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New thriller by Israeli-Canadian Herschy Katz combines love of hockey with intrigue behind the Iron Curtain in 1972

left: author Herschy Katz
cover of “The Ninth Terrorist”

By BERNIE BELLAN In 2019 I wrote a review of a book titled “The Clarinetist”. It had been sent to me by an expatriate Canadian who had moved to Israel in 1984 by the name of Herschel Katz.
As I noted in that review, the book was quite good for a first-time author. In it we were introduced to a young Montreal high school student by the name of Danny Kahn who ends up enmeshed in an intriguing situation having to do with the Montreal father of his girlfriend.

The father, it turns out, is tied in with some very shady characters and, one thing leading to another, Danny becomes involved in some hair-raising adventures that take him from Montreal to New York, and then Israel.
Katz had become a writer, he noted on the book jacket, because “Several years ago, the author worked as a part time book reviewer, then decided to try writing his own story.”
Now, two years later, Katz has come up with another mystery novel, again featuring Daniel Khan (who, I guess, has graduated from being called “Danny”). By this time Daniel has progressed to becoming a 22-year old medical student at McGill, also a writer for the McGill student newspaper. The book is titled “The Ninth Terrorist” and, after reading it, I sent Katz a note saying he had the makings of another Daniel Silva, who is one of the world’s most popular mystery writers and who has also created a recurrent hero by the name of Gabriel Allon.

As good as “The Clarinetist” was for a first-time effort, “The Ninth Terrorist” shows terrific improvement on Katz’s part in terms of plot structuring and dialogue. The book actually blends three different plots into one overarching story, which has to do with nefarious activities involving East Bloc bad guys in the 1970s – when the Soviet Union was still very much a Communist dictatorship and closely aligned with Palestinian terrorist organizations .
The story begins with the legendary “Summit Series” between Canada and the USSR in 1972, in which a team composed of Canada’s best professional hockey players from the NHL faced off against the powerful Soviet team in an eight-game series.
I had forgotten though, that at the same time as that series was being played, the Munich Olympics were also being staged and, anyone who was around then will no doubt recall how horrified we all were at the tragic murder of 11 Israeli athletes by members of the terrorist group known as “Black September”.
Into that backdrop of high drama Katz inserts Daniel Khan, who continues to display the ability as a clever agent that he first demonstrated in “The Clarinetist”. This time, however, Daniel is enmeshed in a series of events in which he has to play multiple roles, all the time fully aware that one slip-up could lead to his arrest and imprisonment in the Soviet Union.

Katz is clearly a great hockey fan and his depictions of the action during games are quite vivid. You don’t have to be a sports fan at all in order to enjoy the book though, as hockey merely serves as the excuse for Daniel to be able to go to the Soviet Union as a reporter. Still, setting so much of the action in venues that would resonate with Canadian sports fans makes “The Ninth Terrorist” all the more appealing.
I would note, too, that in my review of “The Clarinetist” I was somewhat critical of the dialogue in that book, writing that Katz could have used help in creating some more authentic sounding conversations between characters. This time around, the dialogue is much improved and sparkles with often very clever exchanges.
Turning Khan into a reporter is an especially credible device, as reporters have often served as agents for various intelligence services. The fact that Khan is a Canadian Jewish reporter who can easily substantiate his wanting to go to the Soviet Union (and who also speaks German, it turns out) certainly adds plausibility to his becoming an agent for not just one intelligence agency, but several, all of which are aware just how useful he can be to them.

One aspect of “The Ninth Terrorist”, however, that seems drawn straight out of the 1960s “Mission Impossible” television series (and later, the movies as well), is the use of facial disguises. Having a number of different characters put on masks that are so lifelike they can get you through any number of checkpoints is something that still remains a largely fictitious plot device – even at a time when 3D print technology has certainly made it more feasible.
Still, the ruse that Daniel Khan must employ in going back to the Soviet Union a second time – four months after the first Canada-Soviet series, certainly adds to the complexity – and intrigue of what is already a terrific spy novel. In fact, not only must he adopt a disguise at various times, he has to help others disguise themselves. At times it all becomes a little dizzying trying to remember just who it is that not only Daniel is pretending to be, but others as well.
Into this already fairly complicated plot Katz inserts a quite clever subplot having to do with someone who purportedly assisted the members of Black September when they went about kidnapping the 11 Israeli athletes in 1972. The individual, who is the “ninth terrorist” referred to in the title, turns out to be an extremely dangerous agent and Katz certainly makes this character come alive.

With action aplenty and very creative plotting, “The Ninth Terrorist” is an excellent thriller. When one considers that both “The Clarinetist” and “The Ninth Terrorist” have been self-published by Herschy Katz, one wonders how long it will be before he’s approached by a major publisher with a juicy offer to continue producing more in what could become a Daniel Khan series.
I asked Herschy how one could buy “The Ninth Terrorist”. (He had sent it to me as a pdf.) He replied that “My book is available directly from Pomeranz Booksellers in Jerusalem. www.Pomeranzbooks.com. My previous book, “The Clarinetist”, is also available through them.”
Both “The Clarinetist” and “The Ninth Terrorist” are now available on Amazon – Kindle for $9.99 CDN.
Then Herschy sent me another quite interesting tidbit of information after I told him that I was going to print an accompanying article, also about someone who entered into some subterfuge in the Soviet Union (in his case, smuggling tallisim and sidurim), during a hockey tournament. (See my story about Sherry Bassin on the opposite page.)
After I wrote Herschy about Sherry Bassin’s escapade, he sent me this note:
Dear Bernie,
A personal note about me you may want to add to your book review. My late father, Boris Katz, z”l, escaped Stalin in 1924 and came to Montreal as a young man. He and his nephew founded a business making men’s clothes, which became quite successful. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, he would send packages of clothes to his family back in the USSR. Knowing how the Russian customs inspectors would steal the contents, he would pack extra jeans and put some American dollars inside the box, which, of course, were stolen. However, inside the cuffs and collars of the clothes that weren’t stolen, he sewed large amounts of cash, which his family ended up getting.
This tidbit I incorporated into my story, “The Ninth Terrorist”.
Herschy

I enjoy helping to publicize Jewish writers (in particular, writers from Israel) whose works might not otherwise receive much publicity because they’re self-published. In Herschy Katz’s case, providing a boost to a former Canadian who made aliyah 37 years ago, but who’s also remained a huge hockey fan, should be ample reason for some readers to want to proceed to buy “The Ninth Terrorist”. Herschy even sets some of the action in Winnipeg – in case you needed any more cajoling!

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Connecting the Dots: Ari Posner- Meet Ari Posner

Ari Z. Posner, son of Barry and Bebe on the left and Ari P. Posner, son of Gerry and Sherna with the cap on the right

By GERRY POSNER I suppose we are not the only family to have inter-related connections. At least, not in the old days of the shtetl. What I do know is that finding my way through these family relationships took me years to figure out and understand. Recently, the dots got connected once again.

It all started (at least as far back as I can go) when around 1905, one Isaac Posner married one Kayla Shulman. They were living at that time in the same shtetl or at least close to the same shtetl of what was then known as Propoisk (now Slavgorod) in present day Belarus. From this marriage emerged three children: a daughter, Lillian Posner – later Romalis;l a son, Samuel L. Posner; and another son, Solomon Posner. That was simple enough. As it turned out, Issac Posner was an older brother of my grandfather, Herman Posner. Isaac’s wife, Kayla, was the sister of my other grandfather, Harry Shulman. Even that was not terribly complicated. In short, my father’s uncle Issac, married my mother’s aunt Kayla. That marriage linked the Posners to the Shulmans in Round 1.

When Isaac and Kayla’s kids married, a son, Sol, married a woman from Iowa City Iowa, named Rhea Markovitz. Not long after, in December, 1937 a son of Herman Posner (my grandfather) – Samuel R. Posner, (my father), married a woman named Rhea Shulman ( my mother) also from Iowa City, Iowa. She was a daughter to Harry and Anna Shulman of Iowa City. Thus, in Iowa City there were two first cousins – Rhea Shulman and Rhea Markovitz, born less than a year apart and both of whom later married men from Winnipeg, both with the initials SP – one Sol Posner and one Sam Posner. Of course, the marriage of my mother, a Shulman, to my father, a Posner, created Round 2 of the Posners and the Shulmans joining together. Are you still with me?

When, in the course of time, Sol and Rhea and Sam and Rhea began to have children, they created a relationship for their children in what might be considered by some to be almost incestuous. Rhea and Sol had two sons, Barry and Craig (of blessed memory), both of whom were and are likely still known to many readers to this day. My parents had Linda, my brother Michael, and me. We were, and still remain, cousins to Barry to this day. I was, and still am related to Barry and Craig in no less than three ways. Why? First of all, Barry’s father Sol was a first cousin to my father Sam. Secondly, Barry’s father was a first cousin to my mother Rhea. Thirdly, Barry’s mother Rhea was a first cousin to my mother Rhea. So the ties are deep. Confusing as well.

Of course, what solidified these roots even further was the fact that Sam and Rhea, my parents, and Sol and Rhea, Barry and Craig’s parents, all lived for the rest of their lives in Winnipeg. So, there were two S. Posners – three in fact, as Sol had a brother, Samuel L., a pharmacist. But, let’s not get sidetracked. The two Rheas were very close and I suspect there had to be much confusion about these two women with the same name and almost the same age. Moreover, the two families shared similar experiences each summer. That was because Rhea Posner – Barry and Craig’s mother, took her kids to Iowa City to spend part of the holidays with her parents, while my mother – Rhea, would also take my siblings and me to visit her parents in Iowa City, Iowa. My cousin Craig and I were the same age (born one month apart ) and hence spent much time together, both in Winnipeg and Iowa City. I never could quite get the picture as to why I saw him in both locations. All I knew was that he was my cousin.

Well, we all grew up with this similar history and genetic connections. When Barry married the former Bebe Melmed, three kids followed. The eldest son was Ari Z. Posner, who grew up in Montreal – where Barry and Bebe lived. When I married Sherna Bernbaum, we also had three kids, the eldest of whom was Ari P. Posner. The fact that these boys had the same name – Ari, was more of a fluke as they were not named for the same person. Oddly, (or maybe not given the past history) Ari Z’s middle name is Zvi, the same name as my son, only in the case of my son, Zvi is his Hebrew middle name. Ari Z. is about 5 years older than Ari P. That difference is about the age difference between Barry and me.

Recently, and to my delight, my son Ari had a good reason to go to L.A. to receive a music award and, to my greater delight, he expressed an interest in seeing the other Ari, whom he had never met. L.A. is where the other Ari Posner resides. As it turns out, their names were not the only dot that connected them. Both have made a career in the arts, Ari Z has done it in writing, creating and producing for TV primarily – and has been very successful in his field. Ari P. is a composer. He is not that far removed from the other Ari since he often writes music for TV in the US and Canada.

I think of grandfather Herman Posner and his brother Isaac. Would they not be amazed at this connection? Or better yet, what would my great-grandfather Shmerya and wife Yudasha have to say about two of their descendants now – approximately 170 years after their births, meeting and reinforcing the family ties. As much as so much has changed, this little bit of Posner history is the same.

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” (https://www.ovrimtocanada.com/ovrim-en) has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to jewishpostandnews.ca Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website, https://www.ovrimtocanada.com/, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” (https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-787914#google_vignette) That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

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Features

Top-rated games you’ll find at online casinos

Online casinos serve as platforms where you can engage in games with monetary stakes for a chance to win real cash prizes. With many of these platforms accepting cryptocurrencies, this exciting activity has become popular amongst traders looking to earn more Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) to trade.
The array of games available at online casinos is extensive, offering a wide variety to choose from. Each game offers a unique experience that makes it stand out among thousands of titles. To give you an idea of what kinds of games await you, check out these three examples:
Video slots with multiplier features
The slot game category has the most variety out of all types of games offered at Bitcoin casino Canada. There are easily more than 1000 of them in a given platform and each one offers a list of features like multipliers, sticky wilds, and expanding bonuses. There are other features you can enjoy but some of them are unique to games from a specific software provider.
What you should look for is any slot game with multipliers. This feature boosts how much you win per hit in a slot game and the amount can reach up to the game’s max payout. It is also the most versatile feature because it can work in tandem with almost any other slot game mechanic. Thus, your experience playing slot games with multipliers will always feel rewarding.
Variations of poker table games
Poker stands out for its strategic depth. With simple rules, this game offers single-player variations available at all Bitcoin casinos. If you can’t remember the winning hand combinations, then you may use references provided by the game in the description. Most of these poker games tell you what kind of hand you have so there’s no need to memorise any winning combinations.
In single-player poker games, players compete against the house, with different versions featuring varying winning conditions. Some require players to bet on their hand to win by having the best combination on the table. Others are played like slot games where you win by forming any winning hand but the payout is determined by the combination you make.
Playing any kind of poker game is fun to play to win Bitcoin prizes. Multiplayer poker is difficult to win unless you’re skilled at bluffing so stick to single-player ones to have more chances to win.
European roulette with a twist
European roulette has been a beloved classic among gamblers throughout history. It can be more fun now with new technology that is possible at online casinos. Some software providers have introduced innovative features, such as multipliers, to make payouts more exciting. Others revolutionise the classic format by adding another ball or a new game mode as a bonus feature.
The most creative iteration of the classic European roulette can be found at the top Bitcoin casino operating in Canada. Explore this unique iteration and dive into the action using crypto for added convenience and security.
Discover more games at your favourite online casino
All of these games can be found in almost every online casino. Just choose whichever has the best offering or feel the most convenient to use then explore their other options. From classic card games to cutting-edge slot games, they each offer unique experiences from one another. Take your time to find the perfect platform that offers a whole package of excitement and convenience, giving you a worthwhile journey to win crypto in the most entertaining way possible.

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