Canadian Jewish writing and its academic study have followed a particular course that marks both the literature and the scholarship as distinctively “Canadian” and “Jewish.” This brief introduction seeks to contextualize the critical approaches to Canadian Jewish texts taken in the essays that follow. While it cannot offer a comprehensive overview of either Canadian Jewish literature or scholarly writing on the subject, it can spur deeper investigation of Canadian Jewish writing across all genres.

Although Jewish immigration to Canada dates back to 1768, with the entry of Sephardic Jews to Montreal,1 the twentieth century saw the greatest increase in the country’s Jewish population. Jews arrived in Canada from Eastern Europe in two great waves: in the early part of the twentieth century and immediately following the Second World War. Each group of newcomers struggled first to settle itself, but eventually many Yiddish-speaking immigrants and their English-speaking descendants took up...

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