Changing the Narrative – The Early Jewish Community in Oshawa

By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist

The Oshawa Museum is working on an exciting new project to celebrate Oshawa’s 100th Anniversary of becoming a city in 2024, a book on the history of Oshawa with a focus on research and stories that expand the traditional narrative.  The book will highlight aspects of our community that previous local history books did not.  It will be a book of unwritten stories, and it will help to tell a more accurate and inclusive history of our community. To that end, one of the focuses in the new book will be the arrival of the early Jewish community.  We are working with the Ontario Jewish Archives to research the Jewish families who arrived in Canada, when they arrived, where they settled, and the wonderful impact they made on those communities.  We have a summer student sifting through census records, newspaper articles, and other primary source documents, piecing together the story from a data perspective. The focus will also be on the cultural traditions celebrated by members of the Jewish community, and for this focus we are reaching out to the members of the local Jewish community for their help.

Oshawa Hebrew Congregation, 2021

For many years, the Oshawa Museum has highlighted and celebrated the Christmas traditions in our community, but this year we are looking to do something different. As a part of our research, we are working on a video project that will examine the family traditions of Hanukkah within the local community.

The aim is that the video will become a partnership between the Museum and members of the local Jewish community. The video’s vision is that it will highlight the history of the Jewish community in Oshawa and then turn to focusing on the holiday traditions that help make Hanukkah such a special time.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in partnering with us and share your special family Hanukkah traditions, please reach out to us through email at archivist@oshawamuseum.org.

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