WHILE PASSOVER’S ORIGINS go back almost 3000 years, its commemoration has continually evolved and adapted based on cross-cultural encounters between Jewish communities and their neighbours in countries around the world. Using the varied experiences of Toronto’s Jewish community as a case study, we hope to explore some of the many ways in which time-honoured cultural traditions undergo transformations due to migration.

At its core, Passover is a story about a community fleeing oppression. Utilizing this narrative as a jumping-off point to explore stories of migration particularly the experiences of refugees and immigrants we hope to engage the public in a contemporary and critical dialogue around migration, displacement, and refugee and immigrant experiences. We will look at experiences as they relate to Torontonians from within and beyond the Jewish community in the hopes of building inter-cultural understanding and solidarity in spite of differences. What are shared experiences of departure, movement, and arrival and what are some differences?

Funded by:

Special thanks to:

Andrea Daiam Miriam Reisher
Anna Grosman Sara Abuharoon
Ceyda Turan Simon Keslassy
Gail Gould Raya & Eugene Berkovich
Michael Mostyn

Online exhibition

Gracia Dyer Jalea

Prosserman JCC

Jennifer Appleby

Elizabeth Katchen

Jackie Brown

Swartz/Reisman Centre

Julie Oreper

French translation

Neal Santamaria

Throughout January and February of 2018, the project ran four oral history workshops at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, Prosserman JCC, the Bernard Betel Centre, and the Kehila Centre. Project participants were Jewish immigrants from around the world, who came to Toronto from different countries, at different times, and under different circumstances. The workshop invited participants to share aspects of their migration story, from their life in their country of origin to their journey to Toronto. Participants reflected on the circumstances that caused them to leave their country, the tragic historical events that affected them and their families, the fear of the unknown future, the pain of leaving relatives and friends behind, the barriers of immigration they faced, and the process of adapting to a new country.