A Little House in the Canadian Prairie
A Recap of the Attempt to Start an Independent Jewish State in Saskatchewn, Canada
"We visited Saskatchewan. The local Indians gave it the name, which means “Waters flowing from the mountain.” In aerial photographs this province in the south-west of Canada in the shape of an oblong, is 652,000 square kilometers of arid steppes, frozen and empty. One million inhabitants with a density of 1.6 people to the square kilometer.
In 1903, the Sixth Zionist Congress buried the Uganda proposal for Jewish settlement but did not suggest an alternative. As opposed to the promotors of Zion who declared “Eretz Israel at all costs,” some Jewish leaders thought differently. The British writer, Israel Zangwill advocated mass Jewish settlement, preferably within the boundaries of the British Empire. He found an ally in Winston Churchill, the then British deputy minister for the colonies, who responded, “The plan has spirit, energy and the ability to be implemented – I will do everything in my power to help bring it to happen. The settlement was meant to be in the province of Saskatchewan, as some Jews who had fled from earlier pogroms in Eastern Europe had already settled there. They would absorb the new immigrants and teach them how to work the land. The notion of resettling the Jews in Canada was dropped from the national agenda in 1906.
We landed in Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan. In 1891 there were nine Jews here, by 1911, the community numbered 130, including a Shoceht. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought the number to 1,000 among the 2,500 Jews in all of Saskatchewan. Mixed marriages, the bright lights of Toronto and the friendly border with the United States have drawn away almost everyone. We met the little Jews left in the area."
A Canadian Prairie to Remember
Saskatchewan is a prairie and boreal province in Canada, the only province without a natural border. It has an area of 651,900 square kilometres (251,700 sq mi), nearly 10 percent of which is fresh water, composed mostly of rivers, reservoirs, and the province's 100,000 lakes.
Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, to the northeast by Nunavut, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota. As of Q1 2020, Saskatchewan's population was estimated at 1,181,987. Residents primarily live in the southern prairie half of the province, while the northern boreal half is mostly forested and sparsely populated. Of the total population, roughly half live in the province's largest city Saskatoon or the provincial capital Regina.