Saint John's Jewish community is actively recruiting in Israel, hoping to boost its numbers.

Lawyer Eital Muskal

Lawyer Eital Muskal, who moved to Saint John three years ago, still runs her practice in Israel, but also works as a consultant screening the new Israeli immigrants. (CBC)

As many as 250 Jewish families once lived in the city, but that number has dwindled to 35 in recent years.

Twenty new families from Israel have recently arrived, however, and more are coming, said Norm Hamburg, who is part of the recruitment drive.

Potential immigrants visit Saint John before they move, said Hamburg.

"This screening process screens the candidates so that I think New Brunswick would love to have these people. They're for the most part, highly educated, they come with some very unique skills," he said.

Eital Muskal is a lawyer who moved to Saint John three years ago.

She still runs her practice in Israel, but also works as a consultant screening the new Israeli immigrants.

"It's easier when your partners are a community that wants you to be here when they open their doors, when they open their hearts, when they open their networks and you have partners that do see, they look 10 years ahead. They're saying, 'You're here because you're the next generation.'"

Muskal says she's mostly talking to Israelis who work in the IT field, and many have job offers before they arrive.

The Saint John Jewish community has formed through three main waves of immigration, according to The Atlantic Jewish Council.

The founding of the community began in 1858, with the arrival of Solomon Hart and his family, who sailed from England to New York and then settled in Saint John, the website states.

The second wave was around the turn of the 20th century, when hundreds of Jewish immigrants fled eastern Europe to escape religious persecution and poverty, according to the website. Those who fell ill were quarantined on Partridge Island and some are buried there.

The third wave, due primarily to the Second World War, brought only a few immigrants to the city, all of whom left by 1987 for various reasons.