The world’s fourth largest Jewish community, Canadian Jews have been actively contributing to our society for more than 250 years. In 2018, the Government of Canada announced that each May would be officially recognized as Jewish Heritage Month.
Here’s a list of Canadian Jews you probably didn’t know were Jewish…or Canadian.
- Lorne Michaels
According to JTA: “Saturday Night Live might be a distinctly New York City show, but its creator was born and raised in Toronto. Michaels began his career working in radio for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before moving to Los Angeles in 1968 to write for Laugh-In.”
- William Shatner
According to Biography.com: “Actor, director, author, singer. Born on March 22, 1931, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Perhaps best known for his roles on Boston Legal and Star Trek, William Shatner is one of the most recognizable stars working today. His distinctive voice and cadence have been the subject of many imitations, spoofs, and parodies—all contributing to his status as a pop icon and endearing him to his fans.”
- Paul Shaffer
According to JTA: “Shaffer is (a) well-known producer who was David Letterman’s band leader and musical director for all of the 33 years he was on late night television.” “…Raised in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario, (he) got his musical start playing in venues around Edmonton and went to the University of Toronto.”
According to the CJN: “With three Grammy awards, an estimated net worth of $100 million and more than 30-million followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, there’s a solid case to call Drake – the hip-hop star who grew up as Audrey Graham in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood – the most influential Canadian Jew alive.”
- Howie Mandel
According to the CJN: “Nowadays, it’s easy to forget that Mandel, one of today’s most recognizable game show hosts — Deal or No Deal, America’s Got Talent — was also an actor and comedian with roles in shows like St. Elsewhere. Fewer probably know that the son of Jewish immigrants is from Toronto.”
- Seth Rogen
According to the CJN: “The comedic actor…whose parents met on an Israeli kibbutz, enjoyed his time at the Habonim Dror Zionist youth movement’s Camp Miriam in Vancouver so much that he appeared in a promotional video for the Canadian camp in 2009. ‘Shalom. Go to Machane [Hebrew for camp] Miriam because I did,’ Rogen said.”