CIJA mourns the passing of professor Irving Abella

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|July 04, 2022

Ottawa, ON – July 4, 2022 – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs mourns the passing of Professor Irving Abella. As a leading Canadian thinker, academic, and public intellectual, Abella made significant contributions to the public conversation in Canada including his ground-breaking work on the Canadian labour movement and his chronicling of the rich history of Canada’s Jewish community. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of his “contribution to documenting the story of Jewish Canadians, and his commitment to the principles of social justice and tolerance.”

In collaboration with Harold Troper, Abella offered a stinging rebuke of Canadian immigration policy during WWII, adding the phrase ‘None is Too Many’ to the Canadian lexicon. This work has shaped Canada’s attitudes about providing refuge to those in need ever since. Abella was a valued adviser to Canada’s Jewish community including serving as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1992 to 1995.

Upon learning of his passing, Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, released the following statement:

“Irving Abella’s contributions as a Canadian and as a Jew cannot be overstated nor can they be divided.

“He used his talents as a historian to protect and preserve Canada’s Jewish history, and to ensure that our community had a voice. His commitment to holding the government of Canada accountable for their WWII immigration policy, has shaped the lives of generations of refugees and immigrants that have benefitted from the critical review of a flawed system. A champion of the ordinary man, he chronicled and fought for workers’ rights. His legacy of nearly five decades of Jewish scholarship and community service is one that inspires and will continue to shape the field of Jewish studies, which he pioneered. His impact on Canadian Jewish life is immeasurable and will live on for decades.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Rosie and the entire Abella family during this sad time. May his memory be for a blessing.”


About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community. 

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About CIJA
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada.
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