Bill Gladstone

Landsmanshaft and Jewish mutual benefit societies of Toronto

The following is an abridgement of a talk that Bill Gladstone gave to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada (Toronto) on March 28, 2012. Definition A landsmanshaft is a group consisting, at least initially, of Jewish immigrants who came from the same village, town, country or region in Eastern Europe or the Russian Empire. The…

Profile: Margie Wolfe of Second Story Press

Born in Germany to Holocaust-survivor parents after World War Two, Toronto publisher Margie Wolfe has for many years been engaged in the pivotal task of exporting published Holocaust books to some 50 countries around the globe, both in their original English and translated into about 40 languages. Holocaust books for young readers are a main…

The oldest family tree in the world

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 24, 2004 You may not find Dr. Neil Rosenstein’s new book listed on national best-seller lists, but the noted genealogist — with his tongue halfway in his cheek — compares it to the popular thriller “The Da Vinci Code.” Both books, the noted American genealogist and surgeon said, deal in…

Obit: William Tutte, mathematician and codebreaker (1917-2002)

William Tutte, the mathematician who deciphered the complex codes by which the Nazi high command encrypted their military communications during World War II, has died in Waterloo, Ontario at the age of 84. Although the accomplishment has been called “the greatest intellectual feat of the war,” and was described as such on the citation for…

Ottawa prof wins Yad Vashem prize for Holocaust research

Ottawa history professor Jan Grabowski used the recently accessible records of thousands of wartime trials of Nazi collaborators while researching his book, “Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland,” which earned him the 2014 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research. Some 40,000 to 50,000 collaborator trials occurred in Poland after…

Review: Two Days in June, by Andrew Cohen

More than half a century after the presidency of John F. Kennedy ended in a tragic hail of bullets, Ottawa historian and university professor Andrew Cohen has mined some powerful but previously neglected material on JFK and written a book that could change the shape of his political legacy and legend in substantial ways. In…

Review of ‘Toronto: Biography of A City’ (Allan Levine)

Ambitious in scope and masterful in execution, Allan Levine’s panoramic portrait of our city from its beginnings to the present is sweeping and opinionated, judicious and clever, insightful and gossipy all at once. This is no dry academic survey but a lively, popular-style “biography” in the mode of Peter Ackroyd’s London (2000) and other recent…

Cecil Street Reunion: former shul receives plaque

    Back in 1938, two Jewish boys posed for a photo on the steps of Toronto’s Ostrovtzer Synagogue on the north side of Cecil Street, just east of Spadina. Last week [July 2014], roughly 76 years after that first photo was snapped, Gurion Hyman and Gordon Perlmutter returned to the same spot and had…

Review: Alison Pick’s Between Gods

Seven years ago, as Toronto author Alison Pick began researching and writing what would become her prize-winning novel Far to Go, she realized that the seeds of two different projects — one a fictional manuscript, the other a closely allied memoir — were struggling for dominance within her mind. Giving priority to the novel, she…

Two views of Bristol house, 1911 & 2014

Angell and Janey Lester (nee Alexander) were living in this house at 4 Radnor Rd., Bristol, in 1911 when this photo was taken. Janey is standing outside the house holding her infant son, Lionel Lester, with her four-year-old daughter, Ida, standing in front. Janey’s younger sister, twelve-year-old Dora Alexander, stands beside them in the dark…