Prof. Richard Menkis (courtesy)
The University of British Columbia’s Prof. Richard Menkis has received two honours recently: the 2018 Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award and the 2018 Switzer-Cooperstock Prize for the best essay in Western Canadian Jewish history.
The Association for Canadian Jewish Studies established the Rosenberg Award in 2001 to recognize the significant contribution by an individual, institution or group to Canadian Jewish studies. In announcing Menkis as this year’s honouree, the association noted his “long and very distinguished career as a strong advocate for and practitioner of the scholarship and teaching of Canadian Jewish studies.”
Menkis won this year’s Switzer-Cooperstock Prize for the essay “Two Travelers and Two Canadian Jewish Wests,” which emphasizes the multiple expressions of interwar Jewish life in the Canadian west, and studies how two rabbis – Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz and Rabbi Y. Horowitz – traveled through the region to promote their different visions. Hertz offered a modern acculturated Anglo-orthodoxy, while Horowitz promoted a traditionalist orientation shaped by Chassidism.
The Switzer-Cooperstock Prize, donated by members of the Switzer family to honour their parents and grandparents, is awarded biennially by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada. Past winners of the prize are Theodore Friedgut (Hebrew University), Lynne Marks (University of Victoria), Chana Thau (Winnipeg independent scholar), David Koffman (York University) and Esyllt Jones (University of Manitoba).
Menkis received his PhD from Brandeis University in 1988 and for many years held a position in the department of classical, Near Eastern and religious studies with a cross appointment to the department of history at UBC. He is currently associate professor of medieval and modern Jewish history in the history department at UBC. In addition to the surveys of medieval and modern Jewish history, he has taught advanced undergraduate courses on the Holocaust; Canadian Jewish history; fascism and antifascism; the historiography of genocide; and Jewish identity and the graphic novel. He continues to supervise both MA and PhD student theses at UBC and has served on PhD committees at other institutions.
Menkis has published widely on the cultural and religious history of Canadian Jewry. His articles have appeared in American Jewish History, American Jewish Archives, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Canadian Jewish Studies and in a number of edited volumes. Menkis was co-author, with Harold Troper, of More Than Just Games: Canada and the 1936 Olympics (University of Toronto Press, 2015), a seminal work in the field that presents an investigation of the responses and reactions of both Jewish and non-Jewish Canadian athletes and their communities to participation in the games. He is continuing the research for a publication, begun with Gerald Tulchinsky (z”l), on an aspect of the Canadian Jewish garment industry.
Tikva Housing has hired Alice Sundberg as director of operations and housing development. Sundberg has more than 30 years of nonprofit housing experience, including housing development, organizational and project management, and sector leadership. Most recently, she was involved with the development of the Co:Here Housing Community and the creation of Home Front, a collaborative initiative to make homelessness in Metro Vancouver rare, brief and one-time. Her knowledge of and contacts with both provincial and federal levels of government will assist Tikva Housing greatly as the organization moves forward with current and new project developments.
Sundberg is excited to be joining Tikva Housing and is already busy with the upcoming opening of the Ben and Esther Dayson Residences in Vancouver’s Fraser district. For information about Tikva’s upcoming projects, you can reach her at [email protected], or housing administrator Anat Gogo, at [email protected].