Tag Archive for essays

Wife versus Secretary (1922)

From the Toronto Star Weekly, September 2, 1922 Stenographer holds up the mirror to wives If Wives Could Get a Little Office Training Husbands Would Be Better Understood By Mayme Ober Peak In life’s triangles the stenographer seems to play a leading role. The movies and the colourful pens of the fictionist are wont to…

A Remembrance on Remembrance Day

My father rarely spoke about his war experiences, so when he did so one evening in December 1987, I recorded the conversation as best I could remember it in my journal.  At a restaurant for dinner, my father reminisced about the old days: but what else do people reminisce about? Britain declared war against Germany…

Memories of Good (Jewish) Eats on Eglinton & Downtown

by Ellen Weiser If you’re a baby boomer, or more accurately, a Jewish Toronto baby boomer, undoubtedly you have fond memories of a time and place that lives only in our dreams. Let me take you back to where I’m constantly accused of living … in the past. If anything, it was cheaper. For myself…

My day in court; or, Every dog has his day

I am one of this city’s great silent army of working poor, and so my name is Legion. I am just one of the masses, evidently, poor and huddled, yearning to breath free; one of the anonymous faces that wash up in the courtrooms of Old City Hall each morning, charged with bylaw infractions and…

The Falsified Passports Affair: a classical dialogue

Note: this piece was written in response to the so-called “falsified passports affair” of 1997, when Israel was lambasted for falsifying Canadian passports as a means of assisting in its war on Muslim fundamentalist terror. * * * HORATIO: I am much disturbed and aggrieved, Plutonius, at the extent of the trickery and deception practised…

Bathurst Manor memory: frog hunting in the creek

There were bull-frogs in the creek on the other side of Wilson Heights, Jackie told us: monstrous bull-frogs, the biggest he had ever seen. He had brought one home like a warrior returning from battle with a spoil. But he said the granddaddy of them all, the Moby Dick of bull-frogs, was still in the…

Profile: Toronto poet-essayist Kenneth Sherman

Toronto native Ken Sherman loved fishing as a boy at Jackson’s Point, where his family had a summer cottage. But these days, whenever he tosses out a line, it’s usually a line of poetry. At 50, Sherman is celebrating the publication of his 10th book — The Well: New and Selected Poems (Wolsak and Wynn,…

Ravvin’s scholarly ‘House of Words’

In A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity and Memory (McGill-Queens, 1998), Norman Ravvin brings a personal level to a collection of scholarly essays that are mostly about Jewish literature. In the introduction, he briefly describes his grandfather’s experience as an itinerant shochet or ritual slaughterer on the Prairies in the 1930s. Author of Sex,…

Sherman’s ‘Void and Voice’

Void & Voice: Essays on Literary and Historical Currents by Kenneth Sherman (Mosaic Press, 1998) opens with two short gem-like reminiscences, The Tailor Shop and Silver Braids, recalling the author’s grandfather and grandmother, respectively. Early in the century, Sherman’s grandfather opened Sherman Custom Tailors at College and Bathurst streets in Toronto, an establishment that brims…

Marmur ‘On Being A Jew’

The Holy Blossom Temple has just published On Being A Jew: A Reform Perspective, a new book of writings (1994) by Rabbi Dow Marmur to mark his tenth anniversary as spiritual leader of the Temple, home of the largest Reform congregation in Canada. “This book was the alternative to a dinner,” said Rabbi Marmur at…