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“The Soundtrack of our Lives”: JHCWC program leaves audience enthralled

Posted July 5 By BERNIE BELLAN (Note: This article first appeared in our June 7 issue but there’s nothing in it that doesn’t bear repeating now.)
Put an audience of aging baby boomers together with three also aging musicians who are experts on Winnipeg’s music scene – and all three great raconteurs besides, along with an MC who is also himself an aging musical aficionado – and what do you get? An afternoon of nostalgia mixed with great humour and the occasional anecdote that defied belief.
Such was the case on a glorious Sunday afternoon, May 28, when, despite the gorgeous weather outside, Temple Shalom was packed with many formerly hirsute men along with an assortment of graying (and a few nicely hair-dyed) women. They were there to attend what was billed as “The Soundtrack of our Lives: Jews in Winnipeg’s Music Industry.”
Although there had been a fair bit of advance billing for the program, including an excellent preview article in the Winnipeg Free Press, even the three experts who had been assembled on stage really had no idea what was going to ensue.
The event was sponsored by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, which continues to come up with imaginative programming year after year (even if they haven’t yet agreed to follow up on my proposal to do a program on famous Jewish criminals in Manitoba’s history.)
The three expert panelists included, in order: Owen Clark, a musician of great repute (voted “Winnipeg jazz musician of the year” in 2009), also a historian of Winnipeg’s music scene going back to the 1920s; Len Udow, folk singer, cantor, seven-time performer at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and recording artist – with three solo albums of his own; and John Einarson, former musician with a number of different bands and the writer of over 20 books telling the stories of a host of different Winnipeg musicians, including his opus, “Heart of Gold,” which is a comprehensive history of Manitoba musicians, and which is now in its fourth printing.
Keeping the entire affair coherent was MC Kinzey Posen, who was able to inject his own experiences as a band member into the proceedings – going back to a time when as, Jewish Heritage Centre former president Dan Stone noted, Kinzey not only had hair, he had lots of it.
Stone told this story about Kinzey (and, like a lot of the stories told that afternoon, it might have been greatly embellished): It seems that Kinzey (a.k.a. Martin) was kicked out of school for two weeks for having too long hair. His parents, Stone claimed, offered Kinzey a deal: “If you cut your hair, we’ll buy you a bass and amplifier.”
Owen Clark was the first of the panelists to talk about Jewish musicians of the past. He began by showing a 1920s era photo on the screen (next to the stage) of the “Minnedosa Little Symphony Orchestra,” led by Leon Asper and his wife, Cecilia.
Thus began a chronology of Jewish musicians and others associated with the music industry, including Harry Smith, owner of Club Morocco, whose real name, Clark revealed, was Herschel Shmudkin.
Among the musicians mentioned by Clark was Al Sprintz who, as Clark noted, “went to Club Morocco for two weeks and stayed for 22 years.”
Clark also discussed the integration of black musicians into bands that had Jewish musicians over the years, noting that, as members of two groups that suffered from discrimination, there was a kinship that led to the breaking down of barriers for both blacks and Jews.
Len Udow took a somewhat different tack than Clark – also later Einarson, as he focused primarily on his own history of growing up in a supremely musically talented family, including his mother Sarah, his aunt Belva, and uncle David, all of whom were talented opera singers.
Udow recounted his early childhood experiences of being in the Rosh Pina children’s choir and performing at the old YMHA on Hargrave as having been significant in his own development as a performer.
He told one story of having been a member of a group as a teenager known as the “Wayward Four Plus One.” According to Udow, the group was invited to appear on the CKY Amateur Hour one time, where they won the competition by beating out someone by the name of Burton Cummings (who played trumpet that day).
Later, Udow told of his many experiences on the stage of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, paying tribute to two pioneers of that festival, Mitch Podolak and Marvin Terhoch.
Speaking of Mitch Podolak (about whom Kinzey Posen wrote a moving tribute in our October 11, 2017 issue, which you can find on our website), John Einarson began his own remarks about Jews in Winnipeg’s music scene through the years by telling this story: It seems that Einarson and Podolak had never met until one day their paths happened to cross and Podolak told Einarson that he was thinking of starting a music festival for Winnipeg. He asked Einarson what he thought of the idea?
Einarson’s answer, he recounted was: “It’ll never work.”
Growing up in the 1950s, Einarson recalled, opened up a whole new world for him – and countless other youngsters, with the invention of the transistor radio.
“It made a great difference in listening to music,” he explained.
“It broke down barriers…Rock ‘n roll was a great equalizer” among kids in those days.
“I grew up with Jewish musicians,” Einarson continued. “They went on to become doctors and lawyers…The place to go for music was community clubs.”
Einarson took the audience through a Powerpoint presentation that showed pictures of bands from the 1950s, 60s and 70s that were either entirely Jewish or else had a majority of Jewish members.
He also paid tribute to others who played instrumental roles in promoting local talent, such as DJs Doc Steen and Howard Mandshein.
There were other notable figures who were important promoters, Einarson noted, including such individuals as Ivan Berkowits (who hit upon the idea of promoting his Monarch Wear brand of jeans known as TJs through music, with girls wearing TJs appearing at community clubs); Fred Glazerman; Frank Wiener (just recently passed), who opened the Hungry I booking agency; Terry Morris; Jerry Shore (who ran Celebrity Box Office); Roy Levin (of Transcontinental Productions, and who was the first to book the Guess Who here): Sam Katz (of Nite Out Entertainment); and Lorne Saifer (the longtime manager of the Guess Who).
Then, there were the club owners, Einarson told about: Jerry Huck (Jay’s Discotheque); Dick Golfman (The Twilight Zone); Bruce Druxerman (The Fireplace); Phil and Ray Kives (The Zoo, on Osborne); and the Gindin family (St. Vital Hotel).
There were also the record store owners: Murray Posner (Mother’s Records); Norman Stein (Opus 69); and Lilian Lewis (Lilian Lewis Records).
One more name Einarson mentioned was Harry Kreindler, of Banquex Amplifiers.
He told the story how former Manitoba Cabinet Minister Maitland Steinkopf had arranged to bring what was then one of the biggest bands in the world, Led Zeppelin, to play at the old Winnipeg Stadium in 1970 in celebration of Manitoba’s Centennial.
It started to rain, Einarson explained, and the band left the stage. “They had a clause saying they didn’t have to play if it started to rain,” Einarson continued.
But Steinkopf went to the hotel where the band was staying, accompanied by a well-known singer at the time, Diane Hetherington, in an attempt to persuade the band to come back and play inside the Winnipeg Arena.
Steinkopf was told the band wouldn’t do that unless he came up with $25,000US in cash. Somehow, he came back with a suitcase loaded with cash –and the concert did carry on – in the Arena.
Einarson also said that there was a story he had heard – which had never been corroborated, and he asked whether anyone had ever heard the same story: It revolved around well-known restaurateur Oscar Grubert and the Rolling Stones.
Apparently Grubert was the promoter who brought the Rolling Stones to Winnipeg. (Einarson said that Grubert had also tried to bring the Beatles to Winnipeg.) The story he had heard, Einarson said, was that the Rolling Stones stayed at Grubert’s Garden City home. (In later correspondence that I had with Einarson, Kinzey Posen, and Stan Carbone, curator of the Jewish Heritage Centre, when I asked all three of them whether they had heard anything more about that story, Stan Carbone suggested that the Stones had stayed at a hotel owned by Grubert and somehow it got misinterpreted that they had stayed at his home. John Einarson later emailed me to confirm that the Stones had stayed at the Champs Motor Inn on Osborne (which was later bought by the Kives brothers and became the Osborne Motor Inn.)
Too bad, it would have been more fun to think that one of the most famous rock ‘n roll bands in the world actually stayed on Forest Park Drive, no doubt eating only kosher food. (Oscar Grubert was at one time head of the Va’ad Ha’ir in this city.)
Speaking of wild misinterpretations, I interrupted Einarson with my own story, which was about Barbra Streisand. I said that, years ago, I was working for another well-known restaurateur (also nightclub owner), Auby Galpern.
By now, the story of Streisand either being fired by Galpern – or leaving Winnipeg of her own accord, is legendary. (She appeared at the Towers Nightclub in July 1961, when she was only 19, and just starting out in her career).
I said that Auby had told me that he fired Streisand because she was “a dirty hippie” and “sang too loud.” (Later Kinzey Posen told me that she couldn’t have been a “dirty hippie” in 1961; a “dirty beatnik” maybe. Why am I always being corrected?)
A very good website about the history of Winnipeg, known as “Local Dumplings” takes issue with that account of what happened: “Local lore says that Streisand was ‘fired’ by T & C co-owner Auby Galpern and told that she would never make it as a cabaret singer. That has recently been disputed by a couple of former senior T & C staffers who say that she was released early at the request of her agent to return to the U.S. for work.
“In an April 23, 1964 Gene Telpner column, Galpern said of Streisand’”I liked her but I thought she dressed very strangely (she bought her wardrobe at rummage sales to give her an eclectic look).”
In any event, my recalling the famous Barbra Streisand story set off a chain of comments – both from panelists and from audience members, but the wildest stories revolved around Barbra Streisand supposedly being set up on a blind date while she was in Winnipeg. (Later, John Einarson wrote me that would have been impossible because she was only here three nights and would have been performing each evening, so when would she have had time for a date?)
Regardless, the craziest story came from one audience member who said he had heard that Barbra was set up with Ron Braunstein who, at the time, was a very successful curler on his brother Terry’s team. According to what the audience member said, Ron Braunstein told Barbra that, unless she wanted to come to a curling match that night, he couldn’t make it. But this was July! See how tell tales get started! (In subsequent email correspondence with Einarson, Posen, and Carbone, I suggested that I wouldn’t be surprised if the two wild stories – about the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand, got so intertwined some day that someone would say they had heard that Barbra Streisand was set up on a blind date with Mick Jagger at Oscar Grubert’s house.)
Speaking of clubs, John Einarson recalled that Winnipeg musicians, after they had finished their gigs in various clubs, used to head over to the Club Morocco after 1 am because it was the only club still serving food.
Someone in the audience brought up the name of another club, The Fourth Dimension (later bought by Mickey Cooperband). Einarson said that many famous musicians had played there, including Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell, Don McLean, and Neil Young. (Later, after the program was over, someone told me that a musician by the name of Bob Zimmerman (a.k.a. Bob Dylan) used to come to Winnipeg to visit relatives here and stay at Neil Young’s house.)
Len Udow told an amusing story about musician Bernie Senensky. Apparently Udow and Senensky were in a Grade 10 British History class together in high school.
“We were not great students,” Udow remarked. “We didn’t share our intellect with anyone.”
Still, Udow recalled, when he would look over at Senensky, he was busy arranging music rather than paying attention to what was going on in class. “He was so obsessed with music,” Udow said. You could see what lay ahead for Senensky, who went on to a great career as a jazz pianist and composer.
One final – and very astute observation was brought up by someone else in the audience who observed that, while community clubs might have been the venues of choice for rock ‘n roll, church halls were where folk music could be heard. Then, one election year in Manitoba, Gary Doer hit upon the idea of going after the youth vote by promising to lower the drinking age to 18 from 21 – and all of a sudden all those kids congregating in church halls listening to folk music were now able to hit the bars – “and that killed the folk music scene.”
It was truly a great afternoon of memories and anecdotes. I had noticed someone was videoing the program when I walked in, so I emailed Stan Carbone to ask whether a video of the program might be available for people to see. He said he’ll get back to me with further information.

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Israeli representative in Canada Sarah Mali talks about October 7 heroes

By MYRON LOVE Conflict often produces acts of heroism – but it is not only warriors who become heroes.  As Sarah Mali noted, heroism can come in many forms.  
 
Mali, the Director General of JFC-UIA Canada in Israel, made a stop in our community on Thursday, May 30, on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, during which she did a presentation at the Berney Theatre providing an update on the situation in the Jewish State from her perspective as  an Israeli – with a  focus on the different faces of heroism..
The British-born Mali made Aliyah in 2000 after earning a degree from the London School of Economics.  She also has degrees from the Hebrew University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  The mother of four – the older two currently serving in the Israel Defence Forces – was the Director of Israel Engagement for the Jewish Federation of Toronto from 2007 to 2012. She returned to Israel to undertake her current assignment in 2012 and now lives in Jerusalem.
Mali is an accomplished writer and public speaker who was named one of “50 of Our Favorite Women Right Now” by ”Future of Judaism” in 2022.
Mali was introduced by Paula Parks, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg’s President.  She presented her stories of heroism through a series of photographs. She began by recalling the first time in Israel that she heard sirens going off.  “I was in the car with one of my daughters,” she recounted.  “We weren’t quite sure what to do at first. But we got out of the car and did what all Israelis do.
“These past eight months, sirens have been sounded almost daily. Just recently, there was renewed rocket fire toward Tel Aviv.” 
 
The first group of heroes that Mali highlighted was the group of 14 young female soldiers who were kidnapped from their IDF base near Kibbutz Nahal Oz – near the Gaza border – which was overrun on October 7.
She spoke of the 60,000 residents of Israel’s north who were forced to leave their homes because of the danger from Hezbollah in the north and the heroic way that their fellow Israelis throughout the country have opened their homes and hearts to these internally displaced refugees, along with survivors of the attacks by Hamas in the south.
While Mali noted that she and her family are safe – living in the centre of the country – she described a recurring nightmare of loss. 
She told the story of Avitel Aladjem from Kibbutz Holit.  When the kibbutz was attacked, Aladjem was tasked by her neighbor, Canadian-born Adi Vital Kaploun, with looking after the latter’s two children – a three year old boy and a baby. Kaploun was murdered and Aladjem and the children were put on bicycles and driven to the Gaza border. For some strange and miraculous reason, the terrorist left the threesome at the border.  So Aladjem put the baby in a sling, picked up the three-year-old boy and carried both children back to safety.

Mali further praised the courage of the Magen David Adom medics who unhesitatingly put themselves in danger in those early desperate hours to save lives – and have continued saving lives throughout the war.  She recounted one story about an Israeli soldier who was shot in the neck and pronounced dead.  One medic, however, noticed that he was wearing a wedding band.
The medic noted that meant someone was waiting for the soldier at home and suggested the first responders should check him again  for any vital signs.  They found a pulse and had him evacuated by helicopter right away.  He was able to make a full recovery.
(Mali also noted that more than 15,000 Israeli soldiers have been wounded in the current conflict.)
One of the photos that Mali put on screen was the rescuer visiting the recovering soldier in hospital.
She spoke of the tremendous efforts of Israeli mental health professionals who have been having to deal with tens of thousands of traumatized Israeli of all ages.
She noted the miracle of her own daughter recently giving birth – bringing a new life into a world gone mad.
Another photo she posted was of a letter from a seven-year-old girl in Toronto who wanted to donate $23 to Israel to help with food, clothing and housing.
Mali’s final paean was to all the Jewish communities in the Diaspora – including our own – that have raised tremendous sums of money (over $4 million alone from our community), have staged rallies in support of our Israeli brethren, and many of whom have travelled to Israel, not only to show their support, but also to volunteer to help in many ways. 
“You are all heroes,” Mali told her audience.
Following her presentation, Mali took several questions from the audience.  One question concerned the ongoing conflict with Hezbollah in the north. “My head tells me that the IDF has to end Hezbollah,” Mali responded.  “But, as a mother with children serving in the IDF, I would be terrified.”
In answer to a second question about what some view as Israel’s poor public relations record, Mali pointed out that a major problem is that the Western media see the conflict – and the world –  in terms of victims and oppressors, and the Palestiniand in this worldview are ever the victims – and therefore, can do no wrong – while the Israelis are the oppressors whose every actions are judged as criminal or evil.
In concluding, Mali described the strong sense of determination and solidarity among most Israelis – an attitude exemplified by her own 17-year-old son who is impatient to join the IDF and take up the fight.
She added that “We Israelis want you to come to Israel, hear our stories and share them back in your communities.
 “Israel is a strong country with a strong army,” she observed.  “We are fighting not just for our own people but also for all Jews – and we are fighting against evil. This is our moment.”

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New York-based choreographer Josh Assor returning to hometown and Rainbow Stage for upcoming “Mary Poppins” production

By MYRON LOVE Josh Assor has a lengthy history, both with “Mary Poppins” and Rainbow Stage. So it would seem to be a no-brainer for Canada’s only summer theatre to invite the former Winnipegger-turned New York-based choreographer to return to his home town to choreograph this summer’s Rainbow Stage production of Mary Poppins (August 15-September 1).
Assor’s first experience with the beloved musical came just a short time into his stage career.  In 2011, the son of Hanania and Leslie Assor was cast in a touring production as Neleus, the statue who is brought to life by Mary.  In February 2012, he was elevated to the Broadway production in the same role.  In 2018, having transitioned from acting to choreography, he was tasked with choreographing a production of “Mary Poppins” at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock, Missouri.  (He was invited back to Arrow Rock in 2019 to choreograph “Cinderella”).
“It is always nice to come back to Winnipeg where I started my career,” Assor says.
When it comes to musical theatre, Josh Assor has written a story of great success.  He was attracted to theatre and acting from a very young age. He actually began with some television roles, followed by stage work.  Some of the shows that he appeared in at Rainbow Stage were: “Peter Pan”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat” and “The Little Mermaid”.
Along the way, the young performer began taking dancing lessons.  “I started training rather later in life in dance,” he recalls. “I enrolled in Ken Peter Dance Express when I was 15.  Originally, I was most interested in hip hop.  I then followed with tap and, a couple of years later, I began studying all forms of dance, including jazz, ballet and musical theatre.  By the time I was 17, I had decided to seriously pursue a career in the theatre.”
Assor attended Gray Academy to the end of Grade 9, then moved to Grant Park High School for Grades 10-12 to take the school’s well-known performing arts program. 
The budding performer left Winnipeg after graduation for Los Angeles where he had scored a scholarship to study at the prestigious EDGE Performing Arts Center.  He then moved to Toronto – at age 19 – to begin the next phase of his career.
“I signed with an agent in Toronto,” he said in an earlier interview with the Jewish Post. “Toronto is where most of the auditions take place.  I did some television but mostly worked on the stage.”
His first major role was in a production of “West Side Story” at the Stratford Festival in 2008, he recounts.
While he may have been based in Toronto over a period of three years, he notes, he spent a year in Montreal and the rest of the time in touring productions, which continued after his move to New York in 2010. 
In addition to touring with “Mary Poppins,”  he also toured as a  member of the cast of “The Wizard of Oz” and Disney’s first national tour of “Newsies” (in which he was the assistant dance captain).
After more than two years in ‘”Newsies,” Assor explained in that earlier interview, he was ready for a change of pace.  “From day one, to become a choreographer was always my goal,” he noted.   “I am happiest when I can be at my most creative.  I felt that I had had a good run as a performer.  I accomplished what I had wanted.  It was time to focus on my development as a choreographer.”
Back in New York,  his goal was to become a member of the faculty of the world-renowned Broadway Dance Centre.  He started as a substitute teacher, became a guest instructor and, for the past several years, has been a member of the faculty, focusing on musical theatre.
“People come from all over the world to study with us,” Assor said.
In addition to his teaching, Assor has continued to work professionally as a choreographer. Choreographic credits include: New York Fashion Week, the New York City Knicks, Audi, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Modos Furniture, Hard Rock Hotel, and Soho House, as well as regional productions of “Mary Poppins,” “Anastasia,” “Fiddler On The Roof,” “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” “Cinderella,” “Newsies,” and the world premiere of “Medicine the Musical,” which ran off-Broadway. He also choreographed Cedar Point (Ohio) Amusement Park’s 150th Anniversary Spectacular ,as well as the series ‘DJ Burnt Bannock,’ produced by Eagle Vision. He was the associate choreographer for the “Saturday Night Fever” National Tour as well as the Canadian Premier of “Newsies.”
In March 2020,  due to the pandemic lockdowns, Assor came home to Winnipeg for a while and, once here, he got a job with Eagle Vision, working with them for almost a year behind the scenes on a number of large scale television and film projects, such as “Burden Of Truth” and “Esther”.
Assor is currently choreographing a production of “Fiddler On The Roof” that just opened at a theatre in the Boston Area called North Shore Music Theater. He reports that he will also be choreographing “Fiddler” again in Connecticut in early 2025.
He adds that he has a new show that he choreographed – titled “Retrospect” – that will be mounted in various theme parks across the US.  Also coming up is a  week-long dance retreat at the End of August – which he co-owns with Orielle Marcus – titled “The Reset Dance Retreat”. 

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Penny Jones Square passionate advocate for Israel

By MYRON LOVE Perception is not reality.  While the perception may be that the world is once more against Jews and the State of Israel, we are not reliving the darkest days of the 1930s and early 1940s.  Polls consistently show that in both Canada and the United States, the great majority of the population is on our side.
In our own community, we can see the strong support we receive from such Christian Zionist friends as Reverend Don and Victoria James and their fellow Bridges For Peace members,;Pastor Rudy and Gina Fidel and the members of his Faith Temple; and John Plantz and the Church and Field Ministries.
But there may not be a more ardent supporter of Israel and fighter against antisemitism in our community than Penny Jones Square.  Penny has long had a strong feeling for Israel and the Jewish people but, since the horrendous events of October 7, she has taken it to an entirely new level.
Over the past eight months, Penny has been ubiquitous.  She has been attending pro-Israel rallies and speakers as well as counter-protests against anti-Israel protests.  In May alone, she was at the reading of the Megillat Shoah,  B’nai Brith’s “Unto Every Person There is a Name”, the Yom HaZikaron ceremony at the Rady Centre,  the JNF’s “Warriors’ Journeys” with two IDF reserve soldiers, and the Bridges for Peace event, “It’s about Time”, a ceremony in honour of Jewish Heritage Month at the Manitoba Legislature, the weekly rally in support of the hostages at Kenaston and Grant, and the Jewish Federation evening “Update from the Ground” with Sara Mali, Director General of JFC-UIA Canada in Israel.
Penny has also found time to pop up at one of the anti-Israel protests at City Hall  and the pro-Palestinian student encampment at the University of Manitoba  to take photos and report on them – as well as Ron East’s screening of his Oct. 7 massacre video at the University of  Winnipeg encampment.
I first met Penny seven years ago while on a JNF mission to Israel.  We found that we had similar views on a range of subjects.  On Tuesday, June 4, I was able to meet with Penny at the Asper Campus and gained an understanding of what inspired her devotion to Israel and the Jewish people.
Penny –  who grew up in Riverview and River Heights, attended the University of Manitoba and has an MA in English from there –  recalled that she “was awakened to the horrors of the Holocaust” at the age of 13 after seeing the 1959 movie, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
“That led me to an ongoing study of antisemitism and the Holocaust and my abiding interest in standing up for Jews and fighting antisemitism,” she said.  “Along the way, I have acquired a profound admiration for Judaism and Jews who are, to my mind, ‘the light unto the nations’ that they were commanded to be.”
At the age of 22, she married David Square (who passed away almost three years ago) and they moved to a plot of land near Tyndall, Manitoba – off the grid, so to speak.  Penny and David spent four years building their own log home, cutting down trees from their property for the logs.
“We pursued our vision of living a self-sufficient lifestyle,” she recounted, “living mortgage-free, cutting our own firewood, growing our own food, and creating a magical sanctuary with flower gardens, two Zen gardens, a vegetable garden and numerous forest trails for walking and cross country skiing.”
She concedes that “it was a difficult life maintaining gardens, lawns and trails and bringing in the winter firewood – as well as working as one-of-a-kind art furniture designers and builders, but it was also a life blessed by the natural beauty surrounding us and by the beauty we created in our home, our art, and our cherished refuge”.
After almost 20 years, the couple closed their custom furniture business. While David pursued a career as a journalist and novelist, Penny worked at the University of Manitoba in the bookstore and as a tutor.
(A few months ago, Penny sold her property in the country and moved into Winnipeg.)
It was in 2007 that Penny really began to immerse herself in the study of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.  It started when she signed up for Dr. Catherine Chatterley’s course on the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust.  (Chatterley specializes in the study of modern European history and the Holocaust and is the founder of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.)
“I spent some time as a grader for her course and as a copy editor for her journal, “Anti-Semitism Studies,” Penny said.  “David and I promoted her annual lectures.  David took photos and I published articles about them.”
The couple also joined Winnipeg Friends of Israel – founded by Yolanda Papini-Pollock – and Penny helped with some of Papini-Pollock’s initiatives.
Penny notes that her love for Israel and admiration for the Jewish people was greatly strengthened by that 2017 trip to the Jewish State.  “To witness the transformation of a land of malarial swamps and desert to the wonder of Israel’s astonishing natural beauty, its olive and almond groves, forested areas and vibrant and thriving kibbutzim,  moshavim and cities – as well as the joy, resilience and exuberance of the Israeli people was awe-inspiring – while our tour of Yad Vashem was overwhelming and intensely saddening.
“In this present moment, I believe that it is my moral responsibility to denounce the immoral and irrational hatred of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism fiercely, fearlessly and honestly and state my allegiance  with the righteous and ethical example of Israel and the Jewish people.  Moral courage and a commitment to the truth are what is required of us to stop the lies and prevent this radical evil that is Islamic Jihadism from prevailing over the good and the humane, democratic values.”

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