Categories
Middle East

The Ball Is In Hamas’ Court

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, faces a May 28 deadline to form what has almost always eluded the Palestinian movement — a national unity government that can speak with one voice, particularly with respect to Israel. It’s a daunting challenge, since the Palestinians have only once capitalized on this opportunity. In March […]

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Arts

Fading Gigolo — A Strange Hybrid

What does aging businessman Murray Schwartz do when his old-school bookshop goes belly up? John Turturro’s comedy, Fading Gigolo, which opens in Toronto on May 23, provides the answer: Schwartz (Woody Allen), in a radical makeover, becomes a pimp. In Fading Gigolo, set in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district, Schwartz and his long-time employee,  Fioravante (Turturro), are […]

Categories
Travel

Spring At Last

Last week, as day time temperatures in Toronto reached a balmy 18 degrees celsius, Denver was walloped by a freak snowstorm. I counted my blessings as I lounged on my sun deck and gazed contentedly at a clear blue sky. Admittedly, my deck didn’t do very well over winter and isn’t in the best condition. […]

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Arts

Music Was Her Life

Concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer was 110 when she died in London last February. She passed away only two days before the movie in which she appeared, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, won the Academy Award for best documentary in the short subject category. It’s a pity she couldn’t […]

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Guest Voices

Black-Jewish Relations After The Sterling Affair

As almost everyone who watches newscasts knows, Donald Sterling, the elderly and foolish billionaire who is owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association, has become the object of intense – many would say excessive – media coverage. Sometimes it seems that the story is getting more airtime on American networks like […]

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Middle East

Olmert Verdict Sends A Strong Signal

It was indeed a “sad day” for Israel, as Ehud Olmert himself murmured after a judge in Tel Aviv’s district court sentenced him to six years imprisonment on charges of corruption. Olmert now has the dubious distinction of  being the first former Israeli prime minister to be saddled with the indignity of a criminal record. […]

Categories
Arts

Jewish Soldiers Fighting For Germany

When Germany entered World War I a century ago this summer, millions of Germans saw them off in a burst of patriotism, assuming that a great victory was imminent. Swept up by the nationalist fervour, 100,000 German Jewish men joined the ranks of the armed forces. Of these, 80,000 served on the front lines and almost […]

Categories
Jewish Affairs

The Engineers Of The Holocaust

In 1878, a master brewer in the eastern German city of Erfurt named Johann Andreas Topf founded Topf & Sons, a respectable company that would become the world’s leading manufacturer of malting equipment for the beer industry. Thirty six years later, Topf diversified its operations, introducing a line of crematorium furnaces. The new product would […]

Categories
Arts

Young & Beautiful

A rebellious French girl on the cusp of womanhood blatantly defies middle-class norms and conventions in Francois Ozon’s provocative movie, Young & Beautiful, scheduled to open in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver on May 16. This erotically-charged French film unfolds over the four seasons of a year as Isabelle (Marine Vacth), an attractive high school student, […]

Categories
Jewish Affairs

Death of German Collector Closes A Chapter In The History Of Nazi-Looted Art

Cornelius Gurlitt, the  reclusive German art collector whose father acquired a treasure trove of 19th and 20th century European master works under questionable circumstances during the Nazi era, passed away in Munich on May 5. He was 81 and had been suffering from a heart ailment. Gurlitt’s death closes a chapter in the history of […]