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Jewish Community

Brantford used to be home to a dynamic Jewish community. Learn about their important legacy.

Brantford's Jewish Community

Jewish people appeared in Brantford as early as the 1861 census, but the largest influx arrived between 1900 and 1914. They arrived from Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, where they were subjected to suppression, persecution, and forced conversion to Christianity. Hence many chose to emigrate.


The Jewish people arrived in Brantford with little or no money, no English and bereft of skills suited to an industrialized society. However, they brought with them the ability to withstand adversity, devotion to family, strong community bonds and their religion.


Brantford's Jewish community made significant contributions to the city. To learn more about this fascinating history, check out our Gallery below!

"There are places across Canada where small Jewish communities once thrived, strung out like fringes of a huge tallis, in small cities and towns where Jews made their livings as peddlers, storekeepers, and junk collectors. From all over Eastern Europe they came and settled throughout the vast country during the great immigration waves of the early twentieth century. Brantford in southwestern Ontario was once such place in the 1940s, an industrial city of some 30,000 people, among them some 200 Jews in fifty families."

- Dr. Gerald Tulchinsky, Shtetl on the Grand, p. 59


The Memories of Brantford Project thanks the sponsors for their generous support.