Our Story

1917: On December 23rd 1917 at the 15th Zionist Convention in Winnipeg, Bernard “Dov” Joseph of Montreal CYJ addressed the conference proclaiming the need for and the formation of the Young Judaea National League of Canada. “That the Canadian Zionist Federation shall allot one thousand dollars annually for Young Judaean purposes in Canada, this sum being divided among the different Young Judaean organizations of the Dominion.” Dov Joseph was to become the symbol of Young Judaea as its founder.

1919: First Convention  of the Federation of Young Judaea of Canada

1925: Already 75 clubs across Canada

1928-1932: Noted poet A.M. Klein was active in the national scene in Young Judaea as editor of The Judaean and the educational director of the movement. In the 1931 Yearbook he wrote the lead article on the aims and ideals of Young Judaea, “The time has come for Canadian Jewish Youth to take its destiny in its own hands, and in a manner fitting the tradition of its past, to mold its national future…We must be the masters of our own fate! Jewish life, as at present constituted, with its barrenness, and emptiness, its utter meaninglessness, its haphazard activity, stands as an imperious challenge to Canadian Jewish Youth. Some have already taken up the challenge! Others, we feel sure, will follow!”

Young Dov Joseph

1933: At a National Convention a resolution passed making the movement’s new priority the setting up of summer camps which would simulate Israeli colony life.

1935: Membership reaches 5000.

1940’s: Many Judaeans served in the army in Europe and the Middle east and were involved in packaging and shipping thousands of crates overseas.

1950: National Convention in Toronto, a resolution was passed, making Hanoar Hatzioni Young Judaea’s official affiliate in Israel.

1951: First Biluim Canada with 35 Judaeans from across Canada. One of the outcomes was the formation of Canadian Young Judaea’s first official Garin:

“Whereas we, members of Yehuda Hatzair b’Canada believe there is a need for Chalutzic Aliyah to Israel and, whereas we believe in Kibbutz Galuyot – the ingathering of exiles,…and whereas we have dedicated ourselves to Chalutzic Aliyah and desire this outlet and whereas we have dedicated ourselves to the task of building the first kibbutz of Yehuda Hatzair, we: Rhoda Ain, Louis Cogan, Edna Edelberg, Herman Cohen, Albert Ghertenstein, Herby Goldman, Henny Lowy, May Polksy, Menachem Roytenberg, Sid Ritter, Naomi Sharpe, Bunny Sherman, Tessie Sorokin, Abe Stochinsky, Ted Tulchinksy – members of this tnua, resolve and form “Garin Aleph shel Yehuda Hatzair b’Canada.”

September 15th, 1951: Six Young Judaeans to study in Israel. Herb Horwich, Harvey Narrol, Ben Zion Shapiro, Elliot J. Markus, Leo H. Marcus, and Herman Cohen. This was Young Judaea's first contingent – the Machon. The first contingent of Machon met with Young Judaea’s founder, Dov Joseph, that year in Jerusalem.

1960’s: By now CYJ had the following camps:  Camp Hatikvah (B.C), Camp Kadimah (N.S.), Camp Kinneret (PQ), Camp Shalom and Solelim (ON), Biluim Canada and Biluim Israel.

London Confrence, 1960

Maritime Conference, 1960s, Moncton

1970: Tragic loss of Lyle Isaacs. From the Judaean, January, 1971 entitled, “In Grief – And With Rededication – We Mourn.” “Those who knew Lyle – even those who had only heard of him – have since that day been haunted by the utter meaninglessness of his death. To many of us, Lyle had the most to offer of all the human beings we knew in this world, and his death was a cruel and snuffing out of this limitless potential. The loss to Young Judaea was a multi-dimensional tragedy.”

Camp Kadimah, 2001

1970’s: Vital times for Young Judaea! Every year was met with excitement and a new sense of vitality. P’gishot, Mifgashim and Kinusim were held all over Canada. Hagshama closed and Camp Kinneret opened

1980’s: Hadracha programming and Aliyah seminars increased, while the current Adult Committee, “Friends of Young Judaea,” was created.

1990’s: All camps start to expand their numbers and infrastructures are improved. In the late 1990’s Canadian Young Judaea saw an expansion of its Israel Programs, which increased the number of Judaeans in Israel to over 200.

Shorashim Program Chanukkah, 2017

CYJ alumni begin to replace Shlichim as Camp Directors all across Canada

2000’s: The 2000’s saw a significant increase of programs year round for CYJ campers and alumni of all ages. The annual spring convention, Kinus, was reinstated.

2007: Gala Reunion honouring Helen Glazer for over 40 years of dedication to Camp Solelim and CYJ National.

2017: Canadian Young Judaea celebrates their 100th anniversary at Camp Shalom. Joined by alumni, past and present camp directors, and supporters of the movement, we celebrate CYJ’s prosperity and success.

2018: Canadian Young Judaea launches the first ever summer camp for Jewish LGBTQ+ youth called Machane Lev (Camp Heart).