Bill Gladstone

The Forgotten ‘Fusgeyers’ from Romania

Curious about your Jewish ancestors from Romania? Read Jill Culiner’s ‘Finding Home: In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers’ Between about 1900 and 1914, multitudes of impoverished Jewish refugees sold their meagre possessions, joined into large groups for protection, and trekked hundreds of miles out of Romania on foot. The exodus of the Jewish “Fusgeyers” — Yiddish…

Books gather dust in Toronto’s ghostly Jewish Public Library

From Canadian Jewish News, November 2015 Ever since the great exodus of Montreal Jews to Toronto began some 40 years ago, the Toronto Jewish community has undergone continuous growth while Montreal’s has been in slow decline, so that today there may be approximately twice as many Jews in the Greater Toronto Area than in the…

180 million pages of Holocaust records at International Tracing Service

From Canadian Jewish News, November 2015 Containing some 180 million pages of Holocaust-related documents, the vast archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) of the Red Cross in Bad Arolson, Germany, was subject to strict German privacy laws until 2007, when an 11-country international commission decided to open it up to public access. Today copies…

Books: Brooklyn; The Boston Girl; and others

Immigrant Fiction from Brooklyn to Boston From the Canadian Jewish News, January 2016 First, a bit of movie trivia: what New York-born Jewish actor, plays an Italian-American plumber in love with an Irish immigrant in what recent film? Hint: most of it takes place in 1950s Brooklyn. The answer is Emory Cohen, who plays Tony…

Profile: Irving Ungerman (1923-2015)

In Memorium: Irving Ungerman, born February 1, 1923, died October 27, 2015 From the Beth Sholom Bulletin, June 2010 Irving Ungerman remembers the way it was growing up in the old Kensington market neighbourhood and being attacked by bullies because he was Jewish. “Guys used to hit me all the time — I was a…

Christian missions proselytized Jews in ‘the Ward’

From the Canadian Jewish News, April 2015 Having recently marked its 25th anniversary, the organization Jews for Judaism continues to counter the activities of missionary groups in Toronto that deceptively target Jews for conversion. However, Christian missions to the Jews are certainly nothing new in this city. In the era before the First World War, a…

Restoring Siedleczka’s old Jewish cemetery

  From Canadian Jewish News, 2008 Howard Nightingale, a Toronto lawyer, has been the driving force behind the restoration of an old abandoned Jewish cemetery in Siedleczka, Poland, that will be officially rededicated in a ceremony set for August 17th [2008]. Nightingale and representatives of numerous other Toronto Jewish families plan to be in attendance,…

Howard Jacobson offers post-apocalyptic tale in ‘J’

Max Glickman, the fictional Jewish cartoonist who is the narrator of Howard Jacobson’s 2006 novel Kalooki Nights, freely admits that he views the Jewish people as “an immoderate, overemphatic people, much given to exaggeration” and adds: “So what? I call it giving value for money myself. You prick us so we bleed profusely.” In his…

Shteyngart as funny, self-deprecating ‘Little Failure’

Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart. Published by Random House From the Canadian Jewish News, May 2015 In this funny, self-deprecating memoir, Gary Shteyngart tells the story of his family’s migration from Russia to America in 1979, when he was seven years old, and his subsequent transformation not only into a fully-grown Americanized Jewish male, but…