Montreal Chabad Sephardim Revisited – There’s More Than What Meets the Eye!

Since the post “Did You Know 25% of Chabad in Montreal are Sefardi?” I have been in contact with one Sephardic resident of Montreal. It was in this person’s experience that the study conducted by Charles Shahar may not have included Montreal Sephardim who have recently joined Chabad synagogues but may only consider themselves “part Chabad”.Chabad Montreal

According to my source, this kind of occurrence is not uncommon, and that a few years ago the magazine La Voix Sepharade ran a story on Sephardic Jews who have joined Chassidic communities in Montreal.

Although I was unable to track down the original article, I found this interview the magazine conducted with sociologist Sonia Sarah Lipsyc. Interestingly, Dr. Lipsyc believes that Sephardi Jews who have joined Chassidic movements are still very much a part of the Sephardic community:

“[One] of the distinctive features of the Sephardic leaders and rabbis who have joined Hasidic movements, is that they have been able to remain connected to the Sephardic community at large.

These leaders and their followers have grown up here. Whatever their choices religiously-speaking, they remain an integral part of the Sephardic community in Québec, which also recognizes them as such.”

— Sonia Sarah Lipsyc

If this is the case, that there are a number of Montreal Jews who consider themselves “part-Chabad” and Sephardi, we might be inclined to say that the Chabad community in Montreal has more Sephardim than the number given in Shahar’s report.

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