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Jewish Women on the Map - Port of Quebec, 1738 - Esther Brandeau


Port of Quebec, 1738 - Esther Brandeau Quebec, QC

In 1738, the first Jew arrived in Quebec. Esther Brandeau had disguised herself in boy's clothes, journeying from France on the ship Saint-Michel.

"this passenger had attracted considerable attention until the remarkable discovery was made that the comely, spirited youth whose manners were so refined was in fact on 'Jacques' but Esther.'*

At the time, Jews were not allowed in France's new territories, so she was imprisoned for several months while authorities attempted to get her to convert. Despite the fact that she had lived as a man for five years, and strenuously did not want to return home, she also refused to convert. Thus, French Canada's first Jewish resident was eventually shipped back to France where she disappears from the historical record.

For more info: http://www.shalomquebec.org/history.aspx

*Sack, History of the Jews in Canada.

Image Source: http://historyproject.ucdavis.edu/ic/standard/5.00/5.4_1.00/

History happened here (strike, speech, event, etc.)
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Submitted by

Ari Davidow

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Port of Quebec, 1738 - Esther Brandeau." (Viewed on April 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/onthemap/port-of-quebec-1738>.