Sacred Sites: Dishonour and Healing

The UVic History Department, Congregation Emanu-El, UVic's I Witness Field School, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Victoria are pleased announce a celebration of an online exhibit of the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC, SACRED SITES, about the 2011 desecration of Jewish graves in Victoria and the response that it engendered. The exhibit was created by two public history students in our department. 

Sunday January 17

7:00 pm at Congregation Emanu-El

Corner of Blanshard and Pandora

The event will include a short presentation by the students who created the site and then a question and answer period. Light refreshments will be served.


This online exhibit investigates the 2011 desecration of Victoria’s historic Jewish cemetery and the outstanding community response it engendered. An engaging multi-media exhibit, Sacred Sites affirms the importance of the Jewish cemetery in Victoria, explains individual reactions to and actions against racism, and traces the connections between these local events and the broader contestation of sacred spaces in British Columbia and elsewhere. ​

When Congregation Emanu-El members organized a vigil to stand against the anti-Semitic violence, they were surprised and reassured by over a thousand Victorians who attended the event. As students enrolled in University of Victoria’s Public History graduate seminar, Alissa Cartwright and Kaitlin Findlay partnered with the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC to create this online exhibit about the desecration and the community’s response to it. Cartwright and Findlay were tasked with investigating the roots of the local response and comparing it to other communal reactions to acts of desecration. They conducted oral history interviews with congregants and other individuals who attended the vigil, as well as museum professionals and historians and used the exhibit to situate the desecration and the vigil in broad theoretical and comparative contexts. Their outstanding exhibit is an example of history in action.