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Remembering a forgotten book: “Winnipeg Stories”

Irena Karshenbaum
“Winnipeg Stories”
published in 1974

By IRENA KARSHENBAUM We take for granted that books will always be available to buy, but in fact, many books go out of print. Personally, I prefer rare titles as they are the most interesting.

Over the years I have assembled a library of hard-to-find works, some of which I have found while traveling. In St. Julian’s, I bought Oliver Friggieri’s “Koranta and other Short Stories from Malta”. In Prague, I picked up “Franz Kafka and Prague”, “The Prague Golem: Jewish Stories of the Ghetto” and the beautifully illustrated “Jewish Fairytales and Legends”. (I love folk tales.) Years ago on the discount table at Chapters, I found Brazilian Moacyr Scliar’s “Max and the Cats”. (How can this great work be relegated to the discount table?) I was quite proud of finding “Chess” by Stefan Zweig, only to be questioned by my mother on how I did not know Stefan Zweig, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. There is “The Postman” by Chilean, Antonio Skarmeta, that I fell in love with after watching the movie based on the book; also “Moses Ascending”, by Trinidadian Sam Selvon, who spent his last years in Calgary and who was a guest speaker in one of my English classes 30 years ago. A year later, I read in the Calgary Herald that this great writer, who could not get published in his last years, had died suddenly. There is the painfully honest “Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada” by Cuban writer, Zoé Valdés. I almost felt my stomach bloat from the protagonist’s constant hunger.

My latest (embarrassing) habit is looking for rare books in free little libraries I encounter on my walks. In one of these, I found a copy of Kinky Friedman’s “The Mile High Club”. I didn’t know Kinky Friedman — a former Texas governor hopeful and writer of such memorable songs as “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” — was also a fiction writer? In reading the book – wowza, a breeze of non-politically-correct fresh air.

This leads me to “Winnipeg Stories”, a collection of short stories I fished out of a garbage bin in Calgary, thrown there by a book sorter who told me the book would never sell on account of it being so old.

Published in 1974 by Queenston House, the paperback edition with a red cover and a black ink drawing of a tree-lined street sold for $2.25 when it was released. The back cover reads, “Winnipeg Stories is an entertaining collection of short stories… From lively comedy to poignant reminiscence, from the Great Depression to the present day, here is a collection of 16 stories by Winnipeggers and former Winnipeggers.” Out of the 16 stories, four are by Jewish authors and these, in my biased opinion, are my favourite.

The collection opens with, “Courting in 1957,” by David Williamson and reads like a Leave-it-to-Beaver-saccharine-sweet tale about, you guessed it, dating in 1957. With this first piece, I thought that maybe “Winnipeg Stories” should have been left in the garbage bin. I persevered, though. The next story, “My Uncle’s Black-Iron Arm” was by Mort Forer — a Jewish sounding name, I wondered?

“My Uncle Solomon was given only second-class respect in our family because he was without learning.” Quickly I knew I was reading a story with a Jewish subject. The story seemed to pound with a metaphorical fist, recounting the tragic events of Uncle Solomon’s life that took him from the struggles of Czarist Russia to Winnipeg, where his life never changed for the better.

I sat silently thinking about Uncle Solomon and the bitter fate he was dealt.

Who was Mort Forer who wrote so powerfully about the Jewish immigrant experience? The collection lists biographies of all the contributors. Forer, who was originally from Brooklyn, lived for a time in Winnipeg and was “presently residing in Toronto. He is also the author of the well-acclaimed novel, ‘The Humback’ ”, published in 1969. A Google search of the author’s name brought up no Wikipedia page, no obituary or any other information, other than what was written in “Winnipg Stories” about him.

My initial impression of the collection – that I was reading some naive fluff, was turned on its ear. I continued with renewed interest.

In Miriam Waddington’s “Summer at Lonely Beach” the narrator remembers his (I think the narrator is a he, although I can’t be certain) childhood summers spent at Gimli. The mother has a friendship with an “emancipated” Miss Menzies, who stays at the aptly named Lonely Beach and who is “married, but did not care to live with her husband, a Mr. Warren. He had no sympathy or feeling for intellectual things and expected Miss Menzies to live with him on a farm in Alberta.” The narrator learns about the complexities of life by observing his mother’s friendship with Fanya, as Miss Menzies is named, listening to them speak Russian, reading Pushkin and comforting each other as women do who have been abandoned by their men.

The story is a glimpse into another time, into another place, that feels remarkably familiar. Or is it that all Russian Jewish homes are sort of similar?

Waddington, who was born Miriam Dworkin in Winnipeg and was part of the Montreal literary circle that included Irving Layton, had her story published eventually in its own collection, “Summer at Lonely Beach and Other Stories”, by Mosaic Press in 1982. The collection is now out of print.
(Ed. note: Irena, not being from Manitoba, is obviously unaware that the name “Lonely Beach” is a play on “Loni Beach” in Gimli.)

Ed Kleiman contributed “Westward O Pioneers!” about a womanizing English professor of the Catholic faith,who eventually meets his amorous match before they head west to an unspecified location. A Winnipeg Free Press obituary published September 7, 2013, states that Kleiman was born in the North End to Jewish parents from Russia and is described as “one of Canada’s best short story writers.” He was the author of “The Immortals” (1980), “A New-Found Ecstasy” (1988) and “The World Beaters” (1998), all of which are now out of print.

Author of “Raisins and Almonds” and “The Tree of Life”, both of which are out of print, Fredelle Burser Maynard in “That Sensual Music” writes poignantly about her desperate attempts at dating, set in stark contrast to the dating successes of her older sister, Celia.

Burser Maynard’s writing sizzles with subtle hints of eroticism: “She was applying scarlet fingernail polish that day, painting each nail with long sure strokes, then holding out each hand, fingers spread, to study the effect. “No problem,” she said. “There’s a list of boys who’ve already asked somebody, right? So you take out your yearbook, cross out those names, pick who you want from the ones that are left. And you vamp that one.””

Who was Joan Parr, whose name appears as editor on the cover of “Winnipeg Stories”? Her obituary — she passed away on November 5, 2001 — states she grew up in the Icelandic community of Winnipeg’s West End, married, raised two daughters and, in 1974, started Queenston House Publishing, “which she put her heart and soul into and as a result was awarded the Woman of the Year in Arts in 1981. Joan helped to launch the careers of many Manitoba writers through her work in publishing.”

If we remember and write about great people who are no longer with us, why can’t we write about books that are no longer in print? It is the stories in these lost works that give voice to the forgotten, yet great writers, who wrote to be read, and probably never expected to disappear with time.

Irena Karshenbaum writes in Calgary .

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Features

A Positive Outlook for Communities as the Canadian iGaming Industry Prepares for a Banner Year

Since the implementation of Bill C-227, the Gaming Control Act in 2021, Canada’s online gambling scene has undergone a dramatic transformation. Legalization has unlocked heaps of previously untapped potential and paved the way for a banner year for the Canadian iGaming industry. This June, the Canadian Gambling Summit for 2024 promises an optimistic journey through the exciting prospects unfolding for players, operators, and the Canadian economy as a whole.

The Growth of Canadian iGaming has Sparked Optimism

Gone are the days of ambiguity and uncertainty; a clear legal framework has provided a healthy foundation for stability and growth. This newfound confidence has unlocked the immense potential of the Canadian iGaming market, attracting established operators and nurturing innovative local talent.

Players have already been enjoying the arrival of a regulated environment, which offers enhanced security and responsible gaming measures. Large numbers of gamblers can now play at a casino online for real money that operates on Canadian soil, much to the benefit of the local economy.

Many of the best-rated platforms available today allow Canadian players to engage with sites that offer a wide range of modern payment methods, reliable games and lucrative bonuses with exceptionally efficient payout speeds. The introduction of new features on these sites also gives players peace of mind that their safety is being prioritized.

The positive momentum continues to build as Canadian operators prepare for the Canadian Gambling Summit, which will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto from the 18th to the 20th of June, 2024. Anticipation for the event has created ripples of excitement throughout the local industry and bolstered a shared belief that 2024 will be a landmark year for the industry as a whole.

When Industries Thrive, Communities Flourish: Exploring the Positive Impacts of Financial Success

A healthy industry isn’t just good for its bottom line; it can be a powerful mechanism for positive change within local economies and communities. When any local industry experiences a period of financial growth and stability, the ripples of its success extend far beyond boardrooms and factories. These benefits reach individuals and families and can uplift the very fabric of local life. Here’s how the thriving iGaming industry is already benefiting many communities in and around Canada:

Job Creation and Increased Spending

When industries are able to grow and expand, this success often translates into more employment opportunities, higher wages and improved job security for residents. This increased income can then lead to greater spending power which boosts a range of local businesses like restaurants, shops, service providers and entertainment venues. This creates a virtuous cycle, as local businesses benefiting from increased consumer spending can themselves hire more employees, further strengthening the local economy.

Infrastructure Development and Public Services

A financially secure industry often means increased tax revenue for local governments. This influx allows for investments in vital infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, public transportation and, perhaps most importantly, schools. Additionally, it strengthens funding for essential public services such as healthcare, emergency response and social programs, leading to a higher quality of life for all Canadian residents.

Community Investment and Philanthropy

Many successful industries will often choose to reinvest in the communities that support them. Recently, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg stated that the surplus money they currently hold will be used in various ways that will ultimately benefit local communities in some way. Often, community investments will go beyond financial support and foster a lasting sense of pride, collaboration and shared success between an industry and its community.

Education and Skills Development

Recognizing the need for a skilled workforce to sustain its success, a thriving industry will generally partner with educational institutions to develop targeted training programs and internships. This gives local residents the skills and qualifications needed to secure future jobs within the industry, closing the skills gap and creating a pipeline of talent for future growth.

Attracting New Businesses and Talent

The positive buzz surrounding a successful industry can attract new businesses and talent to the area. This diversification is likely to strengthen the local economy and spark new innovation. In addition, increased numbers of skilled professionals raises the overall talent pool for other industries, greatly benefiting all businesses in the local area.

Since the implementation of Bill C-227, the Gaming Control Act in 2021, Canada’s online gambling scene has undergone a dramatic transformation. Legalization has unlocked heaps of previously untapped potential and paved the way for a banner year for the Canadian iGaming industry. This June, the Canadian Gambling Summit for 2024 promises an optimistic journey through the exciting prospects unfolding for players, operators, and the Canadian economy as a whole.

The Growth of Canadian iGaming has Sparked Optimism

Gone are the days of ambiguity and uncertainty; a clear legal framework has provided a healthy foundation for stability and growth. This newfound confidence has unlocked the immense potential of the Canadian iGaming market, attracting established operators and nurturing innovative local talent.

Players have already been enjoying the arrival of a regulated environment, which offers enhanced security and responsible gaming measures. Large numbers of gamblers can now play at a casino online for real money that operates on Canadian soil, much to the benefit of the local economy.

Many of the best-rated platforms available today allow Canadian players to engage with sites that offer a wide range of modern payment methods, reliable games and lucrative bonuses with exceptionally efficient payout speeds. The introduction of new features on these sites also gives players peace of mind that their safety is being prioritized.

The positive momentum continues to build as Canadian operators prepare for the Canadian Gambling Summit, which will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto from the 18th to the 20th of June, 2024. Anticipation for the event has created ripples of excitement throughout the local industry and bolstered a shared belief that 2024 will be a landmark year for the industry as a whole.

When Industries Thrive, Communities Flourish: Exploring the Positive Impacts of Financial Success

A healthy industry isn’t just good for its bottom line; it can be a powerful mechanism for positive change within local economies and communities. When any local industry experiences a period of financial growth and stability, the ripples of its success extend far beyond boardrooms and factories. These benefits reach individuals and families and can uplift the very fabric of local life. Here’s how the thriving iGaming industry is already benefiting many communities in and around Canada:

Job Creation and Increased Spending

When industries are able to grow and expand, this success often translates into more employment opportunities, higher wages and improved job security for residents. This increased income can then lead to greater spending power which boosts a range of local businesses like restaurants, shops, service providers and entertainment venues. This creates a virtuous cycle, as local businesses benefiting from increased consumer spending can themselves hire more employees, further strengthening the local economy.

Infrastructure Development and Public Services

A financially secure industry often means increased tax revenue for local governments. This influx allows for investments in vital infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, public transportation and, perhaps most importantly, schools. Additionally, it strengthens funding for essential public services such as healthcare, emergency response and social programs, leading to a higher quality of life for all Canadian residents.

Community Investment and Philanthropy

Many successful industries will often choose to reinvest in the communities that support them. Recently, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg stated that the surplus money they currently hold will be used in various ways that will ultimately benefit local communities in some way. Often, community investments will go beyond financial support and foster a lasting sense of pride, collaboration and shared success between an industry and its community.

Education and Skills Development

Recognizing the need for a skilled workforce to sustain its success, a thriving industry will generally partner with educational institutions to develop targeted training programs and internships. This gives local residents the skills and qualifications needed to secure future jobs within the industry, closing the skills gap and creating a pipeline of talent for future growth.

Attracting New Businesses and Talent

The positive buzz surrounding a successful industry can attract new businesses and talent to the area. This diversification is likely to strengthen the local economy and spark new innovation. In addition, increased numbers of skilled professionals raises the overall talent pool for other industries, greatly benefiting all businesses in the local area.

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Features

Life in Israel four months after October seventh

Orly & Solly Dreman

By ORLY DREMAN

(Special to the JP&N) Feb. 1, 2024

In every news broadcast that we hear that “The IDF spokesman is permitted to announce”… then every person in Israel sits down, holds their breath and waits to hear the names of the soldiers fallen in action that day. This causes deep sadness to every family in Israel. For example, I found out the son of my T.V technician was killed and my handyman’s son was seriously injured. Death in Israel is so personal.

Our synagogue recently mourned twenty seven year old Inbar Heiman who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music nature party on October seventh and was murdered in captivity. She was a gifted young woman filled with love and compassion. She was a creative artist that was supposed to enter her senior year at university this academic year. We had prayed and wished that she would return until her family received the tragic news of her death.

When we made personal medical visits to the Hadassah hospital, we often heard helicopters overhead bringing in wounded soldiers from Gaza. In the surgery department we saw a reserve soldier being released after six weeks in the hospital. His wife and newborn baby were with him. The department had a touching farewell gathering with Israeli flags, music and cakes. This is how every soldier who leaves the hospital is treated. More than fourteen thousand civilians and soldiers were hospitalized since October seventh with most of the injuries being in the hands and legs, burns, head and eye injuries.

We seldom are in the mood to go to a restaurant these days, but if we do, such outings are accompanied by guilt feelings. Is it right to go when our people are suffering?- the hostages are starving. We all wear the metal disc that says “Bring Them Home now- Our hearts are captured in Gaza”. They occupy our thoughts pervasively. Some of the hostages have suffered untreated gunshot wounds and the hygiene conditions are poor, many of them not showering for four months, sitting thirty meters under the ground in dark tunnels, with no electricity and suffering from extreme malnutrition. Some of them have diseases like Celiac, Asthma, Colitis, Diabetes, Fibromialgia, heart diseases and allergies. They are getting no medications and time is running out for them. Twenty five of them have already perished. What sort of civil society will we be if we abandon them?

Whole families are recruited for combat duty in different areas of the country. It might be a brother and a sister fighting in Gaza or a father in Judea and Samaria while another brother is fighting on the Lebanese border. If you ask soldiers who have lost their siblings in combat if they wish to go back to fight after the shiva, they do not hesitate, even though it is so hard on the parents. This demonstrates the dedication of Israeli citizens and their wish to complete the task of exterminating the Hamas, while at the same time knowing their family member did not die in vain. The grief is intergenerational and we are even acquainted with grandparents whose grandchildren are in combat and they are given the opportunity to go to workshops that help them with their anxiety.

In a Knesset Committee it was recently reported That many survivors from the Nova party have taken their own lives. Others continue to experience the trauma of the horrific events. They cannot sleep nor eat. Many were sexually abused and even though they were not murdered they continue to experience the pain- the sights, voices- cries for help and the fear. They are in a sense also fighters who awaken to a new existence everyday and continue to fight for their existence.

At the military cemeteries there is one funeral process after another and the families are asked to leave the site to make room to prepare for the next funeral. Wounded soldiers arrive in ambulances, on hospital beds or wheelchairs in order to eulogize their fallen comrades.

The reservists who return home after months of combat are having troubles adjusting because this war, like the War of Independence, is very meaningful. It is the most justified war our homeland has encountered. Upon their return there is a big downfall in physical and mental energy. A stranger cannot understand this. These soldiers were disconnected from normal civilian routine for a long time and they had difficult and intimate experiences with their combat mates. They have lost friends and did not have time to mourn. They must release the stress they were exposed to. They are back in body but not always in spirit. They also might be recruited again in the near future to the southern or the northern front, the war is not over. Many men who were injured worry about their future fertility and sexual functioning.

They entertain such existential thoughts as would it be better that I am killed in action before I have children and leave no descendants, or losing my life and leaving behind orphans. Dozens of children remain orphaned from both parents. They also have witnessed their family members being murdered and their homes burned down. Years ago, Solly treated and did a follow up on a family where both parents were murdered in a terrorist attack. Even though the children were adopted by loving relatives they suffered from survivor guilt and this expressed itself in such phenomena as dropping out of school, turning into juvenile delinquents and having trouble in intimate relations.

The evacuees from the south and the north are dispersed in hundreds of hotels in the center of the country. Hence, they have no permanent home, have no privacy and many have no work, nothing to do for months on end and experience feelings of powerlessness. Some pupils are not capable of returning to their temporary schools because of anxieties, depression and fear. Some teenagers have turned to drugs and alcohol which increases violence and vandalism. For them school is experienced as a waste of time. Their friends were murdered, some still have relatives in captivity and everything is falling apart. They also experience sleep disruptions and are in no mood to study. For them life is a living hell. Some families are moved from city to city several times. The children do not have friends in the new locations and they feel lonely and express a lack of social support.

In the realm of parenting many mothers even those who were NOT directly exposed to the dramatic events reported that their children cry more (eighty three percent). Others say the children have difficulties sleeping (seventy three percent), have concentration problems (fifty four percent) and many children are developing eating disorders. In sixty percent the anxiety of the children is so high it hurts functioning. For example, they are often afraid to leave the house. Other disturbances were reported such as bed-wetting, insisting on sleeping with their parents and acts of anger and aggression.

We, as Israelis are also concerned with our Jewish brethren who are experiencing thousands of antisemitic incidents, higher than the number of all incidents in the last decade. There are many Jews in the diaspora who are considering emigration to Israel after experiencing antisemitic events such as seeing their synagogue, Hebrew school, kosher butcher and other Jewish businesses being stoned and burned. For them Israel is their safest haven.

On a more optimistic note the Jewish people have prevailed over thousands of years despite terrible events. In spite of the uncertainty not everything is lost. We are united and strong. The soldiers are full of motivation and good values. I firmly believe that if we are patient and persist, the Jewish people and the state of Israel will prevail.

Orly Dreman is a 10th generation Israeli. Her cousin, Ruvi Rivlin, was a former president of Israel. Orly’s father was a diplomat who served both in North America and in Europe.
By profession Orly is an English teacher. She has dealt with children suffering from ADD.
Since childhood, Orly has been involved in voluntary work with the disabled, the challenged, new immigrants, the elderly and others. 

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Features

Popularity of Online Casino Games in Canada

In recent years, the popularity of online casino games in Canada has surged, captivating the attention of a diverse audience seeking thrilling entertainment. With the convenience of accessing these games from the comfort of home, Canadians are exploring the vast world of virtual casinos that offer an extensive array of gaming options.

Diverse Selection of Casino Games:

One of the key factors contributing to the widespread appeal of online casino games in Canada is the vast selection available. There are hundreds of top casino games online, covering every genre imaginable. From classic table games like poker and blackjack to immersive slot machines with captivating themes, Canadian players have a plethora of options to choose from.

The Rise of Online Slots:

Among the various casino games, online slots have witnessed a significant surge in popularity. The ease of gameplay and the potential for substantial payouts make slots a preferred choice for both seasoned players and newcomers. With themes ranging from ancient civilisations to popular movies and TV shows, online slots offer a diverse and engaging experience for players of all preferences.

Convenience and Accessibility:

The accessibility of online casino games is a key driver behind their growing popularity in Canada. Players no longer need to travel to a physical casino to experience the thrill of gambling. Instead, they can enjoy their favourite games with just a few clicks on their computer or mobile device. This convenience has opened up the world of online gambling to a broader audience, attracting both seasoned gamblers and those trying their luck for the first time.

Technology Advancements:

Advancements in technology have played a pivotal role in enhancing the online casino gaming experience. High-quality graphics, realistic sound effects, and seamless gameplay contribute to an immersive environment that mirrors the excitement of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Additionally, the integration of live dealer games brings an authentic touch to online gaming, allowing players to interact with real dealers in real-time.

Regulatory Environment:

The regulatory environment in Canada has also contributed to the popularity of online casino games. While each province has its own regulations, the overall legal framework allows for a thriving online gambling industry. This has given rise to reputable online casinos that prioritise player safety and adhere to strict industry standards, ensuring a fair and secure gaming environment.

Social Aspect and Community Engagement:

Online casinos in Canada are not just about individual gameplay; they also provide a platform for social interaction. Many online casinos feature chat rooms and community forums where players can connect, share experiences, and discuss strategies. This sense of community adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the gaming experience, making online casinos a social activity beyond the solitary pursuit of winning.

The popularity of online casino games in Canada is undoubtedly on the rise, driven by a combination of diverse gaming options, convenience, technological advancements, and a favourable regulatory environment. With a wide array of top casino games available at their fingertips, Canadians can indulge in the excitement of gambling from the comfort of their homes. As the online casino industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that virtual gaming is here to stay and will likely continue to captivate audiences across the country.

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