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Friday, April 18, 2014

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Yiddish books rescued

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My father, Jack Dlusy, born in Poland in 1905, immigrated to Canada at the age of 25. He arrived with $10 in his pocket. He always lived in Montreal. Like his father, he was a watchmaker. He found employment, but soon opened a store in the French-speaking Mile End district of Montreal. He was not a religious man, but Judaism was important to him. Yiddish was his first language, and his library consisted of many Yiddish and some Hebrew books. He was a benefactor of the authors, as is evidenced by the autographs and messages on many of the flyleaves.

My father retired at a young age, because, as owner of a jewelry store, he had been held up at gunpoint several times. After retiring, he sometimes seemed depressed. During one of our conversations, he said to me sadly, “Some day my books will all be lying in a lane.” I promised him then that this would not happen. When my father passed away, my husband and I moved the books to our home. Now in our 70s, we are downsizing. My father’s treasures were an issue to be considered. A few years ago, we heard of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. It rescues Yiddish and other modern Jewish books and opens up their contents to the world.

This seemed to be the place that would serve as a good home for my father’s books. There are zammlers (collectors) in several cities. We contacted a collector who lives in Toronto, and he arrived recently to take the books to the centre. It was a pleasure knowing they would go where they are valued, but seeing him drive away with them was somewhat traumatic! The centre serves a most worthy function in the preservation of our Yiddish culture. Kol hakavod!

Jocelyn Dlusy Cooper

Peterborough, Ont.

 

Sacré-Coeur Hospital doctors saved son’s life

I am proud to be a Quebecer, a Canadian and a taxpayer. In August, my son was thrown from his bike in the Lower Laurentians and incurred a traumatic life-threatening brain injury. The ambulance fortunately brought him to the Sacré-Coeur Hospital trauma unit. He was in the intensive care unit (ICU), the intermediate ICU and on the ward for 48 days. The highly skilled, compassionate, devoted medical teams under the direction of Dr. Ronald Denis saved his life. The pressures on the physicians are so stressful, dealing with life and death issues hourly, that they can only bear one-week-at-a-time rotations. On the 49th day, a transport van was there to take my son to boot camp, the Montreal Rehabilitation Centre, to begin his new journey to a full recovery. There is a lot of criticism of our medical system. It is not perfect, but without medicare, the cost of this world-class care could bankrupt any middle-class family. We are so fortunate to live in this wonderful country. Paying taxes is a great privilege!

Rosalind Goodman

Montreal

 

Jews at Baron Byng in 1960s

I was very pleased to see the article “Baron Byng legacy to be preserved” (Oct. 6), about the planned Baron Byng High School Hall of Honour and Museum. I have a couple of small quibbles about the article, though. First, I was surprised to see that actor William Shatner, who attended the school, wasn’t mentioned, and second, the article left the impression that there were few Jews at the school in the 1960s. Although there were fewer then, we still made up a very large portion of the school population. Many of us did quite well, too, although I don’t know of anyone who became famous from those years. 

Marsha (Zylberlicht) Kaiserman

Ottawa

Class of ’67

 

Descendants of Jews from Safed

For the past three years, I have been completing a screenplay for a feature documentary film presenting an examination of generations of Jewish history, tradition, architecture and culture in the city of Safed, Israel. I am looking for people who are either descendants of Jews from Safed or for whom Safed, the centre of Jewish culture, is a collective value and memory they wish to preserve and document for future generations.

Nili Portugali

London, England

Telephone: 97236415615

www.niiprtugali.com

 

United Bakers almost 100 years old

United Bakers Dairy Restaurant is about to enter its 100th year of continuous operation in Toronto. We recognize that the restaurant enjoys a double identity as a place to eat and a place to meet, and that our story is interwoven with hundreds of other stories that involve individuals, families, clubs, chapters, groups, organizations, movements and – may we say it? – the ongoing story of Jewish Toronto. We’ve been collecting anecdotes and reminiscences from friends and patrons. Soon we’ll bring them all together and, naturally, we don’t want to miss any good stories that might not yet have been shared. Hence, we are making a public invitation to any who might have a story or memory of some connection with United Bakers, either back to the decades on Spadina Avenue or more currently at Lawrence Plaza. If you have a reminiscence you’d like to share, please visit our website at www.unitedbakers.ca and click on the 100 years tab. Or e-mail us at ub100years@gmail.com. Submissions should not exceed 100 words and may be used at the sole discretion of United Bakers.

Philip Ladovsky

Toronto

 

The songs came from Memphis

I enjoyed your article about the Broadway show Memphis (“Bon Jovi founder invites ‘mishpachah’ to his play,” Nov. 24). There’s one factual error in the story. The songs Hold On I’m Comin’, Knock on Wood and In the Midnight Hour were not Motown classics but recorded on the Stax label in Memphis, Tenn. Hold On I’m Comin’ was written by the songwriting duo Isaac Hayes and David Porter. Eddie Lee Floyd wrote Knock on Wood. Wilson Pickett penned In the Midnight Hour. It all came from Memphis!

Joe Birch 

Memphis, Tenn.

 

 

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