Rabbi Dr. Yosef Wosk was the keynote speaker at the Vancouver exhibit. (photo by Cynthia Ramsay)
The Canadian Jewish Experience traveling exhibit opened at the central branch of Vancouver Public Library on Nov. 16. The display is presented by the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and VPL.
The opening event was hosted by Michael Schwartz, JMABC director of community engagement. Kayla Epstein, VPL board chair, and Karen James, Jewish Federation board chair, said a few words, as did Tova Lynch, who led the committee that created the exhibit, which opened in April in Ottawa. The multi-panel display celebrates the history of Jews in Canada and was made for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The set that is on display at VPL has an additional panel dedicated to the B.C. Jewish community.
“To date, we have created 15 various sets [of the exhibit] that are traveling around the country,” said Lynch. To date, it has been to 35 places, and is scheduled for more, including a push to have it on university campuses. Among the major supporters of the exhibit, she said, are Fred Belzberg and Sam Belzberg. She thanked the Belzbergs, who couldn’t attend the event, as well as Rabbi Dr. Yosef Wosk, whose contributions, she said, made the event possible.
Wosk was also the keynote speaker. He spoke of the importance of books, of stories, of the relative youth of Canada as a nation and about the Jewish community’s participation in national life. He expressed gratitude for living in a country that is safe for Jews and other minorities, but also recalled that it wasn’t always so and that immigrants today still face problems.
The Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, offered greetings from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as her own comments on the contributions of Jewish and other immigrants to Canadian society.
The Canadian Jewish Experience is on view at VPL until Nov. 30.