Jewish Edmonton Stories Online (JESO) is a project for visitors to learn and connect with the stories and places of the Jewish community’s past and present. JESO maps important places in Edmonton’s Jewish history, and documents stories from people in the community who have connections to these places.
The concept for JESO was developed by Jewish Edmontonians and heritage practitioners Adam Bentley and Paula E. Kirman. We were inspired to embark upon this project through our desire to build an online hub of local Jewish history and culture online. This website is intended to be an important reference tool for people in Edmonton and beyond, and also a way of connecting the Jewish community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the interviewees are longtime residents of Edmonton’s Jewish community. All of the interviews included the following questions:
- What places in Edmonton are important to you as a Jewish person?
- What are your memories and stories of these places?
- If any of these places no longer exist, what do you miss about them?
We hope to grow the website over time with more interviews. If you would like to be considered for an interview, or would like to suggest potential interviewees, you can contact us at [email protected]. You can also suggest locations we may have missed.
We thank the Edmonton Heritage Council, Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton for their support.
We are grateful to host Jewish Edmonton Stories Online on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional gathering place for Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquis, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inux/Inuit. This place – ᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ, amiskwacîwâskahikan, Edmonton is connected to the histories, languages, and cultures of these peoples enrich our shared heritage. As Jewish people living in this place, we have a responsibility to uphold the spirit and intent of Treaty, including understanding perspectives and experiences of people who are settlers, Jewish, Indigenous, or a combination of intersecting identities. Too often agreements between nations are excluded from the stories we tell about the past, this place, and ourselves. We must be truthful about what has happened in our communities and make meaningful decisions about who is included, who is represented, and how we reflect.