As Jewish Heritage Month begins in Canada, 42 additional jurisdictions across the country have recognized the month.

The provinces, municipalities and school boards accepted an invitation by B’nai Brith Canada to formally recognize Jewish Heritage Month, B’nai Brith said in a statement.

The advocacy organization sent out the invitations in an effort to enhance the declaration by Canada’s parliament of May as Jewish Heritage Month.

“In 2018 Parliament enacted Bill S-232, ‘An Act respecting Canadian Jewish Heritage Month’ designating the month of May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month thereby recognizing the important contributions that Jewish Canadians have made to Canada’s social, economic, political, and cultural fabric,” B’nai Brith said on a newly created website celebrating the month.

Noting that the Jewish community has a long history in Canada and has made many well known contributions to the country despite having to overcome discrimination, B’nai Brith explained that the month was not receiving the attention it merited, and so launched the initiative to promote it at all levels of the country.

“The Jewish community has a long and proud history in Canada and has made significant contributions to the wellbeing, growth, and prosperity of the country. Jews have excelled in a wide range of endeavours including the arts, sciences, the law, architecture, media, finance, entertainment, and business significantly contributing to Canadian life while having to overcome systemic barriers of discrimination that endured until quite recent times in Canadian history.”

It added that recognizing May as Jewish Heritage Month was a way to spread a positive message about the Jewish community, countering the “appalling uptick of antisemitism” that has occurred in Canada in the last several years.

“We are delighted that so many new jurisdictions are joining us in recognizing Jewish Heritage Month in Canada,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn. “Some, like Victoria, B.C., adopted a proclamation, some like the English Montreal School Board adopted motions, while others like the City of Winnipeg issued official letters from their mayors.”

“The goal was to heighten public awareness of Jewish Heritage Month and to encourage jurisdictions to host events that highlight the local Jewish communities. We are delighted to see such widespread support nationally,” Mostyn added.