We sat down with Aaron Dishy, one of our research fellows, to get an update on her summer at the Museum of Jewish Montreal.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working on tours and it’s been going well. We’ve had quite a few tours. We had one tour with 19 people this week and it went really well. I’m also working on quite a bit of uploading for the Museum. I’ve done upwards of six or seven exhibits and I’m just going over them now. One of them is for the YM-YWHA and another one is looking at early Chabad and Lubavitch movements in Montreal.
What was something interesting you learned from this week’s seminar?
I loved the seminar this week. It was about Jewish food, which is one of the most fascinating topics to talk about. It’s really interesting when you realize how diverse and eclectic Jewish foods actually are, especially when you look at Mizrahi cuisine. People forget that Jewish food isn’t just kreplach and cholent and that there’s a diverse spectrum of Jewish experiences.
You’re one of the leaders of the Mile End walking tour, Rabbis, Writers and Radicals.What is your favorite stop on the tour?
Probably B’nai Jacob. It’s now the Collège Français on Fairmount and it’s interesting because it’s so evident how grand the shul used to be and how Jewish the space was. They didn’t even cover up the mantel or the arch in the front of the building, they just kind of left it to be, so it looks like this Jewish building is just being kind of poorly covered over by a French high school.
So you’re from Toronto originally. Based on your experiences, what are some of the differences between the Toronto Jewish community and the Montreal Jewish community?
From what I’ve noticed, the Montreal Jewish community is much more interested in secular Jewish culture. The Toronto Jewish community is much more straight Orthodox and not as interested in celebrating yiddishkeit and the fingerprint and history of Jews in the city. Both communities are very interesting in different ways.
Since the summer is coming to an end, what has been your favourite part of working for MJM?
Just learning about the history of Montreal. It’s such a rich, diverse history for so many different ethnic groups. It’s been really fascinating to study how all these people have interacted and shaped the city into what it is today, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn more about that.
The Museum of Jewish Montreal Research Fellowship has been made possible by the generosity of Herschel Segal and Jane Silverstone-Segal, as well as Francine and Dr Leonard Schwartz. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through its Young Canada Works program.
You can read more about the tour Aaron leads in this article from the Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Montreal+Diary+Walking+tour+sheds+light+city+hidden+Jewish+history/10019343/story.html
Join us for a walking tour at http://imjm.ca/walkingtours