Early Days: Informal Education in the Jewish Community

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Generally, early Jewish pioneers to Victoria and Vancouver were glad to have their children attend secular public schools. Many Jewish children attended Lord Strathcona School which was in the heart of Vancouver’s Jewish neighbourhood. However, there was also a strong desire to pass on the Jewish traditions, religion, and language they had been raised with.

Prior to the establishment of formal Jewish schools, one way of doing this was to hire a private Hebrew instructor called a melamed, to teach classes in the home. Another solution was to establish afternoon and evening Hebrew schools held in homes and in synagogues. Vancouver’s earliest afterschool religious classes were taught on Heatley Street by the Rosengard sisters. Eventually, these classes would solidify into Vancouver’s first formal Jewish school.