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About the Institute

The Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies is dedicated to the study of the Canadian Jewish experience. Through research,  education, and collaborative efforts, the Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies supports a wide range of projects of local, national, and international interest, which contribute to this field of inquiry. The Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies provides a bridge between the academic study of Canadian Jewry and the community in which it serves.


Interim Director - Dr. Norman Ravvin

Dr. Norman Ravvin, Interim Director

Dr. Norman Ravvin will be Interim Director of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies for the period July 1, 2020 - May 31, 2022.

Norman Ravvin is a professor in the Department of Religions and Cultures.  From 1999 through 2012 he was Chair, Canadian Jewish Studies and Director of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies.  He is a writer, critic and teacher who specializes in Canadian Jewish literature and history, Holocaust literature, the relationship between the Hebrew Bible and literature, as well as music in various traditions.  He has written on such writers as Philip Roth, Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, Bruno Schulz, Saul Bellow and A.M. Klein.  His scholarly publications include A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory (McGill-Queen’s) and he is co-editor with Richard Menkis of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader (Red Deer Press).  His recent novel is The Girl Who Stole Everything (Linda Leith).  He is completing a memoir of Polish Jewish immigration to Canada in the early 1930s, tentatively titled Ten Pictures: An Immigration Story for Our Time.  Ravvin studied at U.B.C. and the University of Toronto, where he completed his Ph.D. in North American Literature and the Holocaust.  He’s a native of Calgary.

Recent Publications in the Field

Dr. Ravvin recently contributed a chapter to David S. Koffman's book "No Better Home? Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging".  For more information, please see the attached flyer.



Previous Chair of the Institute

Ira Robinson is Professor of Judaic studies in the Department of Religion and Cultures and Chair, Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. He received his BA at Johns Hopkins University, his BHL at Baltimore Hebrew College, his MA at Columbia University and his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He has taught at Concordia University since 1979 and served as the Chair of the Department of Religion and Cultures.

Robinson has edited Cyrus Adler: Selected Letters (2 volumes, 1985), which won the Kenneth Smilen Award for Judaica non-fiction. He has also co-edited The Thought of Maimonides: Philosophical and Legal Studies (1990), An Everyday Miracle: Yiddish Culture in Montreal (1990), The Interaction of Scientific and Judaic Cultures (1994), Renewing Our Days: Montreal Jews in the Twentieth Century(1995), which won a Toronto Jewish Book Award, Juifs et Canadiens Français dans la société Québécoise (2000), and Not Written in Stone: Canadian Jews, Constitutions and Constitutionalism in Canada (2003).

He has published Moses Cordovero's Introduction to Kabbala: An Annotated Translation of His Or Ne'erav (1994). Among his recent books are Rabbis and Their Community: Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930 (2007) which won a J.I. Segal Prize, Translating a Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History (2008), Joseph Margoshes, A World Apart: a Memoir of Jewish Life in Nineteenth Century Galicia (Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2008) (co-translator from Yiddish to English), and Les Communautés juives de Montréal: histoire et enjeux contemporains (Sillery, QC, Septentrion, 2010) (co-editor).

Robinson has published over fifty articles in journals such as Studies in ReligionJewish Social StudiesAmerican Jewish History, American Jewish ArchivesJewish Quarterly ReviewJudaismModern JudaismCanadian Ethnic Studies and Canadian Jewish Studies.

He is president of the Canadian Society for Jewish Studies, and is past president of the Association for Canadian Jewish Studies (formerly the Canadian Jewish Historical Society) as well as the Jewish Public Library of Montreal. Read more

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