For the past five years, in the midst of May’s spring bloom, the province of Ontario has proudly celebrated Jewish Heritage Month (JHMO) by acknowledging the plentiful and impressive achievements and contributions made by the members of the Jewish community while honouring Ontario’s Jewish rich culture and heritage.
Since its unanimous passing in the Legislature on February 23, 2012, the Jewish Heritage Month (Bill 17) has provided all citizens the unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Ontarians of Jewish heritage, who have made an impact in communities across the province, from Kenora to Cornwall, as well as appreciate the significant contributions made by the Jewish community in the fields of medicine, law, politics, arts, business and philanthropy.
The Jewish Heritage Month Bill was spearheaded by MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) and co-sponsored by MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park) and MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill).
Approximately 200,000 Jews live in the Greater Toronto area (GTA) alone, making it Canada’s largest Jewish population centre. In fact, the GTA is home to over half of the country’s entire Jewish population.
JHMO has gained widespread support among citizens, community leaders, and organizations, including UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and its advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
“For years, May has been a particularly significant month for our community with UJA’s Walk with Israel, Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut), Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, to name but a few. Since Jews first arrived in this country, they have been making major contributions and building for future generations. Jewish Heritage Month shines a well-deserved spotlight on those contributions that have helped make Ontario the cultural mosaic it is.”