Bill Gladstone

History of Jews of London Ontario

A History of the Jewish Community of London Ontario, by Bill Gladstone, begins with the first documented Jews in the 1850s, highlighting the waves of immigrants in each era, the communal challenges, and the many success stories in business, medicine, law and the arts. The book also presents dozens of family histories and traces the…

The Jew in Canada

A treasure trove of history and genealogy, edited by Arthur D. Hart and originally published 1926; it remains the most thorough book ever assembled about the Jews of Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver and other Canadian cities. Hundreds of capsule biographies of prominent personalities and community leaders, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, charity workers, etc., each…

Rise of the Toronto Jewish Community

Based on a 60-year-old manuscript that surfaced in 2009, The Rise of the Toronto Jewish Community by Shmuel M. Shapiro paints an authentic and colourful portrait of the community from its earliest days to about 1950, highlighting its strong immigrant and Yiddish flavour. Vivid descriptions of the soup kitchens, soda parlours, steamship agents, coffee houses…

Only Yesterday (Jews of Toronto)

ONLY YESTERDAY: Collected Pieces on the Jews of Toronto by Benjamin Kayfetz and Stephen Speisman In this collection of 18 evocative pieces, the authors, both notable historians, recall the old synagogues, rabbis, communal leaders, politics, daily life, Yiddish press and theatre in  Toronto’s old downtown “Ward” and Spadina neighbourhoods. Features lively articles on J. B. Salsberg,…

Fond farewell to Frydman-Kohl after 25 years

◊ After the departure of Rabbi Benjamin Friedberg from Toronto’s Beth Tzedec Synagogue in the early 1990s, the congregation turned to Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl to lead it into the future. The following is an excerpt from The History of Beth Tzedec Congregation Toronto Canada (2016). It is being published as Rabbi Frydman-Kohl departs from Beth…

Beth Sholom Profile: Sylvia Banack (1921 – 2015)

Appeared originally in Beth Sholom Bulletin, Toronto, 2013 Sylvia Banack and her husband Henry Banack joined Beth Sholom as founding members in 1946, and their eldest children, the twins Auby and Arlene, had a joint bar-mitzvah and bat-mitzvah in the shul in 1957. It was, Sylvia recalls, the congregation’s first bat-mitzvah ceremony. Next year [2014],…

“HE WAS THE CZAR’S GUEST”

Herman Kempinski was evidently a first cousin once removed to my great-great-grandfather, Rafael Glicenstein, and both came from the town of Konin, Poland. Herman, born about 1854, was one of the many thousands of Russian-Polish Jews to emigrate to the United States in the late 1800s: he left Konin at age 17 in 1872. He…

Herman Wouk (1915 – 2019)

Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-old Author, by Herman Wouk (Simon & Schuster) ◊  Note: This review of Herman Wouk’s memoir was first published in 2016. Herman Wouk died on May 17, 2018, age 103. This slim volume, which the author describes as a “non-autobiography,” will be of special interest to people interested in…

Jordan Peterson offers ‘constructive wisdom’

From the Canadian Jewish News, February 2019 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan B Peterson (Random House Canada) Jordan Peterson is a professor of psychology, most recently at the University of Toronto, with a thorough grounding in scientific literature, particularly in the biological sciences, psychology, and the nature of the human…