A school of Jewish secular, humanistic culture and thought was founded in 1945, when Jewish culture and the Yiddish language seemed to be threatened by assimilation in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust. Taking its name from I.L. Peretz, an author and custodian of Yiddish culture, the Vancouver Peretz Institute or Peretz Schule first opened in a large house on West 13th Avenue and Birch Street. Based on the twin ideals of socialist values and loyalty to the Jewish people, it sought to establish an educational institution less bound to old-world traditionalism. It provided a Sunday school for the young and Yiddish classes for all.
Known as the Vancouver Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture since 2001, its approach continues to encourage Jewish identity without being doctrinaire. It is now located in a modern facility in the Oakridge neighbourhood of Vancouver.