Bill Gladstone

Book explores history of Jews of Salonica

Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece By Devin E. Naar. Stanford University Press 2016. by Bill Gladstone Jews first arrived in the city of Salonica, formerly known as Thessaloniki, soon after their dispersal following the Roman conquest of ancient Israel. Salonica again became a prime destination for Sephardic Jews after Spain expelled…

Hooray for Reclaim the Records

Above: Screengrab of Reclaim the Records homepage. This fall (2016), a U.S.-based grass-roots organization called Reclaim the Records (RTR) celebrated its first major victory by opening a website (www.nycmarriageindex.com) to allow the public to search the indexes of New York City marriage records from 1950 to 1995 for free. The records were previously accessible only…

Broadway’s newest Fiddler is one for the ages

  Wonder of wonder and miracle of miracles, the new production of Fiddler On The Roof at the Broadway Theatre in New York — directed by Bartlett Sher and freshly choreographed by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechter — is good enough to make seasoned theatregoers forget that they ever saw a previous production of Fiddler or…

Review: Sailor and Fiddler, by Herman Wouk (2016)

Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-old Author, by Herman Wouk (Simon & Schuster) This slim volume, which the author describes as a “non-autobiography,” will be of special interest to people interested in literature, for it focuses primarily on Wouk’s writing life and how he came to create such popular works as The Caine Mutiny,…

A Matzah Factory on Ontario Street

One good thing about matzah is that even after the passage of many months, it often tastes no more stale coming out of the box than when it was first baked. In a parallel vein, I hope the following tales concerning an early matzah factory in Toronto won’t seem too stale even if they go…

OJA exhibit pays homage to Benjamin Brown

From the Canadian Jewish News, February 2016 “Location, location, location,” they say, are the three most important things in real estate. If so, the Ontario Jewish Archives (OJA) has scored a wonderful coup by securing the Urbanspace Gallery in the majestic loft building at 401 Richmond Street West as the venue for an exhibition in…

Nate Leipciger’s ‘The Weight of Freedom’

From the Canadian Jewish News, February 2016 The powerful Holocaust movie Son of Saul, which is up for the “best foreign film” prize at the Academy Awards on February 28, presents a gut-wrenching view of Auschwitz-Birkenau from the point of view of a sondercommando: part of a group that herds prisoners into the gas chamber, processes…

Inside the RCMP’s bigamy files

From InsideToronto Blog, December 2015 Although my client’s late father had always been told he had been born in Montreal, we ultimately found his birth record in Toronto. Why the purposeful deception? Turns out my client’s grandmother was trying to cover up the fact that her husband had been exposed as a bigamist in a…

Obit: Adam Fuerstenberg (1939-2016)

From the Canadian Jewish News, January 2016 Born in Radom, Poland in 1939, Adam Gabriel Fuerstenberg survived the war as a child by escaping with his mother to Galicia, then Soviet Asia, while most of their extended family were murdered by the Nazis. Residing after the war in a Displaced Persons Camp in Stuttgart, Germany,…