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Film

After Mr. Sam

When I was a teenager, I would sometimes join my mother on her weekly shopping trips to Steinberg, her favorite supermarket in Montreal. She liked it because it was big, bright and bulging with an amazing variety of reasonably priced food and household goods. If shoppers accumulated a sufficient number of Steinberg pink coupons, which […]

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Middle East

A Damning Report

Human Rights Watch recently released a damning 213-page report condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and its own Arab citizens. The world’s oldest human rights organization accused Israel of the crimes of apartheid and persecution. The report was written by Omar Shakir, its Israel and Palestine director. Expelled from Israel in 2019, he […]

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Film

Poet: Irving Layton Observed

Prodigious and prolific, Irving Layton was one of Canada’s most accomplished poets when Donald Winkler of the National Film Board of Canada was assigned to direct a documentary about him. Fifty two minutes in length and released in 1986, Poet: Irving Layton Observed will be streamed online by the NFB in May during Canadian Jewish Heritage […]

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Film

Mordecai Richler: The Writer And His Roots

Nineteen years before Mordecai Richler’s death in 2001, the National Film Board of Canada made a short documentary about this prominent Canadian novelist, journalist and screenwriter. Mordecai Richler: The Writer and His Roots, directed by Claire Helman, was released in 1983. This 21-minute film can be accessed online during May, in honor of Canadian Jewish […]

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Middle East

Mahmoud Abbas Is Wary Of Elections

Once bitten, twice shy. Mahmoud Abbas, the 85-year-old president of the Palestinian Authority and the leader of the mainstream Fatah party, was taking no chances. On April 29, he postponed the Palestinian parliamentary election, which was due to be held on May 22. This came as no surprise to observers. Abbas has been wary of […]

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Film

Ladies And Gentlemen … Mr. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, the acclaimed Canadian poet and novelist, was only 30 when Donald Brittain and Don Owen of the National Film Board of Canada decided he was worthy of a biopic. Ladies and Gentlemen …. Mr. Leonard Cohen was released in 1965, and in honor of Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, this spare and affecting 44-minute black-and-white […]

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Film

The Return

Sixty four thousand women and their children are stranded in a bleak refugee camp in an area of northeastern Syria controlled by Kurdish militias. The wives of Islamic State fighters who were either killed in battle or imprisoned after being captured, they yearn to go back to their homes, but their governments have banned them […]

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Commentary

The Armenian Genocide A Century Later

Joe Biden bit the bullet on April 24 and acknowledged what no previous U.S. president had ever dared to boldly state in public: the mass murder of Christian Armenians in the Ottoman Empire about a century ago was nothing less than genocide. Much to Turkey’s chagrin, 30 countries, ranging from Canada and Germany to Argentina […]

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Books

Syrian Requiem

Of all the books I’ve read about the ongoing civil war in Syria, Syrian Requiem: The Civil War And Its Aftermath is the best of the lot. Written by the Israeli scholars Itamar Rabinovich and Carmit Valensi and published by Princeton University Press, it is concise yet comprehensive, scholarly yet accessible. The authors are distinguished […]

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Film

Misha And The Wolves

Misha Defonseca’s Holocaust survival story is incredible, beyond belief. At the age of seven, in Nazi-occupied Belgium, she trudged through a forest and kept herself alive by joining a pack of wolves that protected and provided her with scraps of food. In 1997, Defonseca’s memoirs, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, was published and […]