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The Tailor Project Brought Holocaust Survivors To Canada

An old photograph I treasure, taken by a person whose identity will never be known, shows a solemn young couple and their two children sitting on the grass in Montreal’s Fletcher’s Field, a stone throw’s away from heavily-wooded Mount Royal. The woman, a hint of a smile on her face, balances a toddler on her […]

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Glorious Middle Eastern Food

Until my first visit to Israel shortly after the  Six Day War, I knew absolutely nothing about the magnificence of Middle Eastern cuisine. Raised on a steady diet of Jewish-style Polish food, lovingly cooked and baked to perfection by my mother, Genia, I could look forward to such simple and tasty dishes as lima bean-and-onion […]

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Coffeeland: An Impressive Work of Scholarship

Coffee, perhaps the most common word on the planet, is a lucrative cash crop that provides employment for more than 25 million people in over 7o countries. Originally gathered from wild plants in Ethiopia in the 15th century, it was first cultivated commercially in Yemen, its supply strictly controlled by a clique of Arab merchants who […]

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Lebanon’s Jewish Community

Franck Salameh describes his bitter-sweet book, Lebanon’s Jewish Community: Fragments of Lives Arrested (Palgrave Macmillan), as a “memorial” and “act of remembrance” to commemorate what was arguably the oldest and most indigenous community in Lebanon. Fourteen thousand strong at its height in the 1940s, it was the smallest of Lebanon’s 20 legally recognized ethnic-religious groups, […]

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Jews And Human Rights

Measured against centuries of recorded human history, the concept of human rights is quite new, having emerged only after World War II as a response to the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. Within two years of these unprecedented atrocities, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention, which were […]

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Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis

The American historian Robert Gellately asks and answers an important question in his magisterial work, Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis (Oxford University Press): What impelled tens of millions of Germans to accept or accommodate themselves to a doctrine laced with racial hatred and laden with murderous implications? The reasons are clear. Germany’s […]

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How Jews Changed The World

Have you ever heard of Karl Landsteiner? Paul Ehrlich? Or Rosalind Franklin? If these names don’t ring a bell, you can read all about them in  British writer Norman Lebrecht’s informative book, Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947 (Scribner). Landsteiner, one of the first immunologists, made modern surgery possible by developing a […]

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Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

Germany’s last election after Adolf Hitler’s accession to power was held on March 5, 1933. The Nazis captured 288 out of 647 seats in the Reichstag, winning 43.9 percent of the vote and establishing the national socialist party as the largest parliamentary bloc. Although 17 million voters were mesmerized by his vision of Germany, most […]

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A Jewish Refugee And A Nazi Sympathizer

Otto Ullmann, a 13-year-old Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Austria, bid his parents farewell in Vienna in 1939, just months before the outbreak of World War II. He was bound for Sweden, where he would live the rest of his life. Ullmann spent a year in a Swedish orphanage and then obtained work as a farm […]

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All The Horrors of War

Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes, a British army doctor, and Rachel (Ruth) Genuth, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, never met, but their paths crossed in the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in the spring of 1945. Hughes was one of the first British officers to enter Bergen-Belsen. “I have been a doctor for 30 years and seen all […]