Centre for Jewish Studies book launch considers evolution of Quebec’s distinct Jewish culture

Quebec flag at sunset

The Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies (CJS) will mark the debut of Les Juifs de la Révolution tranquille: regards d’une minorité religieuse sur le Québec de 1945 à 1976 by Simon-Pierre Lacasse on Jan. 17 at noon in York University’s Kaneff Tower.

Quebec’s Jewish community occupies a fascinating political and cultural place in Canada and its Montreal Jewish identity is unique among North American Jewish communities. The cultural evolution of the post-war era to the mid-1970s has not been widely studied until now.

Les Juifs de la Révolution tranquille analyzes this evolution, Quebec’s sociopolitical debates, and the ways that increasing contact between Jews and French Canadian Quebecers influenced the ideological shape of late-20th century Montreal.

Book launch banner: Jews of the Quiet Revolution by Simon Pierre-Lacasse, in conversation with Marcel Martel and David S. Koffman.
Jews of the Quiet Revolution by Simon Pierre-Lacasse, in conversation with Marcel Martel and David S. Koffman.

In a society largely split between Catholics and Protestants, the proverbial “two solitudes,” Jewish activists fought for the recognition of their community and incited political players to think more broadly about what is referred to today as “togetherness.” Far from staying on the fringes of public and political spaces, Montreal Jewish leaders spoke up and defended a developing Québécois society, one in which pluralism played an increasingly important role.

Lacasse’s work considers the importance of integrating the voices of ethnic and cultural minorities into historical narratives. He holds a PhD in history (University of Ottawa, 2020), an MA in history (University of Ottawa, 2016), and a BA in history (Concordia University, 2013). In addition to his work regarding Jews in the Quiet Revolution, he also studied the emergence of the Hasidic community in Montreal. Lacasse is a lecturer in the history departments of Concordia University and the University of Ottawa; the managing editor of Canadian Jewish Studies (Études juives canadiennes), a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published at York University; and a former research associate at the CJS.

To RSVP email cjs@yorku.ca. Light kosher refreshments will be served.