Jewish Community of Winnipeg – 1911-1920 part two

The Origins of Winnipeg’s Jewish Community

Arthur Chiel describes the early decades of the twentieth century as the flowering of Zionist aspirations for the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Winnipeg Zionists contributed to the process in a myriad of ways including hosting the annual convention of the Canadian Zionist Federation in 1917 and a year later, celebrating the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration whereby the British government endorsed the idea of a Jewish state. Also during World War I, many Winnipeg Jews, imbued with the Zionist zeitgeist, enlisted with the Jewish Legion to fight under the leadership of General Allenby in Egypt and Palestine. Female Zionist organizations such as Red Mogen David and Hadassah had emerged by 1919.

The political left was also well represented. The Arbeiter Ring (Workers Circle), which established roots in Winnipeg in 1907, was primarily a self-help organization that sought to address the concerns of Jewish workers, espoused the cause of socialism and created a range of cultural and educational activities that reflected its three branches, namely revolutionary Marxists, Socialist or Labour Zionists and Anarchists.

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