Tag: American

Canadian Jews fought in American Civil War

Hard to believe, but there were Jews in Toronto and probably Montreal as well who were drawing monthly pensions from the U.S. government as late as 1925 for their participation as soldiers in the American Civil War. An index of Civil War pension recipients indicates that some 4,966 veterans of America’s most sanguinary conflict filed…

Review: Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being

From the Canadian Jewish News, ca 2001 For The Time Being (Knopf, $22) is Annie Dillard’s personal meditation on eternity, morality, mortality, the nature of divine justice and other philosophical issues. The book is a spiralling intellectual investigation that moves from the birth ward of a modern hospital to an archaeological dig in China to…

Book review: The Dentist of Auschwitz

From The Canadian Jewish News, 2001 SS commander Otto Moll had a tooth-ache, and so visited the dentist of Auschwitz, a Jewish inmate from Dobra, Poland named Berek Jakubowicz. Settling into the chair, the pulled out his revolver and pointed it at the emaciated attendant. “Don’t try anything stupid, dentist,” he warned. “Herr Hauptscharfuhrer,” the…

Review: The Gershwins & Me, by Michael Feinstein

For those who love the classic tunes of the so-called American “songbook” and particularly the timeless melodies and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin, Michael Feinstein’s new book, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs is much more than heartfelt homage by an outsider or Johnny-come-lately to a remarkable musical era that is…

Emma Goldman, Toronto’s anarchist guest (1926)

From the Toronto Star Weekly, December 31, 1926 by Frederick Griffin You can’t imagine the gigantic United States with all its doughboys and buddies being scared of a woman. It is like a man being scared of a mouse. And yet we have the fact that they were so frightened over there by the presence…

Michael Chabon celebrates pop culture in Telegraph Avenue

Not surprisingly, American author Michael Chabon originally developed the premise, story and characters for his latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, as the script for a 1999 television pilot that never got off the ground. Like many of his previous books, including his 2000 Pulitzer-prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Telegraph Avenue is brimming…

Great-granddaughter writes wonderful bio of Jacob Gordin

◊ Finding the Jewish Shakespeare, The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin, by Beth Kaplan, has been newly released in paperback by Syracuse University Press, Spring 2012.  One of the great moments in Yiddish theatre occurred the evening the curtain opened upon actor Jacob Adler in the role of “the Jewish King Lear,” as envisioned by…

Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore

It has been 50 years since a group of rabbis in Baltimore staged a protest against the racial segregation that was still a sad fact of life in many parts of America, including various restaurants in Baltimore. In February 1962, a time of heightened civil rights protests, the rabbis decided to target two local restaurants,…

Yiddishkeit, a graphic celebration of Yiddish culture

In lieu of baseball cards, some American Orthodox boys have turned in recent decades to collecting Torah personality trading cards that feature images of revered “Gedolim” (Giants) from Moses Maimonides to Rabbi Moishe Feinstein, with lists of famous published works on the back in lieu of batting statistics. The happy invention of a Baltimore accountant,…

Re-enacting the War of 1812 near Long Point

From the Globe and Mail, July 2000 Painted a bright red, the 201-year-old John C. Backhouse Mill seems as conspicuous against its background of grass and trees as the British Redcoats must have been when engaged in combat with the Americans during the War of 1812. A historic property that was restored to pristine condition…