Right: St. Urbain
Street in Montreal.
Below: A Production
of "The Rothschilds"
at the Saidye
passed by the British Parliament
granting Jews the same rights and
Special to The Jewish News
privileges enjoyed by other subjects in
osher muffins? Yes, in- Quebec Province. That was decades
deed. You won't come to before such fundamental rights were
Montreal just to try granted to British Jews.
In the 1880s came thousands of
them — though you
should — but you pro- new immigrants escaping the Rus-
bably won't want to leave without sian pogroms. After a mass meeting
of all Montreal's citizens, three
taking some home.
So said the Montreal's Muffin warehouses on St. Peter Street were
Maven, Joe King, better known as converted into dormitories and dining
director of communications for Allied halls for the destitute arrivals. By
Jewish Community Services, a 70- 1917, about 130,000 Jewish im-
year-old organization that is the migrants had poured into Montreal
backbone of Jewish Montreal, .He was and Ibronto, some heading west,
others settling in.
right, of course.
Kosher muffins, moist and rich,
Another dramatic influx, from
are baked fresh daily at the popu- French-speaking North Africa, began
lar cafeteria-restaurant inside the about 30 years ago. It has brought
main branch (Snowdon) of Montreal's about 20,000 Sephardic Jews to date,
Young Men's Hebrew Association. mostly from Morocco but also from
And they disappear rapidly. Best bets: Tunisia, Algeria and Iraq, and made
the banana and bran varieties.
Montreal a major Sephardic center.
And Snowdon's kosher muffins
Indeed, says inveterate story-
are but one delight of Jewish Mon- teller King, Canada's oldest _im-
treal. The city has a rich Jewish migrant was a Moroccan Jew. David
heritage and a wide array of attrac- Cohen arrived in the 1960s at the age
tions for the Jewish visitor: a dynamic of 102, dressed in a long, white, flow-
Yiddish theater, one of the earliest ing gown typical of the Berber-
Holocaust memorials in North speaking desert tribes. At 108 he
America and the neighborhood became the only man in Canadian
streets made famous by native writers history sworn to citizenship in the
such as Mordecai Richler and Saul Berber language.
Bellow. Richler's years on the 5700
Today there are 100,000 Jews in
block of St. Urbain street — lined Montreal. About 20 percent are
with spiraling metal staircases — led Sephardic while 11,000 consider Yid-
to the engrossing "St. Urbain's dish their mother tongue. They live
Horseman" and his better known mostly in the city's Cote des Neiges
novel-turned-film, "The Apren- neighborhood, or the suburbs.of Cote
ticeship of Duddy Kravitz!'
St. Luc, Westmount, Hampstead and
Starting with a handful of ar- Outremont.
rivals in 1760, when British forces
The Montreal that Duddy Kravitz
conquered the French, the Jewish knew has changed over the last 40
community of Montreal has grown in years. Some parts of the old
fits and starts, but always with a neighborhood have been taken over
stronge sense of self-awareness and by the Greeks and Portuguese, others
community impact. In 1831, for exam- by Vietnamese and Haitian im-
ple, with only 107 Jews in all of migrants. leth Yehuda Synagogue,
Canada — 50 in Montreal — a bill was pride of the Avenue de l'Hotel-de-Ville
DAVID M. ALPERN
This French city has a unique
Jewish flavor with a heavy
FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 1988