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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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Book spotlights Yiddish women writers

Tags: Arts

Editor Frieda Forman and translators Sylvia Lustgarten and Sam Blatt are slated to give “dramatic readings” at an upcoming book launch for The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers, a book (published in 2013) that features stories by 13 Yiddish women writers about their youth in Europe, Canada and America.

“We see women’s lives open up in a way that we’ve never seen before,” said editor Forman about the book’s various short stories, novel excerpts, memoirs and personal essays, all written originally in Yiddish.

Recurrent themes include family life during a period of tumultuous change, participation in social and political movements, sexual awakening and the longing for independence, education and creative expression.

Marking International Women’s Day, the launch is sponsored by the United Jewish People’s Order, Toronto. Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Ave., Sunday March 2, 1 p.m. Free admission. 416-789-5502.

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Friends of Yiddish: Janie Respitz performs Itzik Manger and His Megillah, a one-woman show hosted by the Friends of Yiddish for its “Purim Freylekhs.” Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave. (between Sheppard and Finch). Sunday March 9, 2 p.m. Refreshments, door prizes. FOY Members free, guests $10. RSVP by March 5 to 416-458-1440 or

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Names in the News: Perhaps you caught the first episode of the new cable-TV series 24 Hour Rental that began airing last week on Super Channel. It’s “a bizarre dark comedy, a satire poking fun at all the violence and crazy things that go on on TV and movies,” according to Ari Posner, who composes the background music for the show.

Originally from Winnipeg, the Juno-award-winning composer moved to Toronto in 1989 to study music at York University. He has been here ever since, creating scores for countless films and TV shows. Recently he and writing partner Amin Bhatia have been scoring the hit police drama Flashpoint.

His most challenging assignment? It might have been My Awkward Sexual Adventure, a romantic comedy that screened at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival: “It had a lot of off-colour scenes in it, so figuring out a way to do music for it was often very tricky.” But in general, “It’s often whatever you’re facing at the moment. Any new project is a blank slate. You’re very often scratching your head at the beginning and saying ‘How am I going to do this?’”

Posner and his wife have “lots of family roots” in Toronto, so he says he’s not considering a move to Los Angeles. However, several years ago he and Bhatia were nominated for an Emmy Award and went to the ceremony. “I got a taste of the scene there  – it was very tempting.”

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Names in the News II: Rap artist D-Sisive’s latest music video Friend of Mine was directed by Briin Bernstein and Daniel AM Rosenberg, both of whom grew up in the Leslie and Lawrence area of Toronto. Seasoned videographers, Bernstein and Rosenberg have both been nominated for a Juno Award in the Video of the Year category. The Junos are slated for Winnipeg, March 24 to 30.

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Arts in Brief


Between Stages presents Tough Jews, by Michael Ross Albert, a dramatic staged reading of a play about a family of Jewish bootleggers in Toronto’s Kensington Market of old. Directed by David Ferry, with Claire Armstrong, Ben Clost, Natasha Greenblatt, Luke Humphrey, Tanja Jacobs, Adam Pettle and Jordan Pettle. $10 at the door. Miles Nadal JCC, Saturday March 1, 7 p.m.

Critic Shlomo Schwartzberg continues his series on film director Steven Spielberg with a look at Catch Me If You Can, The Sugarland Express, Munich and The Adventures of Tin Tin. $11.25, $6 for students. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday March 3, 7 to 9 p.m.

 Klezmer Purim Celebration with the Yiddish Swingtet Duo (Jonno Lightstone and Jordan Klapman) as well as hamantashen. $4. An Adult 55+ Culture Education Community presentation. Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday March 6, 2 p.m. (doors open 1:30 p.m.) Pre-register by Feb 28, 416-924-6211, ext. 0.

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At the Galleries: Sisters in Resistance, an exhibition of oil paintings by Harry Teifenbach, celebrates women resistance fighters of World War II. Miles Nadal JCC Gallery, Feb. 28 to March 24. Sara Grinate, the subject of one of the paintings, will attend the reception, March 13, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

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