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Jews from Ukraine who have settled in Winnipeg offer conflicting opinions about the Russian invasion

Alexey Grenier with his two
children, Nelly (left) and Mark
on a visit to Ukraine
this past September

By BERNIE BELLAN With the war in Ukraine still raging, its effects are being felt especially closely by individuals who have relatives or friends in that country.
Such is the case with several newer members of our own Jewish community in Winnipeg, who either came to Winnipeg directly from Ukraine, or who emigrated first to Israel, then to Winnipeg.

Wanting to learn more about the attitudes of former Ukrainians who are now members of our Jewish community here, I contacted Dalia Szpiro, who is the GrowWinnipeg Director at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, to inquire whether she could put me in touch with one or more of those individuals.

Subsequently, I spoke with two men of Jewish Ukrainian origin on Tuesday, March 22. The first, Alexey Guider, was quite willing for me to use his name, but the second individual asked me not to mention his name. The reason for that, as you’ll see if you read on, is that he was not totally unsympathetic to the view that Russian-speaking Ukrainians would not be opposed to seeing a part of Ukraine transferred to Russian control. He was worried that taking a position that might not be all that popular here was something that he didn’t want to lead to potential backlash against him or his family.
My primary purpose in speaking with both men was to try and find out what they are hearing from friends and relatives still in Ukraine. Further, I wondered what their attitudes were toward the war that is currently going on in Ukraine.

Alexey Guider explained that he and his wife (from whom he is now separated) came to Winnipeg 11 years ago, directly from Kiev, which is where he and his wife lived for 10 years before emigrating to Winnipeg. He noted that they were both planning on making aliyah to Israel, but they “decided to come to Canada instead.” Their two children were both born in Winnipeg, Alexey noted.
Alexey said that he’s a business analyst working at New Flyer Industries. He added that he has “a small business as well.”
I asked Alexey how many family members he still has in Ukraine?
His parents were living there until quite recently, he answered – in a town close to Kiev called Irpin . His “siblings live in Israel,” Alexey said.
I asked whether Irpin was under attack?
“I’m not sure at the moment,” Alexey answered. “It was captured, liberated, and captured again,” he said. “I’m not 100% sure what’s going on right now –but it’s not suitable for life at the moment.”

“Have you been in touch with your parents?” I asked.
Alexey explained that his parents were able to leave Ukraine shortly before Russia invaded, and go to Germany, where his grandfather had been living. “They went there in the middle of February – just before he died,” Alexey said. “They were able to say good bye – and then the war started…they were lucky.”
Alexey added that his mother-in-law is still in Ukraine – in the western part. “There’s no heavy fighting there,” he noted, “although at least twice a day there’s an air raid alert – so she has to run for safety.”
The rest of Alexey’s family, other than his siblings in Israel, live in other parts of Europe, he said.

“But what about your friends?” I asked. “You must still have many friends who remained in Ukraine?”
“Yes, I have lots of friends,” Alexey said. “Some of them escaped before the war. Some of them went to Poland. I have one friend who went to Spain with her kid. She was able to get her parents there too. I talk to her every day. She’s very anxious. Her husband is still in Ukraine. A man can’t leave Ukraine. “ (Men between the ages of 18-65 are not allowed to leave and must report for military duty.)
Alexey mentioned that he and his parents had been very involved with the Jewish community in Ukraine. His father, he said, was director of a Reform congregation in that country, while his mother was a program coordinator for the congregation.
Even though they’re in Germany now, “they have been helping members of the Jewish community to get out of Ukraine to Poland…not just Jewish people,” Alexey added.

I said to Alexey that I had read that most Ukrainian Jews who are able to leave that country prefer to go to Germany, rather than Israel.
“People are hesitant to go to Israel because it’s a similar situation there (as Ukraine),” he suggested. “There was shelling all over Israel.”
Something that Alexey told me though which took me somewhat by surprise was when he said that “most people who have left Ukraine (and who are still leaving) “are planning on returning when the war’s over.”
Yet, notwithstanding the desire of most Ukrainians who have left the country to be able to return home – and apparently the preference of most Jews who have left to move to Germany, I wondered whether Ukrainians would be eager to come to Canada if they were offered the opportunity?
The Canadian government has taken steps to expedite the immigration of Ukrainian refugees to this country, including dropping the normal visa requirement and allowing Ukrainians to obtain work permits immediately upon their arrival, although there will be a two-year maximum stay permitted for anyone coming here under the relaxation of the normal rules.

As a result, Alexey told me that he is in the process of bringing his parents here under the new provisions. They have family in Germany, he said, but this will be an opportunity for them to see their grandchildren again, so of course they’re eager to come, he explained.
In addition to his parents, Alexey will also be hosting two other friends who will be arriving within the next few weeks, he told me. “I’m going to have a full house,” he said.
He added that many Manitobans of Ukrainian heritage have been offering to take in refugees from Ukraine. (He said there’s been a Facebook group created for that specific purpose with a great many members already.)
Alexey added though that it would be great if the Jewish Federation here were to take the initiative and ask members of the Jewish community to volunteer to take in Jewish (and non-Jewish) refugees from Ukraine. I told him that I’d asked representatives of the Federation whether that is an initiative they will undertake and that I hoped the Federation would respond to my inquiry.

I did receive a response from Adam Levy, the Federation’s Public & Community Relations Director, to my query when I asked whether the Federation might want to ask members of the Jewish community whether they’d be prepared to take in refugees from Ukraine.
Here is what Adam wrote on March 25: “At this time, we are not making such an ask of the community, but continue to re-assess the situation on a daily basis as needs change and evolve. If community members wish to take Ukrainian newcomers into their homes, they can certainly do that.
“This is why we have settlement services in our community. Besides finding housing, there are many other vital parts to living in Canada that these services help to facilitate. We hope that they will utilize these resources so that their needs will be met and their transition to life in Canada will be as painless as possible.”


While Alexey Guider comes from Kiev, which is in the western part of Ukraine, and which is Western oriented in terms of its culture and politics, other Ukrainian Jews, especially those in the eastern part of the country, might have stronger connections to Russia.
Such was the case with Michael (not his real name), who told me he left Ukraine when he was 10, at which point his family moved to Israel for 20 years. He and his wife came to Winnipeg with their three-month-old baby eight years ago. (He wanted to thank the Jewish Federation for its help in bringing him and his family here. He specifically cited Dalia Szpiro’s assistance in that regard.)
Michael works in IT, having been involved in projects for companies both inside and outside Manitoba, he said.
When I asked Michael what part of Ukraine he came from, he said it was a town called Petrovsk, which is situated in the province of Luhansk Oblast. That area of Ukraine has been the scene of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces for the past eight years and, during Russia’s recent invasion it was taken over completely by Russian forces during the very first days of the invasion.
Two years ago, Michael noted, he was able to bring his parents and grandparents as well to Winnipeg, under a Federal sponsorship program. But, he added, “I still have a bunch of family in Ukraine.”
He said that another grandfather and an uncle of his are in Luhansk, while his wife’s mother and aunt are outside of Luhansk, in an area that has been subject to intermittent bombardment for the past eight years.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, Luhansk and the areas adjacent to it are now quiet, Michael said, as they are now totally under Russian control. “The people are working, shopping centres are open, so are restaurants,” he added.

As noted, an aunt of Michal’s left the Luhansk area with her two daughters (who are approximately the same age as Michael) eight years ago when the fighting first began there, and they moved to a town west of Luhansk.
“It’s quieter there,” Michael said. “You can’t compare to the other places, but still they have sirens in the middle of the night, they’re hiding, they’re getting some humanitarian aid – they’re volunteering in those centres. Basically, right now there is no active combat going on in that part, but there’s uncertainty where everything is going. The economy is stalled; they’re not working.”
What he’s been able to do though is send money to them through Western Union – which is “deposited directly into their bank account,” Michael said.
I asked Michael whether he’s in touch with his family in Ukraine. He said that he is, through a platform called “Viber” (which, interestingly, was developed in Israel).
But I was curious to know what life was like for his relatives who are now living in areas totally under Russian control. “From what you say, life is pretty normal,” I said to Michael.
In response, he told this story about his uncle, who is still living in Luhansk: “He was going someplace, going shopping or something. He was stopped by two Russian soldiers…they were checking his passport and his papers. He took his hat off. He’s like 75. He’s like a traditional Jewish person – he looks Jewish. And they said to him, ‘Sorry father’– (a Russian expression, Michael explained) and they apologized. They said ‘You look like someone else.’ They were looking for resistance. They checked his paperwork and wished him good day, and off he went.”
“So this is fair and normal in the city of Luhansk,” Michael said.
I said I was surprised to hear what Michael just told me. I said, “So this means the Russian soldiers are behaving fairly nicely,” I suggested.
Michael agreed, adding, “The Western media. They are reporting just one side of the story. And, to be honest, I don’t know who is wrong, who is right. You know, you see all those terrible things on the TV, on Facebook, on Instagram, but on Viber – and I haven’t heard from my uncle for a week or so, he says that everything is stable, everyone is okay.”

“Isn’t that interesting?” I responded. I continued, asking Michael, “What would you say then if the Russians took over all of Ukraine, how do you think they would behave?”
Michael answered: “This is what the Western world really doesn’t understand. Ukraine is actually divided into two. The eastern part is truly Russian-speaking population. They share the same traditions, the same language – everything. Even myself, when I was in school, Ukrainian was like a foreign language. It’s like you learn French here. It’s as if Ontario and Quebec were combined together – and you called it Ukraine.
“For those areas where it’s mostly Russian-speaking people, the quality of life is not that great. They don’t really care who is in power, honestly. They just want to get to work, get paid, and feed their families. The people there are mostly farmers, miners (of coal). They don’t really have an agenda for politics. They don’t want war. They just want to lead a normal life.
“In the western part of Ukraine, it’s a different story because they’re more Polish in nature. They have stronger connections to Poland. There was always tension between Ukrainians and Russians. It’s not spoken of, but during the Holocaust the Ukrainians cooperated with the Nazis. (To which I said, “Yes, I know.”) More (Jewish) people were killed by Ukrainians than by Nazis. These days we don’t talk about that. But I don’t know who is better and who is worse (comparing Ukrainians and Russians). They both do the same.
“It’s not black and white, it’s sort of gray,” Michael suggested.

“But how do you react when you see what they (the Russians) are doing to Mariupol and to Kharkiv?” I asked Michael. “Mariupol has been destroyed.”
“Yes, absolutely,” Michael said. “How do I feel? I feel bad. How can you feel when the city is being destroyed, but the point is: Russia has its own agenda and Ukraine has its agenda. Someone is making a lot of money out of this.” (I didn’t ask him what he meant by that.)
I wanted to return to asking about Michael’s relatives who were still in Ukraine. I wondered whether any of them are trying to get out?
He explained that it’s all but impossible where his relatives are. “So,” I asked, “what can we as Winnipeg Jews do to help people like your relatives? We can help with money, I suppose,” I said.
“I guess so,” Michael said. “But he noted that the Russian army is not progressing to the centre of the country where his aunt and his cousins are living. His aunt is working part-time in a grocery store, Michael explained.

I remarked to Michael that I found his perspective totally different from Alexey’s and was rather unsure what to make of what he had told me.
Based on what he told me, I wondered whether the war could be brought to an end if Ukraine were to hand over the two eastern provinces (Luhansk and Donetsk) that are primarily Russian speaking, along with Crimea (which used to belong to Russia)?
“But,” Michael suggested, “they (the Russians) won’t stop. Sanctions mean nothing to them. What do you care about sanctions when you have nothing to begin with?”
He said that there should be “some kind of reasonable negotiations,” but when I suggested that Zelensky has been willing to engage in honest negotiations from the very beginning, yet the Russians are engaged in some kind of charade when it comes to negotiations, he said “I don’t know. I’m not a politician.”

But after listening to Michael, I felt that I had a better understanding how Jewish Ukrainians are not all on the same page when it comes to this terrible conflict. Yet, I don’t want what I’ve written in any way to come across as a defence of what Vladimir Putin has done – and I’m afraid that someone reading this could easily extract from some of Michael’s comments exactly that. Still, I wonder if perhaps, by understanding somewhat better the divisions that exist within Ukraine between Russian speaking and Ukrainian speaking Ukrainians, we might come to the realization that a compromise solution will have to take into account those divisions.
Is a compromise possible? It would seem so, but Vladimir Putin and his generals seem determined to punish Ukrainians terribly first, and for expatriate Ukrainians like Alexey and Michael, they can only watch and wait – and hope that their relatives and friends still living in Ukraine don’t become casualties.

Postscript: Several days after I interviewed Alexey and Michael, I was troubled by the message that I discerned from what Michael had said to me. He was quite sanguine about Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, I thought.
So I decided to look further into his claims that Russian-speaking Ukrainians feel quite differently about the Russian invasion than do Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “most Russian-speaking Ukrainians feel Ukrainian.” The article went on to say that “In Ukraine, the language people speak cannot be equated with ethnic identity. A larger representative study from 2013 examining the identity of Ukrainians living in various regions of the country found that the vast majority consider their ethnic identity as Ukrainian – the lone exception was in Crimea….strong Ukrainian identification can be found in predominantly Russian-speaking parts such as southern, eastern Ukraine, and even Donbas – where 70 percent or more identify as Ukrainian.”
I thought about Michael’s relative acquiescence to the Russian occupation of that part of Ukraine where he lived – until he was 10. But that was 28 years ago. Even though he says he is in touch with relatives in that area, including his grandfather and uncle, I wonder just how much Michael’s views were shaped by his experience growing up in a country that was under Soviet occupation until1991. According to what he told me, Michael would have left Ukraine for Israel in 1994. One can well imagine how much the country has changed in the past 28 years.
But to say that “But I don’t know who is better and who is worse (comparing Ukrainians and Russians),” as Michael said; “they both do the same”, would seem to be a distortion of the reality that now exists in Ukraine.

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Tom Traves: From the north end to the presidency of several Canadian universities

Tom Traves

By GERRY POSNER There haven’t been lot of Jewish presidents of Canadian universities.
To be clear, there have been some, but not as many as one might expect – given how many Jewish academics we’ve had in Canada over the years.
One person who made the short list of Jewish university presidents in this country has been none other than a former Winnipegger – right out of the north end of Winnipeg: Tom Traves. Now retired, Traves had a long and distinguished career in the university setting as President of Dalhousie University in Halifax, serving for 18 years in that position.
Traves’s tenure as Dalhousie president followed a four-year term as Vice- President of the University of New Brunswick. But, if you read the CV of Tom Traves, you can understand how this came to be.
Tom was a graduate of the University of Manitoba with a B.A. ( Hons.) in 1970, followed by an M.A. from York in 1973, and a Ph.D., also from York, in 1976.
Tom began his teaching career at York (where he spent many years) in 1974 as a lecturer, then as an associate professor, from 1976 to 1991. From 1981 to 1983, Tom was the Chairman of the Division of Social Science at York. He was soon appointed, in 1983, as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, where he served until 1991. From York Tom moved to the University of New Brunswick, where he became both Vice President (Academic) and a Professor of History, from 1991 to 1995.
Then, in 1995, Traves was invited to be the President and Vice- Chancellor of Dalhousie University for a six year term. When that term ended, Tom was appointed again for another six year term. And still later, in 2007 – for yet a third term of three years. When that ended, he was renewed for another three year term. Would you not agree that Tom Traves and Dalhousie had a strong connection, to put it mildly? Just to lend credence to this statement, it was during the Tom Traves tenure that enrolment at Dalhousie grew by over forty percent and external research grants and contract income increased by over three hundred percent. Now, those are impressive statistics. Perhaps the most telling assessment of Traves during his time at Dalhousie is a comment made by a former member of the University’s Board of Governors, who noted that Traves had been at the centre of a fund raising campaign which raised over $250 million during his time at Dalhousie, the highest total in the history of the province. When asked about Traves and his successor, Richard Florizone, this board member called them both remarkable individuals: “I would hire them for my company in a minute, and they would make me money.”
To read through the list of books, articles and other credits of Tom Traves is more than the Jewish Post & News could put on its website, as it might overload the system. But for sure some of the highlights of his career (aside from all the boards he has sat on across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), would be the awards and honours that have come his way. He was the recipient of an award not commonly given to Canadians: the Filosofie Hedersdocktor Honoris Causa, from Umea University in Sweden in 1997, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2000. Not to be forgotten was Tom’s inclusion on the list as one of the top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada in 2005, 2006 and 2007. There were so many other major awards, culminating in 2014 when he was appointed to the Order of Canada.
With all of that, Traves was still in demand when he retired and moved back to Toronto in 2016. He was asked to be the Interim President of Brock University in 2016 while that university sought out a long term person to fill that position. Once he completed that role, he semi-retired, taking on consulting activities over the last number of years.
How did a quiet unassuming boy, son of Sam and Marjorie Traves (Kay), brother to the late Nancy Traves, a product of West Kildonan, advance so far and so fast? Did he show signs of this kind of superior level of scholarship and leadership in his early days? Some might answer that it was his time spent at West Kildonan Collegiate that spurred him on to greater heights. Was it perhaps his days as an undergraduate at the University of Manitoba (from 1966-1970?) No one can say for sure, but the truth is that Traves had a speedy trajectory upward and even in retirement he has moved along at a decent clip. He is quite active these days, playing Bridge, golf, and now Pickleball. In large part, he and his wife Karen (Posner), my first cousin, (and that connection to the Posner family might be the real reason for his great success) have focused time and attention on their grandson Ben, son of his daughter Julie. There are also trips to the Washington D. C area, where his son Will and his wife live, along with his oldest grandson, Daniel.
In short, the Tom Traves story is just another Winnipeg success story – if the city wishes to lay claim to it: North End Jewish boy makes good in the east. The best part of the whole story is that, if you know Tom, or just met him, you would never have an inkling of his accomplishments, so unassuming is he. That is Tom Traves.

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Newly-arrived Health Sciences Centre surgeon Dr. Lev Bubis has deep roots in Winnipeg Jewish community

Dr. Lev Bubis

By MYRON LOVE Dr. Lev Bubis, the Health Sciences Centre’s new hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgeon, says that he and his family –wife, Amy, and four-year-old daughter, Ada, – are settling in quite nicely in their new home.
“We are really enjoying being here,” notes Bubis who arrived here in early October. “We have a house in south River Heights and we enjoyed being with the family for the High Holidays and Chanukah.”
Bubis is the grandson of the late Morris and Mae Bubis. And, although the young Bubis grew up in Ottawa – family members here include his aunts, Carol Arenson, Adrienne Katz and Harriet Rodin, and their families.
Bubis’s father, Mordy Bubis, left Winnipeg for Ottawa after university and the nation’s capital is where the young Bubis grew up.
He notes that he was interested in pursuing a career in medicine from an early age – although he first earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Kings College in Halifax. He did his medical training at Columbia University.
“I decided to specialize in liver and pancreatic medicine in third year when I got the opportunity to work with Dr. John Chabot, one of America’s leading pancreatic cancer specialist,” Bubis says.
After Columbia, Bubis relocated (in 2014) to Toronto, where he honed his surgical skills in liver and pancreatic surgery at the University of Toronto and St. Joseph’s Hospital. He did a six-year residency at the university, followed by two years of research and two more years training in surgical oncology.
Bubis (and family) arrived in our community in early October to begin his position at HSC. In an interview on the Health Sciences Centre Foundation website “Tell Your Story” section, which was published on December 21, Bubis noted that there were several factors that led him to come to HSC – in particular, the hospital’s commitment to minimally invasive surgery.
“I was attracted by the exceptional team that’s in place at HSC and by the fact that the hospital is really pushing things forward with minimally invasive surgery,” said Bubis in the HSCF interview. “This is where the HPB field is going and it is a real interest of mine. It’s exciting to me that the HSC Foundation is supporting this direction in surgery with capital investments.”
He explained that minimally invasive surgery is “an approach to surgery that typically relies on smaller incisions and instruments. Very small cameras allow surgeons to see their work on video monitors in high definition. Minimally invasive surgery means less pain for a patient, a quicker recovery, and a shorter hospital stay. Among other benefits, shorter hospital stays free up beds more quickly, which reduces the amount of time patients need to wait in the Emergency Department.”
Bubis has also had extensive training in treating neuroendocrine tumors, which can occur throughout the gastrointestinal tract, as well as elsewhere in the body. One of his specialties is the Whipple procedure, an operation to remove tumors and treat other conditions in the pancreas, small intestine and bile ducts. The complex procedure involves removing the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine, the gall bladder and bile duct.
Bubis points out that, at HSC, he is a member of a team that treats patients from throughout Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. He reports that he sees patients at the clinic two days a week, does surgeries one or two days a week and does some endoscopes and teaching.
He is looking forward to a lengthy stay here.

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‘Put a Yid on It!’ Festival of New Yiddish Culture!

Beyond the Pale - Feb. 8 at the Berney Theatre

By SHIRA NEWMAN – Festival Director I am thrilled to announce the inaugural year of ‘Put a Yid on It’ Festival of New Yiddish Culture, running from February 7 to 11th. I have had the great good fortune of being the producer of this event with the guidance and support of the committee which previously brought us the wonderful festival Mamaloshen.
Like a lot of Gen X-ers, I grew up hearing a smattering of Yiddish as a child, mostly in the words of my Baba. I could not speak a word of it, but when I made my first film 10 years ago, I was for some reason drawn to include Yiddish in it and I started to dive into the history of Yiddish Cinema.
A linguist I know, hearing me wondering where this desire came from, explained to me that an ancestral language will remain ‘written in our bones’ (or unconscious memory, or genes, however we may wish to see it). This resonated with me and started me down a voyage of discovery of this 1000-year-old language and culture.
It is hard to imagine that only 80 years ago eleven million people spoke, wrote, sang, and dreamt in Yiddish. It spanned throughout all of Eastern Europe and spread wherever our people travelled. Never the majority language of a nation state but the language of a pan national community of Ashkenazi Jews ‘scattered among the nations’ enriched by and enriching so many other languages and cultures while still carrying its uniqueness with it.
Since the Second World War, Yiddish has become less common but as any Yiddishist will tell you, the idea that it is dying is wrong (if not complete heresy!). And they are very right. It is spoken by many (largely in the Hassidic community) and is continually being reclaimed by more – as can be seen by talented artists of every generation who make beautiful work inspired by the Yiddish language.
Today there is a lively re-emergence of the warm, funny, poetic language – some call it a new Yiddish Renaissance in the arts, cinema, and music. There are popular films, TV shows, successful web-series, and festivals springing up everywhere. In the world of music, you can find an amazing array of bands putting their own modern spin on classical Klezmer, and others using Yiddish in everything from Punk to Metal, to Psychedelic Rock, to Hip-Hop! Put a Yid on It! Is a celebration of this trend!
On February 7th, at 7:30 pm we will be opening with a free book launch, talk, and reception at The Handsome Daughter (61 Sherbrook Street) for a brand-new book called “Yiddish Cinema: The Drama of Troubled Communication,” featuring authors Jonah Corne and Monika Vrečar. This book offers a bold new reading of Yiddish cinema by exploring the early diasporic cinema’s fascination with media and communication. Jonah and Monika will discuss their book and the history of Yiddish cinema. (Snacks and drinks will be provided).
We have some amazing bands coming! On February 8th, Canadian Folk Music Award Winners, Beyond the Pale will be here from Toronto and will be playing at the Berney Theatre. They are a tremendous fun and lively Klezmer and Balkan Band who are known for their genius musicianship, experimentation, and playfulness. This is not your traditional Klezmer Band – they bring in a world of musical styles including reggae, jazz, bluegrass. Watching them play is truly a tour of world music. They will be bringing Yiddish classics and so much more!

Socalled – Feb. 10

On February 10th, we are partnering with the West End Cultural Centre to bring the brilliant and one-of-a-kind Yiddish (and English), Montreal Hip-Hop artist Josh ‘Socalled’ Dolgin. He will be performing with his band, which includes the mesmerizing vocalist Katie Moore, Balkan trumpet ‘God’ Nizo Alimov, and Michale Felber on bass. This is going to be an incredibly special show. His music is as evocative and moving as it is fun (and danceable).
Socalled is the star of an award-winning feature length documentary (NFB) called ‘The Socalled Movie.’ The video for his song ‘You Are Never Alone’ has been viewed more than three million times. He is truly a cultural phenomenon (and his parents are from Winnipeg!).
From February 7th to 11th, we will be presenting a series of some of the greatest Yiddish films of all time – all restored to beautiful quality. I am extremely excited to see these on a big screen for the first time! This series includes films from the 1930s, which is considered The Golden Age of Yiddish Cinema such as “Yiddle with His Fiddle” (a joyful romp of a musical comedy) on February 7th, “The Light Ahead” (a poignant social commentary) on February 8th, and “The Dybbuk” (a gorgeous Yiddish ghost story) on February 10th. It will also include “Hester Street,” from 1974, (with a Yiddish speaking Carol Kane) on February 11th. All these screenings take place at 2:00 p.m. in the Berney Theatre.
On Sunday, February 11th, we will have some fun closing events! At 10 am come and join us at the Rady JCC for a bagel breakfast and a ‘Bisl’ Yiddish with Professor Itay Zutra. We will be learning some of the MOST expressive Yiddish sayings. At 3:30 pm there will be a reunion for I.L. Peretz Folk School alumni. There will be snacks and time to reminisce!
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or feel free to give me a call at 204.477.7534.

There is a quiet humor in Yiddish and a gratitude for every day of life, every crumb of success, each encounter of love… In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of a frightened and hopeful humanity.

  • Issac Bashevis Singer
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