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Notable Canadian Jews

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  • Herbert Esser Gray (1931 - 2014)
    Herbert Eser Gray, PC, CC, QC (born May 25, 1931) is a retired Canadian politician. He was Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister [1], and is one of only a few Canadians ever granted the title ...
  • Sydney David Pierce (1901 - 1992)
    Sydney Pierce (LCC 1918) Sydney Pierce was a celebrated diplomat and spokesman for Canada. For nearly 30 years, he served as ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and was Deputy High C...
  • Benjamin Brown (1890 - 1974)
    Benjamin Brown was one of the first practicing Jewish architects in Toronto.
  • Alfred Bader, CBE (1924 - 2018)
    Alfred Robert Bader, CBE (April 28, 1924 – December 23, 2018) was a Canadian chemist, businessman, philanthropist, and collector of fine art. He was considered by the Chemical & Engineering News poll...
  • William Shatner
    William Shatner OC (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor, author, producer, director, screenwriter, and singer. In his seven decades of acting, Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal ...

Canadian Jews or Jewish Canadians are Canadian citizens of the Jewish faith and/or Jewish ethnicity. Canada boasts the fourth largest Jewish community in the world, exceeded only by the United States, France, and Israel. Most of the Jewish community consists of Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated from Europe. The city of Montreal has a substantial French-speaking Jewish community from North Africa and France.


The first Jews arrived in Canada during the second half of the 18th century, after Canada passed from French to British hands, and Jews were allowed to settle there. The first group of Jews settled in Montreal, which remains a major centre of the Jewish community today.

Until the mid-19th century, almost all Canada's Jews lived in Montreal, although an influx of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, and later from Lithuania, led to the dispersion of the community to other cities and towns. Migration towards the end of the 19th century also brought Jews to Canada, primarily from the Russian Empire, and to a much lesser extent, from Rumania.

List of notable people


  • Frank Gehry, Canadian-born American architect and Pritzker Prize winner


  • Joe Shuster, Toronto-born Canadian comic book artist. He was best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman


  • Hyman "Hy" Buller, Montreal-born professional hockey player
  • Cecil Hart, Bedford, Quebec-born coach of the Montreal Canadiens and namesake of the NHL's Hart Memorial Trophy
  • Adam Henrich, Thornhill-born professional hockey player
  • Michael Henrich, Thornhill-born professional hockey player and the first Jew to be drafted in the 1st round of the NHL Entry Draft
  • Alex Levinsky, American-born former Toronto Maple Leaf, New York Ranger and Chicago Blackhawk defenseman as well as 2-time Stanley Cup Champion
  • Sammy Luftspring, Toronto-born Canadian Welterweight Boxing Champion
  • Bob Nyström, Swedish-born former New York Islander and 4-time Stanley Cup Champion (Converted to marry his wife)



  • Hart Bochner, Toronto-born actor
  • Lloyd Bochner, Toronto-born actor
  • Lorne Greene, (born Lyon Hyman Green) Ottawa-born actor
  • Monty Hall, (born Maurice Halperin), Winnipeg-born emcee of Let's Make a Deal
  • Kenny Hotz, Toronto-born actor, director, screenwriter and producer
  • Howie Mandel, Toronto-born actor and comedian
  • Lorne Michaels, (born Lorne Michael Lipowitz), Toronto-born Canadian-American television producer, writer, and comedian. Known for creating Saturday Night Live
  • Seth Rogan, Vancouver-born actor and comedian
  • William Shatner, Montreal-born actor and spokesman
  • Frank Shuster, Toronto-born comedian and half of the Canadian Comedy duo Wayne and Shuster
  • Al Waxman, Toronto-born actor and director
  • Johnny Wayne, (born John Louis Weingarten), Toronto-born comedian and half of the Canadian Comedy duo Wayne and Shuster

Film directors and producers


Jurists and Public Servants

  • Rosalie Silberman Abella, born in a Displaced Persons camp near Stuttgart, Germany as her father was a lawyer in the camp. Current Supreme Court of Canada Justice.
  • Aaron Ezekiel Hart, Trois-Rivières, Quebec-born lawyer. He was the first Jew to be called to the bar in Canada and the first Jewish lawyer in British North America
  • Louis Rasminsky, Montreal-born 3rd Governor of Bank of Canada


  • Leonard Cohen, Montreal-born musician, singer-songwriter, poet and novelist
  • Steven Page, Scarborough-born former lead singer of Barenaked Ladies


  • Linda Frum, Toronto-born Canadian Senator
  • Ezekiel Hart, Trois-Rivières, Quebec-born entrepreneur and politician. Known for being the first Jew elected to public office in Canada
  • Bob Kaplan, Toronto-born former Solicitor General of Canada
  • Mel Lastman, Toronto-born Former Mayor of the City of North York and the amalgamated City of Toronto, Businessman

Rabbis and Cantorists

  • Cantor Louis Danto, Polish-born Cantor Emeritus of Toronto's Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue
  • Rabbi Joseph Kelman, Vienna-born Eighth generation Rabbi. Was the founding Rabbi of Toronto's Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue
  • Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, German-born Rabbi Emeritus of Toronto's oldest congregation Holy Blossom Temple


  • Irving Abella, Toronto-born writer, historian and academic. He specializes in the History of the Jews in Canada and the Canadian labour movement
  • Sidney Altman Montreal-born molecular biologist and co-winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Norman Cantor, Winnipeg-born hstorian, essayist and teacher of Ancient Greeks and Middle Ages periods
  • Calvin Gotlieb, Toronto-born professor and computer scientist who has been called the "Father of Computing" in Canada
  • Walter Kohn, Austrian-born American theoretical physicist and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (held Canadian Citizenship and gave it up when he became an American Citizen)
  • Rudolph Marcus, Montreal-born winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


External links