Bill Gladstone

Delisle exposes tradition of anti-semitism in Quebec

Three years after her controversial book The Traitor and the Jew exposed anti-semitic and Nazi-sympathizing sentiments in Depression-era Quebec, Esther Delisle is working on a second book, this one about an underground “pipeline” that enabled French Nazi collaborators and war criminals to escape to French Canada after World War II. “I’m looking at the Canadian…

Through the Eyes of The Eagle

When Russian-Polish immigrant Hirsch Wolofsky decided to launch a Yiddish daily newspaper in Montreal in August 1907, it was clearly an idea whose time had come. Impoverished Russian-Jewish masses, fleeing pogroms, revolution and war, had begun settling in Montreal in record numbers. Strangers in a strange land, they read New York Yiddish papers like the…

Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey

Gerald Tulchinsky, professor emeritus of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, has just produced his magnum opus in the form of a new 630-page book, Canada’s Jews: A People’s Journey, published by the University of Toronto Press in both hardcover and softcover. “I wanted to describe and analyze the significance of the transitions that Jews…

The Jews of Windsor

The Jewish community of Windsor, Ontario, had a population of 3,000 at its zenith in the 1930s, and has been whittled down to about one-third that size in the modern era. It was never one of Canada’s major Jewish centers, but, as Jonathan V. Plaut writes in a new historical study, the border town’s Jewish…

Search Out the Land

British authorities in the 1700s and 1800s encouraged Jews to come to the New World and help develop the colonies, according to a new ground-breaking academic work that is “the first extensively documented study of the early history of the Jews in Canada,” according to Sheldon Godfrey, who with his wife Judith wrote the fine…

The de Solas: A Distinguished Sephardic Lineage

When Abraham de Sola arrived in Montreal in 1846 to serve as spiritual leader of the city’s Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, he carried a letter from his father, David de Sola, rabbi of London’s Bevis Marks synagogue, beseeching the community to look after him because he was only 19 years old. Abraham de Sola was…

Shining a light on Jewish names

A Talmudic source indicates that after Alexander the Great conquered Palestine in 333 BCE, all Jewish boys of priestly families born the following year were named Alexander as a form of tribute. Like his namesake, a contemporary Alexander is proving a skilled and savvy conqueror. Alexander Beider, the Paris-based onomastician, has marched from one province…

Patai’s history of Hungarian Jews

The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology (Wayne State University Press) by Raphael Patai is a monumental 720-page treatise that traces the history of the Jews of the Carpathian basin from their origin in Roman times to their near-obliteration in 1944 and beyond, right up to the present moment. Patai, who died recently at 86, was…

Gone but not forgotten: author Margaret Mitchell

Timorous and untested as an author, Margaret Mitchell persuaded herself during her seven-year literary labour that the manuscript she was working on was so terrible it would never be printed. Like a woman enceinte but too modest or superstitious to tell anyone, she kept the project a secret from friends and acquaintances. Only her husband…

The City Man: Fine novel of ’30s Toronto

Howard Akler has made an auspicious literary debut with his first novel, The City Man (Coach House Books), a crisply written tale that conjures up the look and feel of Toronto in the ‘30s. The story focuses on Toronto Star reporter Eli Morenz who, freshly returned from a convalescence in the country, writes a riveting…