Tag: Israel

An 1839 travelogue through the Jewish world

In the year 1839, had you been a traveller along the road from Rzeszov to Cracow, you would have been obliged to show a passport in Podgorze, the suburb of Cracow on the Austrian side of the Vistula (“Weichsel”) River. After submitting to a cursory inspection from Austrian officials, your vehicle would have crossed the…

‘The Best Place on Earth’: Israeli-Canadian Writer Ayelet Tsabari

From The Canadian Jewish News, January 2014 Canadian, Israeli-born writer Ayelet Tsabari, whose first book of short stories The Best Place on Earth was recently published by HarperCollins of Toronto, writes with amazing intensity not only about modern Israelis, but also about the small Mizrachi (“Eastern”) Jewish minority in Israel; her grandparents came from Yemen.…

Baron de Hirsch: the ‘Moses of the New World’

Millions of Diaspora Jews owe a huge debt of gratitude to Baron Maurice de Hirsch, the Jewish magnate, banker and philanthropist who built the Orient Express railroad from Vienna to Constantinople, for assisting our Russian ancestors to reach the United States, Canada, Argentina and other hospitable shores. According to his biographer, Samuel J. Lee, Hirsch…

Book reviews: Holocaust memoir & near-future fiction

From the Canadian Jewish News, April 2013 Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler, by Trudi Kanter In a voice as fresh, direct and charming as Sylvia Plath’s, the late writer Trudi Kanter tells the story of her journey through war-torn Europe, seeking safe haven for herself and her beloved Walter, two Austrian Jews hoping to…

How not to cross the Allenby Bridge

From the Canadian Jewish News, 1989 Since the recent declaration of peace between Jordan and Israel, and the opening of the Arava border-crossing point between Eilat and Aqaba, it is now a simple matter for visitors to cross freely between these two spectacular Middle Eastern countries. Until these most welcome innovations, tourists frequently faced considerable…

Obit: Reuben Brainin (1862-1939)

From The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, December 8, 1939 The Jewish community of Montreal, thousands strong, paid final tribute to the memory of Reuben Brainin, noted Hebraist, author and pioneer Zionist, who died in New York on November 30, 1939 at the age of seventy-seven. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. his body lay in state…

Capernaum is rich in Christian history

In the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, above the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, visitors may examine a partially reconstructed 2nd- or 3rd-century synagogue and glimpse portions of the underlying remains of an earlier synagogue in which Jesus is said to have preached. The town’s name derives from the Hebrew name K’far Nachum,…

Furor over United Church pastor-editor (1969)

Can’t See the Forrest for the Trees Editor’s note: In July 2012 the United Church of Canada is considering a boycott of Israeli goods, a proposal that nine Canadian senators have condemned. This is only further evidence that, when it comes to relations with Israel and the Jews, the Church has had a long and…

Samuel Kernerman at 101: a man of three centuries

For a man who has lived in three centuries, Samuel Kernerman, who will be 101 years old on January 19, 2000, has a simple request. “I just want to see my great-grandchildren grow up,” he said. He has 28 great-grandchildren. Interviewed at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre veterans wing, Kernerman, a veteran of World War…