Left to right are Shirley Barnett, Michael Schwartz, Sam Sullivan, Julian Prieto, Margaret Sutherland and Alysa Routtenberg. (photo from Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia)
The Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia was pleased to welcome Sam Sullivan, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, for a tour of the B.C. Jewish Community Archives on Aug. 15, 2019. Archivist Alysa Routtenberg and director of community engagement Michael Schwartz shared highlights of the archival collection and explained how JMABC staff and volunteers work to preserve and share these important documents.
Among his many accomplishments, Sullivan is a former mayor of Vancouver and the founder of Transcribimus, an online service dedicated to transcribing early Vancouver city council meeting minutes and publishing them online. Transcribimus was an essential resource in the JMABC’s efforts to restore the Jewish section of Mountain View Cemetery in 2013-2015, an initiative led by former JMABC board member Shirley Barnett.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada celebrated its 95th year in Vancouver with a birthday party June 4, 2019, at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club.
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Ben Etkin-Goulet beat all the other cyclists in his category at the GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan on July 14. The 24-year-old Vancouverite completed the 92-kilometre Mediofondo in two hours and 30 minutes, beating out hundreds of competitors. It was only his second competitive race.
“I’ve been commuting for as long as I can remember,” said Etkin-Goulet, “but I started cycling more as a sport in 2016 and I’ve been ramping up since then. This last year was my first year training throughout the winter.”
Etkin-Goulet graduated last year with a degree in commerce from the University of British Columbia and works in data analytics at Boeing. He is the son of Fabienne Goulet and Alan Etkin and grandson of Leonor Etkin.
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Parents Cyndi and Max Mintzberg and Ricki and Mark Kahn and grandparents Evelyn, Gloria and Irwin are delighted to celebrate the marriage of Jaclyn and Alex.
Warren Kimmel won a Jessie Award for his portrayal of the title character in the Snapshots Collective’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. (photo from Snapshots Collective)
The 37th annual Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards were held on July 15 at Bard on the Beach’s BMO Mainstage in Vanier Park. Fifty theatrical productions were nominated from last year’s theatre season.
In the small theatre category, the Snapshots Collective’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which included several Jewish community members in its creative team, garnered eight nominations: director Chris Adams and costume designer Emily Fraser were acknowledged, along with the outstanding performances by Jewish community member Warren Kimmel, Colleen Winton, Oliver Castillo and Jonathan Winsby, and the production as a whole for its quality and innovation. In the end, the show won four Jessies, for the performances of Kimmel, Winton and Castillo, as well as nabbing the award for outstanding musical production.
Jewish community member Itai Erdal won the award for outstanding lighting design category for his work in Arts Club Theatre Company’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Erdal was also nominated for his lighting in Théâtre la Seizième’s Le Soulier.
At the July 15 ceremony, community member David Diamond received the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance Career Achievement Award.
On June 27, 2019, Governor General of Canada Julie Payette announced this year’s appointments to the Order of Canada, including, as officers, two local Jewish community members: Gordon Diamond, for “his steadfast leadership in business and for his philanthropic support for causes related to health care, education and social services,” and Dr. Peter Suedfeld, for “his groundbreaking research on the psychological impacts of extreme environments and stressors on human behaviour.”
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On June 18, 2019, at Government House in Victoria, B.C., the Janusz Korczak Medal was awarded to Ted Hughes, OC, and Helen Hughes, OC, while the Janusz Korczak Statuette was awarded to Irwin Elman, the past advocate for children and youth of Ontario. The awards were bestowed in recognition of caring for children in the spirit of Dr. Janusz Korczak.
The ceremony started with welcoming remarks by the event’s host, Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin, and Holocaust survivor and writer Lillian Boraks-Nemetz spoke about Korczak, with a personal touch. The awards were presented jointly by Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C. representative for children and youth, and Jerry Nussbaum, president of the Janusz Korczak Association of Canada. And the event was emceed by Jerymy Brownridge, private secretary to the lieutenant governor and executive director of Government House.
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The Jewish Independent won two American Jewish Press Association Simon Rockower Awards for excellence in Jewish journalism this year (for work published in 2018). The awards were presented at the 38th annual AJPA banquet, held in conjunction with the association’s annual conference in St. Louis, Mo., June 23-26.
Bruce Brown’s “The draft: a dad reflects” – in which he shares his experience of sending his son off to serve in the Israeli Air Force – placed first in the personal essay category for its circulation class.
The JI’s editorial board – Pat Johnson, Basya Laye and Cynthia Ramsay – took second place in the editorial writing category for its circulation group. The submission, which included the editorials “Holocaust education needed,” “Impacts of nation-state” and “What is anti-Zionism?” elicited the following comment from the Rockower judges: “Riveting and well-explained editorials on anti-Zionism, the identity of Israel as a nation-state, and a local controversy involving Holocaust education.”
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At Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver’s annual general meeting on June 18 at King David High School, Federation elected two new directors – Karen Levitt and Melanie Samuels – and the board appointed a new executive. While Karen James has completed her term as board chair, she remains on the board as immediate past chair. Alex Cristall takes over as chair, Penny Gurstein is vice-chair, Bruce Cohen is secretary and Jim Crooks is treasurer.
At the AGM, several honours were bestowed: Stephen Gaerber was the recipient of the Arthur Fouks Award, Megan Laskin the Elaine Charkow Award and Sam Heller the Young Leadership Award. Tribute was also paid to James; as well as Jason Murray, outgoing chair of CIJA’s local partnership council; Richard Fruchter, chief executive officer of Jewish Family Services; Rabbi Noam Abramchik and Rabbi Aaron Kamin, rosh yeshivah of Pacific Torah Institute; and Cathy Lowenstein, head of school at Vancouver Talmud Torah. Ambassador Nimrod Barkan attended the AGM as part of his last visit to Vancouver before he completes his term as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
Federation thanks the directors who came off the board – Eric Bulmash, Bryan Hack, Rozanne Kipnes and Laskin – for their dedication to community and that they chose to share their time and talents with Federation. In Bulmash’s case, he will continue to contribute, but in a different capacity, as he is Federation’s new vice-president, operations.
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At its annual general meeting on June 19, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre announced the two winners of the Kron Sigal Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education. The VHEC also inducted two new recipients of the Life Fellows designation.
The designation of Life Fellow recognizes outstanding dedication and engagement with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre Society through long-term involvement and significant contributions to the organization’s programs and mandate. This year, VHEC is delighted to have two recipients, Wendy and Ron Stuart, in recognition of their longstanding contributions as artistic directors of the VHEC’s community-wide Yom Hashoah commemoration.
Each year, the VHEC presents the Meyer and Gita Kron and Ruth Kron Sigal Award to a B.C. elementary or secondary teacher who has shown a remarkable commitment to teaching students about the Holocaust and its important lessons. This year’s recipients are Nicola Colhoun and Dr. Christine Paget from West Vancouver Secondary School.
In their remarks, Colhoun and Paget shared, “As social studies teachers … we are tasked with the lofty goal of having students care about what has come before them to shape the world they live in now…. Through the testimonies of survivors, the past becomes tangible, it becomes human, and it becomes relevant to students…. So many of our students come away from the Holocaust Symposium saying things like, ‘I get it now.’ ‘I didn’t realize, but now I understand.’ They understand why the history of the Holocaust matters. And they also understand why they need to speak up for inclusion, and stand against racism and persecution of any kind, from the school hallways to the hallways of power.”
The VHEC’s executive is Philip Levinson, president; Corinne Zimmerman, vice-president; Marcus Brandt, second vice-president; Joshua Sorin, treasurer; Al Szajman, secretary; and Ed Lewin, past president.
The Arnold and Anita Silber Theatre at Tel-Hai College officially opened last month. (photo from Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver)
Last month, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver chief executive officer Ezra Shanken, as well as board members Karen James, Alex Cristall and Candace Kwinter, and Jewish Community Foundation executive director Marcie Flom were in Israel for the official opening of the Arnold and Anita Silber Theatre at Tel-Hai College. This new 1,200-seat outdoor theatre will be a hub of activity for the university and surrounding area. The theatre is located at the centre of the Tel-Hai campus, and is a key component in the college’s long-term development plan.
The Silbers have long supported Federation’s partnership region of the Galilee Panhandle, and its work there. They have supported a number of projects and established the Friends of Beit Vancouver, a donor-recognition program for supporters of Beit Vancouver. Anita Silber serves on Federation’s Israel and overseas affairs committee, and has for several years. Recognizing that Tel-Hai is a significant economic driver in the region led the Silbers to fund this legacy project and lend their name to it.
The official opening of the theatre began with a welcome reception with Tel-Hai’s board of trustees, followed by a ribbon cutting. The Silbers were joined by their granddaughter, Samantha Addison, and family members from Israel. In reply to the address honouring them that was delivered by Tel-Hai’s president, Prof. Yossi Mekori, Arnold Silber stressed that the students were the primary motivation for this investment. They are the ones to whom the future of the region is entrusted, and it is they who will take it to the next level.
A number of families and individuals from our community agree, and they are funding scholarships, which were awarded to students at the ceremony by James and Cristall: the Coleman Family Scholarships, the Krell Family Scholarships, the Evelynne Loomer z”l Scholarships, the Bernard Lotzkar Scholarships and the Zalkow Family Scholarships.
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Over the course of the 2018/2019 school year, the Student Council Committee of Richmond Jewish Day School took it upon themselves to raise money for the Shalva Centre Hydrotherapy Program in Israel.
With the support of families, the school raised $1,000, which was generously matched by Lola Pawer. Pawer and Leslie Diamond, who is a board member of the Shalva Centre, came to RJDS to teach students about the work Shalva provides for children with disabilities.
The students presented a cheque to Diamond in the amount of $2,000. For anyone wanting to learn more about Shalva or make a donation, visit shalva.org.
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Brett and Caro Rudolph have fun at their wedding in Syracuse, Sicily. Brett is the son of Les and Anita Rudolph of Vancouver (previously from South Africa) and Caro is the daughter of André and Svetli Wanne of Vienna. The wedding was officiated by Rabbi Paul Chaim Eisenberg of Vienna and was thoroughly enjoyed by family and friends. Brett and Caro live in Israel.
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On May 25, 2019, Samantha Pawer was conferred the degree of bachelor of science honours in integrated sciences with distinction from the University of British Columbia. Samantha is an alumna of Richmond Jewish Day School and Hugh Boyd Secondary School. Proud are parents Jeff Pawer and Beverly Pawer and big brother Brayden Pawer.
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Moshe Baitelman decided to become a doctor when he took his first biology class in high school. On May 26, 2019, the Vancouverite graduated as valedictorian at Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush, Brooklyn, N.Y. He will begin medical school in the fall.
Baitelman chose Touro because it offered a strong Jewish environment as well as academic rigour. He majored in honours biology and minored in computer science. Along the way, he built strong relationships with his professors. “They all pushed me to be my best,” he said.
Living in Brooklyn, Baitelman found support for his career goals via the Gedaliah Society, a local network of Chabad men and women in the healthcare profession who offered advice and shared their own experiences in preparing for medical school. He also served as executive editor of Touro’s science journal and president of the Touro Science Society.
“Moshe has distinguished himself as a gifted, multitalented student with outstanding leadership skills. We are confident that he will become a respected physician, who will create a Kiddush Hashem in all his patient and professional interactions,” said Dr. Robert Goldschmidt, vice-president and executive dean of the Lander College.
Prior to Touro, Baitelman attended Vancouver Hebrew Academy for elementary and then the Pacific Torah Institute. Both schools imparted a strong Torah education with Jewish morals and values, and a first-class education. Baitelman’s education in Vancouver was the solid foundation for a life of strong Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish observance and learning, as well as enabling him to pursue further career education.
Baitelman credits his parents for his drive; they instilled a strong work ethic and have continued to encourage him. He offers similar advice to students getting ready to start college: “Be proactive. It will be the difference between just passing through and actually gaining from college. Find activities that will be conducive to your professional and educational growth – use your network of professors, advisors and other students.”
Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award presents the da Vinci Eye (named after Leonardo da Vinci) to books with superior cover artwork. Cover art is judged on both content and style and, among this year’s winners is Olga Campbell’s Whisper Across Time: My Family’s Story of the Holocaust Told Through Art and Poetry (Jujabi Press). The book is still being considered for category, press and grand prizes.
Whisper Across Time also won the Ippy Award for independent self-published authors. Campbell’s book was selected as one of the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards’ Outstanding Books of the Year under the freedom fighter category. Campbell planned on attending the May 28 gala event in New York.
Julia Ivanova’s National Film Board documentary Limit is the Sky saw its Toronto première on May 2 in the retrospective of the largest documentary film festival in North America, Hot Docs. Ivanova is one of only three directors from British Columbia who have received a Focus On retrospective at Hot Docs since 2002 – the others are John Zaritsky and Nettie Wild.
Ivanova, the director, cinematographer and editor of Limit is the Sky is a Russian-Canadian filmmaker. She came to Canada at the age of 30, became a filmmaker in Vancouver and captured Canada from within but with the ability to look at the country from a distance. She has made documentaries for the NFB, CBC, Knowledge Network, played Sundance and won many awards for her films.
The screening of Limit is the Sky, the NFB film about the Fort McMurray boom-bust-fire circle and the winner of the Colin Low Best Canadian Feature Award at DOXA 2017, commemorates the third anniversary since the worst wildfire and the worst natural disaster in Canada’s history devastated the capital of the oil sands. (See jewishindependent.ca/diverse-doxa-festival-offerings.)
The Hot Docs Focus On retrospective of her work includes the world première of her new film, My Dads, My Moms and Me, a film about the joy and turmoil of parenting in the modern family, including same-sex partners, surrogates, adoption and combinations that break the old conventions. The film follows three families, filmed twice, 12 years apart – in 2007 and in 2019.
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More than 250,000 children participated in the Ontario Library Association’s annual Forest of Reading program and have helped choose the best Canadian authors and illustrators. On May 14 and 15, thousands gathered at the annual Festival of Trees, an annual rock concert of reading, hosted at the Harbourfront Centre, where winners of the 2019 Forest of Reading program were announced. Among the books awarded honours was When We Were Shadows by Janet Wees, published by Second Story Press. (For more on Wees and the book, visit jewishindependent.ca/saved-by-dutch-resistance.)
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By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz by Max Eisen (HarperCollins) won Canada Reads 2019. The book was championed by TV host and science broadcaster and author Ziya Tong, and was chosen by the five panelists as the book for Canadians to read in 2019. This year’s title fight asked the question: What is the one book to move you?
After four days of debate in front of live audiences, Tong and By Chance Alone survived the final vote to be crowned this year’s winner. The runner-up was Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung (Freehand Books), which was defended by Simple Plan drummer Chuck Comeau. Audiences can catch up on all of the debates on demand on CBC Gem or by downloading the Canada Reads podcast from CBC or iTunes.
“Before 2016, I don’t remember seeing swastikas, but these days I see them often – in the news and on social media. But here’s something even more shocking: one in five Canadian young people have not even heard of the Holocaust. They don’t know what it is, ” said Tong.
This year’s debates took place March 25-28 and were hosted by actor, stand-up comedian and host of CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud, Ali Hassan.
Adi Shapira brought home a silver medal for British Columbia in the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (photo by Peter Fuzessery Moonlight Canada)
From Feb. 15 to March 3, Red Deer and central Alberta hosted the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Among those taking home a medal was Adi Shapira.
Winning the silver in the archery recurve, individual female event, Shapira said in a Team BC article, “It is an amazing reward for all the training I have been doing and it is just an amazing accomplishment.”
According to the Canada Winter Games website, Shapira, “who had taken up archery following a school retreat in grades 8 and 9, fought hard in the gold medal match, but Marie-Ève Gélinas, came back to win the gold for Quebec.”
Shapira, 16, is part of the SPARTS program at Magee Secondary School, which is open to students competing in high-performance athletics at the provincial, national or international level, as well as students in the arts who are performing at a high level of excellence. Last November, she won the qualifying tournaments against other female archers ages 15 to 20 to represent the province of British Columbia in the February national games.
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Stylin’ Or Shalom on Feb. 20 was not just a beautiful evening: the event raised $1,600 for Battered Women’s Support Services so that they can continue their important work.
Models for the fashion-show fundraiser were Ross Andelman, Avi Dolgin, Val Dolgin, Carol Ann Fried, Michal Fox, Dalia Margalit-Faircloth, Helen Mintz, Ana Peralta, Avril Orloff and Leora Zalik. About 50 people attended and, between cash donations and purchases from the My Sister’s Closet eco-thrift store, this year’s show raised about $600 more than did the inaugural Stylin’ Or Shalom event held in 2017. In addition, many people brought clothing donations, which will be sold at the store, generating further funds for the organization.
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The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies has announced that Dr. Norma Baumel Joseph is the 2019 recipient of the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award. Joseph brings together the highest standards of scholarship, creative and effective dissemination of research, and activism in a manner without rival in the field of Canadian Jewish studies, as well as being a respected voice in Jewish feminist studies more broadly.
Joseph’s scholarship is remarkable for her mastery of both traditional rabbinic sources and anthropological methods. Her work on the responsa of Rabbi Moses Feinstein, including an award-winning article published in American Jewish History 83,2 (1995), is based on a close reading of some of the most technical and difficult halachic texts. Her mastery of these sources is also apparent in articles on women and prayer, the mechitzah, and the bat mitzvah. She has used her knowledge of halachah in her academic work on Jewish divorce in Canada, including an article in Studies in Religion (2011) and is a collaborator in a recently awarded grant project, Troubling Orthopraxies: A Study of Jewish Divorce in Canada.
As a trained anthropologist and as a feminist, she realizes that food is also a text and she has made important contributions to both the history of Iraqi Jews in Canada and to our understanding of the history of food in the Jewish community. Her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)-funded research has resulted in recent essays such as “From Baghdad to Montreal: Food, Gender and Identity.” Her ongoing reflections on Jewish women in Canada, first appearing as early as 1981 in the volume Canadian Jewish Mosaic, are foundational texts in the study of Jewish women in Canada.
Joseph has chosen to disseminate her research and wisdom in a variety of ways. Her undergraduate and graduate students at Concordia praise her innovative student-centred teaching. Recently, she instituted a for-credit internship at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish archives, which has been beneficial to both the student and the archive. She is in demand as a lecturer in both professional and lay settings. Her work in film has reached a wide audience. In Half the Kingdom, a 1989 NFB documentary on Jewish women and Judaism, she explores with sensitivity the challenges – and rewards – of being both a feminist and an Orthodox Jew. She served as consultant to the film, and was a co-author of the accompanying guidebook.
Since 2002, Joseph has also committed herself to public education by taking on the task of writing a regular column on Jewish life for the Canadian Jewish News. Her views are based on a deep understanding of Judaism and contemporary Jewish life and are worthy of anthologizing.
Joseph is a founding member of the Canadian Coalition of Jewish Women for the Get and worked for the creation of a Canadian law to aid and protect agunot. As part of her Women for the Get work, she participated in the educational film Untying the Bonds: Jewish Divorce, produced by the Coalition of Jewish Women for the Get in 1997. She has also worked on the issue of agunot, as well as advocated for the creation of a prayer space for women at the Western Wall among international Jewish organizations.
Joseph helped in the founding of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia, and convened the institute from 1994 to 1997, when a chair was hired. She was also a founder and co-director of Concordia University’s Azrieli Institute for Israel Studies. In 1998, she was appointed chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives Committee, and has remained in the position since then, under the new designation of chair of the advisory committee for the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives (CJA). In this capacity, Joseph has been a forceful and effective advocate for protecting and promoting the preservation of Canadian Jewish archival material and for appreciating the professionalism of the staff. She has lent her time and experience to multiple meetings and interventions at various crucial junctures in the recent history of the CJA, during which she has balanced and countered arguments that would have led to the dissolution or extreme diminishing of the archives as we know it. Her work on behalf of the archives has drawn her into diverse committees and consultations. Notably, she contributed her expertise to the chairing of a sub-committee convened by Parks Canada when their Commemorative Places section was in search of Canadian Jewish women-related content. Her suggestions made during the 2005 meetings have resulted in several site designations over the course of the past 12 years.
Joseph has had a unique role in Canadian Jewish studies and Canadian Jewish life, and is richly deserving of the Louis Rosenberg Award.
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In February, Janie Respitz of Montreal won the prize for best interpretation of an existing Yiddish song at the final Der Idisher Idol contest in Mexico City. She performed “Kotsk,” a song about a small town in Poland, which was the seat of the Kotsker rebbe, the founder of a Chassidic dynasty in the 18th century. The win included $500 US.
Respitz holds a master’s degree in Yiddish language and literature and, for the past 25 years, has performed concerts around the world. She has lectured and taught the subject, including at Queen’s University and McGill University, and is on the faculty of KlezKanada, the annual retreat in the Laurentians.
Respitz was among nine finalists, both local and foreign, who were invited to perform at Mexico City’s 600-seat Teatro del Parque Interlomas before a panel of judges and a live audience.
The competition is in its fourth edition, but Respitz only heard about it last year. She submitted a video of her performing “Kotsk” in September and received word in December that she was in the running.
A Yiddish song contest in Mexico City may seem odd, but the city has a large Jewish community, many with roots in eastern Europe, much like Montreal. The winner for best original song was Louisa Lyne of Malmo, Sweden, who’s also a well-established performer of Yiddish works.
– Excerpted from CJN; for the full article, visit cjnews.com
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On March 14, at the New School in New York, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) announced the recipients of its book awards for publishing year 2018. The winners include Nora Krug, who was given the prize in autobiography for Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home (Scribner). “Krug creates a stunningly effective, often moving portrait of Krug’s memories and her exploration of the people who came before her,” said NBCC president Kate Tuttle.
Krug’s drawings and visual narratives have appeared in the New York Times, Guardian and Le Monde diplomatique. Her short-form graphic biography Kamikaze, about a surviving Japanese Second World War pilot, was included in the 2012 editions of Best American Comics and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Maurice Sendak Foundation, Fulbright, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and of medals from the Society of Illustrators and the New York Art Directors Club. She is an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day. It currently comprises 750 working critics and book-review editors throughout the United States. For more information about the awards and NBCC, visit bookcritics.org.
Left to right, back row, are Rory Richards, Kasimir Kish, Gord Kushner, Sarah Ann Chisholm (Jewish Family Services liaison), Daniel Bar Dayan, Jeremy Berger and Anat Gogo. In the front, left to right, are Rhonda Sacks, Marcela Manes, Shelley Karrel, Selina Robinson (guest speaker at the recent AGM), Alice Sundberg and Eric Fefer. (photo from Tikva Housing)
Tikva Housing had its annual general meeting Dec. 13, 2018. Two new directors were elected at the AGM, and another has joined since, to be appointed at the next board meeting.
The new directors elected in December were Jeremy Berger, a commercial property manager with Porte Realty, and Rhonda Sacks, a realtor with Sutton Group. Both have demonstrated a keen interest in Tikva’s work and have been actively engaged since joining. The new director to be appointed at the Feb. 28 board meeting is Rory Richards, who brings marketing and communications expertise, as well as strong links in the Jewish community.
Continuing board members are Shelley Karrel (chair), Gord Kushner (treasurer), Heather Sirlin (secretary) and directors-at-large Dan Granirer, Marcela Manes, Kasimir Kish and Mike Grudman.
Alice Sundberg, Tikva Housing’s director of operations and housing development, describes the Tikva board as a dynamic group of professionals who share a passion for providing affordable housing in an expensive region. In a meeting last October, they made a plan for Tikva’s next three years. The key strategic goals are engaged and committed board members and active committees; an endowment fund to provide stable and predictable funding for the rent-subsidy program; an expanded housing portfolio; closer ties with other Jewish nonprofit housing providers; and adequate human resources to manage all these goals.
Housing administrator Anat Gogo noted that the demand for rent subsidies is constant. Currently, Tikva is assisting approximately 30 families to be able to stay where they are, without worry of eviction for failure to pay their rent. For more information or to get involved with Tikva, contact the office at 604-998-4582.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Vancouver, welcomes Tanya Paz as executive director. Paz volunteered for NCJWC in the 1990s, subsequently served on the board of directors and was Council’s liaison to Canadian Jewish Congress (now Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs).
Both Paz’s background as development director for the first car-sharing organization in British Columbia (Modo) and her involvement with the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival and other organizations, make her a valuable addition to the community of volunteers that is NCJWC. She also brings a wealth of experience in municipal affairs, in environmental initiatives and in social activism. And her expertise in community development and her commitment to women’s and children’s issues ensure a strategic approach to the goals of Council.
Working with the board of directors, Paz will help bring the goals of NCJWC – advocacy, education and social action – to both the Jewish and general communities throughout the region, with a focus on women and children experiencing poverty.
Nina Krieger, executive director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, is among those who have been appointed to the National Expert Committee on Countering Radicalization to Violence.
The Canada Centre was officially launched in 2017. Located at Public Safety Canada headquarters in Ottawa, its work includes the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence and the role of the expert committee is to help the centre meet the strategy’s three priorities: building, sharing and using knowledge; addressing radicalization to violence in the online space; and supporting interventions.
Krieger, who previously was education director and curator at the VHEC, is highly regarded for developing educational programs and exhibits that challenge audiences to probe the difficult historical, cultural and ethical issues raised by the Holocaust. She is also a member of the Canadian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and past chair of the Memorials and Museums Working Group.
Joining Krieger on the expert committee are Dr. Ghayda Hassan (co-chair), a clinical psychologist and professor of clinical psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal: Peter John M. Sloly (co-chair), a former Toronto police service deputy chief and currently a partner at Deloitte Canada; Bob Rae, a professor of public policy at both the Munk School and Victoria College at the University of Toronto, who also serves as senior counsel at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP; Dr. Jaspreet Khangura, an emergency physician at Royal Alexandra Hospital and Northeast Community Health Centre in Edmonton; Dillon Black, a gender-nonconforming feminist anti-violence and LGBTQ+ rights advocate and current PhD student with the eQuality Project in the department of criminology at the University of Ottawa; Max FineDay, executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, an organization that builds bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous youth in Canada, among other things; Rizwan Mohammad, a Canadian Muslim civic engagement coordinator; Irfan Chaudhry, a hate crimes researcher and the director of the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity at MacEwan University; and Dr. Shelly Whitman, executive director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, who is considered a subject matter expert on the issue of child soldiers.
On Jan. 28, 10 recent Bnei Menashe immigrants brought on aliyah from India by Shavei Israel, celebrated their bat mitzvah at a gathering of family and friends hosted by Girls Town Jerusalem, where they are enrolled as students.
“We were delighted to attend this very special and moving bat mitzvah celebration, which symbolizes the right of passage that the girls and their families have undergone in returning to the Jewish people,” said Shavei Israel founder and chair Michael Freund.
“We are determined to continue with our efforts until all the remaining 7,000 Bnei Menashe still in India are able to return to Zion,” he added.
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian Empire. So far, some 4,000 Bnei Menashe have made aliyah with Shavei Israel over the past 15 years, including more than 450 last year.
Temple Sholom Sisterhood Choir under the direction of Joyce Cherry with pianist Kathy Bjorseth performed an afternoon concert of Jewish music at the Weinberg Residence on Jan. 13. Featured were three works by Joan Beckow, a resident of the Louis Brier Hospital and a Temple Sholom member. Beckow was an active composer and music director in Los Angeles and, for a time, was Carol Burnett’s music director. The 23-voice Sisterhood Choir has sung for the annual Sisterhood Service for a number of years, but the recent concert at the Weinberg was a first for them outside of Temple Sholom.
Some of the artists on opening night of the group show Community Longing and Belonging, Jan. 15 at the Zack Gallery. The exhibit marked Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month and ran until Jan. 27.
Eurovision 2018 winner Netta Barzilai, right, performed at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver on Jan. 26 to help celebrate the 18th anniversary of Birthright Israel. Here, she is pictured with Carmel Tanaka, emcee of the night with IQ 2000 Trivia. The dance party was presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver in partnership with Axis Vancouver, Hillel BC and the JCCGV.
The birth of a baby is a milestone and the
Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver acknowledges that this
life-changing event requires validation and support for new parents. Judaism
offers profound teachings about becoming a parent and raising a family.
The JCCGV’s new Shalom Baby group is a free
program for parents and infants 0-18 months. The group provides a place to
learn and grow, connect with other parents, share experiences and hear
professional speakers address relevant subjects, such as feeding, sleeping,
play, development, transition to motherhood and more. Becoming a parent can be
overwhelming, and this program provides respite in a warm environment in which
parents are nurtured, so they can nurture their babies, and help build strong
and healthy family units in our community.
All of the meetings feature guest speakers.
Speakers are community professionals, such as nurses, researchers, doulas,
psychologists and speech and language specialists. And the group is always
looking for accredited experts to contribute.
Shalom Baby meets twice a month on Mondays at
11:30 a.m. at the community centre in Room 102. The group is led and organized
by a Shirly Berelowitz, JCCGV director of children, youth and camps, who
welcomes the participants, books the speakers and sends weekly emails on
The goals of the program are to strengthen
emotional bonds between parents and children; inspire a shared learning
experience to support growth and development during the early childhood years;
provide support services and activities for families to raise healthy and happy
children; and connect unaffiliated Jewish families with young children to the
Jewish community through different programs.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
has appointed new members to its board of directors, including board co-chairs
Joel Reitman and Jeffrey Rosenthal, succeeding David J. Cape.
Nominations to the CIJA board are guided by an
independent nominating process, which examines the background, skills,
experience and other relevant qualifications of prospective directors. A list
of candidates is produced through consultations with federations and other
stakeholders across the country. The independent nominations committee –
comprised of federation representatives and ad personam members – consider all
of the candidates and recommend a slate of directors to the CIJA membership
(the “shareholders” of the organization). Special attention is given to
achieving balance with respect to regional, gender and demographic attributes,
as well as the qualities that candidates can leverage to advance the mission of
Reitman is the founder and president of Jillcy
Capital ULC, a global investment firm, and is an active volunteer in the Jewish
community and beyond, serving various organizations over the years in different
capacities. Rosenthal is a managing partner of Imperial Capital Group, which he
co-founded in 1989, and has a long history of volunteering and experience on
boards of other organizations.
Adi Shapira (centre) willcompete in archery in the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Adi Shapira, 16, is an up-and-coming athlete in
the sport of archery. In Grade 10, she is part of the SPARTS program at Magee
Secondary School, which is open to students competing in high-performance
athletics at the provincial, national or international level, as well as
students in the arts who are performing at a high level of excellence.
Since being introduced to archery only 18
months ago, Adi has climbed in the ranks, winning two gold medals in the 2018
B.C. Winter Games in the cadet category (15-17 years old) of Olympic recurve
On Nov. 24, Adi won the qualifying tournaments
against other female archers ages 15 to 20 and will be representing the
province of British Columbia in the female recurve category in the Canada
Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., in February 2019.
The games’ website notes this is “the largest
multi-sport and cultural event for youth in Canada and the largest event to be
hosted in Red Deer’s history.” It will feature more than “150 events in 19
sports and a major arts and cultural festival” and welcome “up to 3,600
athletes, managers and coaches and more than 100,000 spectators.”
Awardees of the Carter Wosk Awards in Applied
Art and Design were honoured for their creative excellence at the 14th annual
awards presentation Nov. 29. Bill Pechet, the architect for the restoration
project of the Jewish section of Mountain View Cemetery and the renovation of
the Schara Tzedeck Chapel and grounds, received the 2018 B.C. Creative
Achievement Award of Distinction.
Pechet has dedicated himself for more than 30
years to creating environments that bring people together in refreshing and
unexpected ways. He has made his mark on public spaces across the country
through his street furnishings, lighting, urban infrastructures, public art and
memorial design. Many of his contributions can be found around the Lower Mainland,
including seating and lighting on Granville Street and the Shipyards in North
Vancouver. In all his projects, he has extended the possibilities of merging
social space with sculptural invention and sound ergonomics.
Since 2000, as a faculty member of the
architecture and environmental design programs at the University of British
Columbia, Pechet has encouraged his students to consider how manners of
contemporary urban social practice intersect with material and spatial
invention, all impacting the experience of the built world.
As an artist and mentor, Pechet frequently
lectures on the critical role that public space plays in healthy and vibrant
cities. His work emanates from a desire to generate a generous sense of
simultaneous recognition and pleasurable strangeness in the public realm,
giving individuals the permission to see the world as a little bit wondrous.
The Carter Wosk Awards for Applied Art and
Design celebrate British Columbians who, through their creativity, contribute
to the cultural economy of the province. Each year, up to three recipients are
chosen by jury and each is awarded $2,500. This year, the winners were Afshin
Mehin (wearable technology), Henry Norris (furniture design) and Claudia Schulz
The awards honour excellence in art with a
practical or functional application and are named in honour of philanthropist,
academic and visionary Dr. Yosef Wosk and for educator, designer and curator
On Dec. 9, at the Centre for Judaism’s public
menorah lighting at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre in South Surrey, the 2018 Young
Lamplighter Award was presented to Simoana and Ethan Dreyshner for their
dedication to community and those less fortunate. They have raised funds and
given of their time and energy to various important causes, including the
Jewish Food Bank, B.C. Lung Association, First Call B.C. and the Louis Brier
Home and Hospital.
Parents (Marat and Ella Dreyshner) and
grandparents were on hand at the ceremony. Dignitaries in attendance included
MLAs Marvin Hunt (Surrey-Cloverdale) and Tracy Redies (Surrey-White Rock),
Langley Mayor Val van den Broek, Langley Councilor Rudy Storteboom, White Rock
Deputy Mayor Helen Fathers and Surrey Councilor Linda Annis.
Cantor Yaakov Orzech lit the menorah and led
the Chanukah songs, and Adina Ragetli played the harp. In the “human menorah”
presentation (written by Simie Schtroks as a response to the Pittsburgh
shootings), Louise Stein Sorensen, Moshe Fidelman, Joanne Yaakov, Marat
Dreyshner, Ettie Shurack, Ethan Dreyshner, Bayla Shurack and Schtroks each
kindled a flame with a message. Dean Donnelly entertained the children, and
winners of last year’s Lamplighter, Emily and Jessie Miller, were there to pass
the torch forward.
On Dec. 2, the first
night of Chanukah, the Ohel Ya’akov Community Kollel hosted its Annual Latke
Vodka party at the Maple Grill.
Vancouver’s Dr. Carol Herbert, professor emerita of family medicine and adjunct research professor of pathology at Western University, was awarded an honorary doctor of science, honoris causa (DSc), at the Oct. 24 afternoon session of Western University’s 312th convocation. Herbert served as dean of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry from 1999 to 2010. A pioneer in developing services for sexually assaulted adults and children in British Columbia, she was co-founder and co-director of the Sexual Assault Service for Vancouver from 1982 to 1988.
She spoke to graduates at the convocation, asking them to keep in mind one acronym: PROP (privilege, responsibility, opportunity and passion).
“Acknowledge your privilege. While you have been diligent in your studies, the fact that you and I are here today is evidence of our privilege,” she said.
With privilege, there is a responsibility to give back, she added. Graduates must reflect on what they have been given and remember to pay it forward and embrace opportunities to help others. “Be as passionate about ensuring the success of others as you are about yourself. Start small, but start contributing to your community.”
Herbert reminded graduates of the difficulties women in science continue to face today. “I want to encourage women scientists to hang in there,” she said, to juggle a career and family, to look for workplaces that support them and their complex lives, and to seek mentors. She encouraged all to work towards a level playing field in which women have equal opportunities.
Vancouverite Deborah Katz has won the 2018 Vine Award in the category of children’s literature. Of Rare is Everywhere (Miss Bird Books), which Katz wrote and illustrated, the award jury said, “Fun, exciting and such a different take on difference and diversity for our small children.”
The Vine Awards honour the best Canadian Jewish writers and Canadian authors who deal with Jewish subjects in four categories – fiction, non-fiction, history and children’s/young adult literature – each with a prize of $10,000. The 2018 jurors – Beverley Chalmers, Joseph Kertes and Lee Maracle – reviewed 59 entries this year.
The Koffler Centre of the Arts announced the 2018 winners at an awards lunch at the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto. The other winners were Laurie Gelman for Class Mom (Henry Holt and Co.) in the fiction category, Julija Šukys for Siberian Exile: Blood, War and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning (University of Nebraska Press) in the non-fiction category and Hugues Théorêt for The Blue Shirts: Adrien Arcand and Fascist Anti-Semitism in Canada (University of Ottawa Press) in the history category.
The Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia awarded the inaugural B.C. Jewish History Research Prize to Nathan Lucky, for his article “British Columbia newspaper responses to Jewish persecution in Europe, 1938-1939: A call for refugees and a cause for civilization.”
This undergraduate essay explores relations between the Jewish community press and the mainstream press in British Columbia. It demonstrates the ways in which Jews in the province were alert to world affairs and worked to impact Canadian policies of immigration in response to unfolding tragedy abroad. Juxtaposing reporting and editorials published by the Jewish Western Bulletin (the predecessor of the Jewish Independent) with those of contemporary non-Jewish publications, the author documents the shifting waves of public discourse as new information arrived from Germany and Austria. The article makes substantial use of the B.C. Jewish Community Archives, particularly the Jewish Western Bulletin Collection, and it demonstrates how future scholars might also incorporate the collection, and the archives more broadly, into their research.
The prize was awarded on Nov. 21 at the annual general meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia. Following the AGM, guests gathered to hear a lecture by Lucky, summarizing his research. This award and lecture will be an annual tradition of the JMABC in the coming years.
Breanne Harmon (née Jackson) has been appointed general manager of Green Thumb Theatre, which has been bringing live theatre to young audiences for 40 years. Before taking on the role of general manager at Green Thumb, Harmon worked as the tour and education manager for two years.
Born and raised in Richmond, Harmon has trained and worked in theatre for most of her life. She graduated with honours from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre production/design, where she was the recipient of the Norman Young Scholarship for Theatre and the Dean of Arts Scholarship, while also completing the fine arts program in visual arts at Langara College. At UBC, she was a member of the Jewish Students Association at Vancouver Hillel and sat on the Hillel board as alumni representative after graduation.
Harmon has worked as a stage manager, production manager and arts administrator for various companies across Canada, including the Shaw Festival, Arts Club Theatre Company, National Arts Centre, and Chemainus Theatre Festival, among many others. She has sat on the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society board, the GVPTA’s Theatre Engagement Project Steering Committee, the Jessie Richardson Theatre for Young Audiences and Large Theatre juries and was a stage management mentor with the Cultch’s Ignite program.
She is also the very proud mother to her 1-year-old son.