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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.


Dr. Miranda Crowdus

Director, Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies

Chair, Canadian Jewish Studies

Director and Chair, Canadian Jewish Studies

Miranda Crowdus is an assistant professor at the Department of Religions and Cultures. She assumed the directorship of the Institute in January of 2022. Crowdus’ research interests lie at the intersection of ethnomusicology and Jewish Studies. Crowdus’ research specializations, as well as her upbringing in Montreal, and a vested interest in learning about Montreal’s Jewish communities “in their own words” was the motivation for her new research project “The Music of Jewish Montreal” (2022). The project explores connections between musical consumption and practices and their role in strengthening the confidence and cohesion and transcultural practices and potential of minority communities in Canadian urban contexts. Another recently conceived project is "Performing the Canadian Jewish Archive," an ongoing initiative under the aegis of the Endowed Chair in Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia University. The goal of the project is to generate an ongoing series of critical research and creative projects from a range of disciplines that will: (1) utilize archival resources from a wide variety of current and original angles and approaches; (2) contribute to the breadth of critical scholarship investigating the Jewish-Canadian experience; and, (3) stimulate innovative interdisciplinary and creative engagement with archival resources to transform them into active agents of cultural production. This research mandate currently offers research fellowships that are not only open to Concordia students, but to any qualified applicants who have a contribution to make to the project.

Crowdus is also currently working on research on Jewish cultural heritage and cultural sustainability with a particular emphasis on intangible cultural heritage. Using an interdisciplinary framework, her comparative research interrogates the construction of contemporary European and Canadian Jewish Cultural Heritage (JCH) displays, by addressing their assumed notions of temporality and resulting conflicting representations and negotiations of Jewish identities.

  • Assistant Professor, Religions and Cultures
    Alternative Judaism(s), Jewish Liturgy, Jewish Popular Culture, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, Cultural Studies, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Sustainability, Ethnography, Critical Gender Studies, Religious Phenomenology, Practice as Research

Dr. Norman Ravvin was Interim Director of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies and Acting Chair, Canadian Jewish Studies, until the end of 2021.

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.  Norman Ravvin's contribution to the special volume of Canadian Jewish Studies on the Holocaust is "Were I not here to record it, there would be no trace': Patrick Modiano's Dora Bruder and Chava Rosenfarb's 'in the Boxcar.'"

Forthcoming Publications

Norman Ravvin's essay "Fame, Failure, and Redemption: Leonard Cohen and His Contemporaries" will appear in Kait Pinder and Joel Deshaye's The Contemporary Leonard Cohen: Response, Reappraisal, and Rediscovery" (Wilfred Laurier UP).



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

Monsieur Ira Robinson est professeur d'Études Juives au département des Sciences de la Religiones et Cultures de l'Université Concordia, Montréal, Québec. Il enseigne à l'Université Concordia depuis 1979, dont il a été le Directeur du département de religion. Il est, aussi, directeur de l'Institut d'Études Juives Canadiennes de l'Université Concordia.

M. Robinson a publié ces livres significatifs (entre autres):

  • Cyrus Adler: Selected Letters (editor), (Philadelphia and New York, Jewish Publication Society and Jewish Theological Seminary, 1985), 2 volumes.
  • Not Written in Stone: Canadian Jews, Constitutions and Constitutionalism in Canada (co-directeur) (Ottawa, University of Ottawa Press, 2003).
  • Rabbis and their Community : Studies in the Eastern European Orthodox Rabbinate in Montreal, 1896-1930 (Presses de l'Université de Calgary, 2007)
  • Translating a Tradition: Studies in American Jewish History (Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2008)
  • Les Communautés juives de Montréal: histoire et enjeux contemporains (Sillery, QC, Septentrion, 2010) (co-directeur)

Monsieur Robinson a plus de cinquante articles parus dans nombreuses revues savantes tels que :

Studies in ReligionJewish Social StudiesAmerican Jewish HistoryAmerican Jewish ArchivesJewish Quarterly Review,JudaismModern JudaismCanadian Ethnic Studies et Canadian Jewish Studies.

Monsieur Robinson est actuellement président de la Société Canadienne d'Études Juives. Il a été anciennement président de l'Association d'Études Juives Canadiennes ainsi que de la Bibliothèque Juive de Montréal.

Norman Ravvin was Chair of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies from 1999 until the spring of 2012. His work in that period, in collaboration with colleagues and other institutions, included two publishing series, major conferences, new courses, a visiting scholars program, substantial internet presence, fundraising, the creation of a reference library, events focused on both the campus and in the community, as well as further afield in Canada, the United States and Poland.

All of these efforts were focused on raising the stature and influence of Canadian Jewish Studies as a discipline, promoting the work of faculty and students, and asserting Concordia's leadership in this field. As a working writer, he aimed to highlight the contribution and tradition of Canadian Jewish literature. And by bringing many scholars to Montreal, he aimed to create a strong centre in the city of specialists, young and old. Under his guidance the Institute funded students, faculty work, and outside projects that fit the Institute's goals, so the Institute's resources were often available to a wide array of organizations and collaborative projects. The Instititute's goal has been to reach as wide an audience – both academic and popular – as possible, and to serve as a conduit for educational, creative and scholarly projects.

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