Did You Know 25% of Chabad in Montreal are Sefardi?

People often think of Chabad as a group of Jews of mainly Ashkenazic descent. Although it has been noted that Jews of Sefardic (Sephardic) heritage have found the Chabad community a place they could call home (Shokeid, 1986). While this was always thought of a minor trend, did you know that as much as 25% of the Chabad community in Montreal are Sefardi (Sephardim)?

Based on a 2003 study of Orthodox Jews in Montreal, about 12% of Chabad households are headed by a Sefardi couple, 12% by a Sefardi and Ashkenazi. The total results in 24% of Chabad households in Montreal include at least one Sefardi parent (Shahar, 2003).*

Cases Percent of Sefard Percent of Total
Sefard Household 28 49% 12%
Mix Household 29 51% 12%
All Sefard 57 100% 24%
Only Ashkenaz 184 76%
Total Households 241 100%

The Chabad community originated in White Russia (and thus were mostly of Ashkenaz descent). Over the years, Sefardi Jews seemed to have joined the movement in rather significant numbers. For an analysis on why Jews of Sefardic heritage may have found Chabad attractive, see Shokeid (1986, pp. 158-160).

*In Shahar’s report, he lists 18% as the total figure of Sefardi adults in the Lubavitch community (that is, 18% of all Chabad adults). But when analyzing the data, it becomes apparent that of the study’s respondents, 24% of households reported to be either Sefardi or married to a Sefardi.

References

Shahar, Charles. “A Comprehensive Study of the Ultra Orthodox Community of Greater Montreal (2003).” Federation CJA (Montreal). 2003.

Shokeid, Moshe. Children of Circumstances: Israeli Emigrants in New York. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, (1988): 139-160.

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