communal Unity in Canada, 1898‐1921

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Henry Felix Srebrnik

Series: Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society
ISBN: 9781936235711 (hardcover)
Pages: 270 pp.
Publication Date: September 2011

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Creating the Chupah assesses the role of Canadian Zionist organizations in the drive for communal unity within Canadian Jewry in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Two strands of Zionism, represented respectively by the Federation of Zionist Societies of Canada and Poale Zion, were often in conflicts that reflected greater disputes. The book also describes Zionist activities within the larger spectrum of Canadian Jewish life. Montreal was at the time the “capital” of Canadian Jewry, but the Jewish communities of Toronto and Winnipeg also played a significant role in these events. Srebrnik here makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of Zionism and twentieth-century Jewish life in Canada.


Henry Felix Srebrnik (PhD University of Birmingham, England) is Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. His most recent books include Jerusalem on the Amur: Birobidzhan and the Canadian Jewish Communist Movement, 1924-1951 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008) and London Jews and British Communism, 1935-1945 (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1995) He also served on the editorial team for De Facto States: The Quest For Sovereignty (London: Routledge, 2004) with Tozun Bahcheli and Barry Bartmann.


This pioneering study makes a major contribution to the history of Canadian Jewry by arguing that Zionism has historically been a unifying factor within the community. During the formative period 1898-1921, Zionism was not a source of divisiveness, as it was in the neighbouring United States, but a shared arena in which the Canadian Jewish community expressed its ideological and political divisions. Employing primary sources, largely in Yiddish, Srebrnik discusses the role of Zionism in community-building and in the process sheds light on an area of scholarly study that has too long been neglected.
— Rebecca Margolis, Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program