Jewish Pioneer Agricultural Settlements in Western Canada

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Abstract

. Jewish settlers established agricultural settlements in the Canadian Prairie Provinces from the early 1880s through the first decade of the 20th century. Without exception these settlements were eventually abandoned by their founders. Today there are no Jewish rural agricultural communities in western Canada. Environmental adversity and lack of farming experience as major factors in the failure of the Jewish settlements are questioned. This study argues that Jewish pioneers abandoned their farms when they were unable to reconcile the demands of religious observance with the dispersed pattern of settlement mandated by the Dominion Lands Act of 1872. Poor coordination of aid by Jewish philanthropic institutions and their failure to strive for the concentration of Jewish colonization in a single geographic area exacerbated the social and religious problems faced by rural Jewish settlers. For many, relocation to a Jewish urban community was the only way to remain observant to Jewish religious law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1993

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