May is Jewish Heritage Month in Canada. The Jewish-Canadian community has existed for more than 250 years and the Jewish-identifying population in Canada is estimated at 400,000. There is prominent representation in Ontario, and in Waterloo Region there is a small yet well-represented local community.

Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions that Jewish Canadians have made to our country’s cultural, social and economic fabric.

Facts About Judaism

  • Judaism is the oldest of the world’s three prominent monotheistic religions – Christianity and Islam being the other two. A monotheistic religion means the belief in a single Creator.
  • The holiday of Shavuot marks the anniversary of the National Revelation at Mt. Sinai where God presented the Jewish people with the Torah, a spiritual guide on how to use life properly.
  • The Torah is comprised of two sections – Torah She’biktav, the Written Torah and Torah Sh’Baal Peh, the Oral Torah. Many Jews view Torah learning as a daily activity necessary for self-development.
  • Sundown on Friday evening marks the beginning of the weekly Shabbat (Sabbath), which lasts until Saturday evening. The word “Shabbat” translates to “Rest”.
  • Judaism sees food, when used properly, as an opportunity for self-development. It’s no surprise then that food features prominently on most Jewish Holidays: Potato Latkes on Channukah, Hamantaschen on Purim, and Challah Bread on the Weekly Shabbat.