2023 Events

GERMANY IN CONTEMPORARY JEWISH AWARENESS

BOOK LAUNCH

Thu Jan 19, 7:00pm FREE  REGISTER
MAX CZOLLEK
De-Integrate! A Jewish Survival Guide for the 21st Century
Translated from German by JON CHO-POLIZZI

A controversial, often humorous and best-selling polemic in Germany, De-Integrate! is a battle cry against Jewish assimilation into a dominant culture that seeks to paint over the past –
and a handbook for minorities on how to embrace their differences and resist rising nationalism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, and racism.
MAX CZOLLEK is a poet, publicist, and political scientist. He received his doctorate from the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism in Berlin and is particularly well known for his theatrical and essayistic work surrounding memory culture, integration, and Jewish identity in post-war Germany.

IN PARTNERSHIP with UBC Dept. of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK LAUNCH AND EXHIBIT OPENING

Thu Jan 26, 7:00pm   FREE  REGISTER
JASON LANGER
Berlin – A Jewish Ode to the Metropolis

“I lived on kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek as a child with my two brothers in the mid 1970s. Every year on Yom Kippur we were brought to the local Holocaust memorial, asked to stand in silence and hear about the persecution and death experienced by our people at the hands of the Nazis.”
He goes on to describe growing up with fear about Germany and the German people. But later, when invited to Berlin, he confronted his fear and preconceptions by photographing the city with an eye towards places where Jews were hidden or deported, combined with images of today’s Berlin. The project shows the city’s dark past and brightness of today – a city of ghosts in continual renewal. There are 135 photographs and three essays, it is part autobiography and part story of living Jewish life as a Jew in Berlin.
Photographer JASON LANGER lived in Israel and later settled in Oregon, US. He has exhibited internationally, has published three books and is a sought-after instructor, specializing in photography as personal discovery.

SPONSORED BY ESTHER CHETNER

OPENING NIGHT: FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH

ACCLAIMED AUTHOR & SPEAKER

Sat Feb 11, 7:30pm   $25  TICKETS
Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
GABOR MATÉ, MD with Daniel Maté
The Myth of Normal – Trauma, Illness, & Healing in a Toxic Culture
In Conversation with Marsha Lederman

From our most trusted and compassionate authority on stress, trauma, and mental well-being, comes a groundbreaking investigation into the causes of illness, a bracing critique of how our society breeds disease, and a pathway to health and healing.

Renowned physician, acclaimed author and speaker Dr. Gabor Maté eloquently dissects how Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare systems are actually seeing an upsurge in chronic illness and general ill health. Prescription drug usage, high blood pressure, mental illness, and so many other troubling issues are on the rise.

Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society—and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Co-written with his son Daniel, The Myth of Normal is Maté’s most ambitious and urgent book yet.

GABOR MATÉ is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of five books published in thirty languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing he has been awarded the Order of Canada and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown Vancouver.

MARSHA LEDERMAN is a columnist with the Globe and Mail, award-winning journalist and author.

A LITERARY QUICKIE

8 AUTHORS – JUST 5 MINUTES TO PITCH THEIR BOOKS

Sun, Feb 12, 10:00 – 11:30am By donation.  REGISTER
Light refreshments served.
HOST: DANIELLA GIVON

Modeled on the prestigious NYC Jewish Book Council author pitches, but adapted to the more relaxed Vancouver pace, this event gives each author 5 minutes to make the audience fall in love with their book and bring it home to meet mother.

LEO BURSTYN
You May Call Me Lance: A Tale of Lancelot the Most Noble Cat

Many cats lead extraordinary lives, but not many are lucky enough to have their adventures documented through the eyes of someone who truly understands them. Sir Lancelot is a legend of a cat, a YouTube superstar and a veterinary clinic super host. Now you can marvel at the story of his life as told in his own words and written down by the father of the helpful vet himself!

LEO BURSTYN is a semi-retired computer scientist living in Vancouver.

LAURA DUHAN-KAPLAN 
Mouth of the Donkey: Re-Imagining Biblical Animals

The Torah is filled with animals. Snakes try to teach us. Donkeys work alongside us. Locusts warn us. Clearly, ancient Jewish writers paid close attention to the animals in their landscape. Mouth of the Donkey takes a new look at Torah’s animal stories, re-imagining them with wit, scholarship, and optimism. Every re-telling shows how Torah’s earth-based ecological values can guide us in a time of climate crisis.

LAURA DUHAN-KAPLAN is a scholar, writer, spiritual teacher, and animal-lover. She is Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue and Director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology.

GEORGE HALPERN
From School To Sky: Joseph’s Tale of War

This is the amazing story of Joseph Halpern, snatched from his small Polish/Jewish community at the age of sixteen to become a Russian fighter pilot. His adventures and determination led him to become a hero of the Soviet Union, a fighter pilot in the 1948 Israeli conflict, and eventually took him to the shores of Canada, where he was reunited with his parents he presumed dead. He went on to a distinguished career and played a crucial role in NASA’s Apollo missions.

GEORGE HALPERN (Joseph’s son) had made his reputation as “Georgie Bones”—a skilled blues guitarist, singer-songwriter and mean harmonica player. He has been an entrepreneur, salesman, and a data technician in Vancouver.


HELGA HATVANY
Dreams, Nightmares, and Reality

This is the story of a prominent Hungarian-Jewish family of industrialists, influential writers, progressive political thinkers, and patrons of art and literature against the backdrop of 20th-century European history. The book serves to warn against ethnic discrimination and authoritarian dictatorships, both fascist and communist, while conveying an uplifting and inspiring message of resilience, perseverance, and the power of “paying it forward”.

HELGA HATVANY is a writer and translator in Vancouver.

KAREN McKINLAY KURNAEDY
Our Love Affair with Dance

This biography contributes to a history of early Modern Dance in Vancouver, detailing the lives of Jewish dance artists Magda and Gertrud Hahn, who opened the first modern dance school in Vancouver in the late 1950s. The sisters started teaching their own unique style of dance, which was innovative and groundbreaking for its time.

KAREN McKINLAY KURNAEDY is a dancer, writer, and educator in Coquitlam.

GLORIA LEVI
The Hotelkeeper’s Daughter

This creative memoir is the gripping story of the Hamerov family from 1938-1948. They lived in a religious, Eastern European Jewish immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York. To break the cycle of poverty, the parents decide to become
hotelkeepers. All four children struggle with their parents’ high expectations and demands.

GLORIA LEVI is a speaker, activist and author in Vancouver.

ELIANA TOBIAS
When We Return

Who should be held responsible for public wrongs? In this thought-provoking novel, weaving together different timelines and countries, Tobias examines the topic of grief a community endures after a collective tragedy. We discover what happens when our past calls us back to what we must do to achieve justice and reconciliation when we return.

ELIANA TOBIAS was born in Chile and lived in Peru before moving to Vancouver. Her lived experience of political turmoil fueled her passion to write about the ways in which people caught in devastation rebuild their lives.

MARJIE ZACKS
It All Ends Up in a Parfait Glass: A Tribute to My Mother’s Wisdom

Remember the Sixties? When parents didn’t know where you were every minute? When the teacher’s word was final and no one argued with her? Meet the Zacks family, where expectations were high and each day you had to accomplish something. Don’t just sit there. Read a book. Study hard and the world will be yours. Go back to a much simpler time, and laugh at “mom’s” expressions…Fast forward sixty years as all of those quirky sayings take on meaning at long last.

MARJIE ZACKS lives in Toronto and brings her small-town-Ontario childhood to life in this lighthearted collection.


A POWERFUL COLLECTION OF GRAPHIC NOVELLAS

BUT I LIVE – Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust

Sun Feb 12, 12:00pm   $18  TICKETS
Editor CHARLOTTE SCHALLIÉ
WINNER – 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award

Graphic novelists | telling survivors’ stories
MIRIAM LIBICKI | David Schaffer (Vancouver): A Kind of Resistance
GILAD SELIKTAR | Nico & Rolf Kamp (Amsterdam): Thirteen Secrets
BARBARA YELIN | Emmie Arbel (Kiryat Tiv’on, Israel): But I Live

Touted as “the most powerful collection of non-fiction graphic novellas of the Holocaust since Art Spiegelman’s Maus” – But I Live is an intimate co-creation of three graphic novelists and four Holocaust survivors.

David Schaffer and his family survived in Romania due to their refusal to obey Nazi collaborators. In the Netherlands, brothers Nico and Rolf Kamp were hidden by the Dutch resistance in 13 different places. Through the story of Emmie Arbel, a child survivor of the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, we see the lifelong trauma inflicted by the Holocaust. To complement these hauntingly beautiful visual depictions, the book includes historical essays, a postscript from the artists, and words of the survivors.
The graphic novelists and the editor will focus on the very unusual artistic process.

CHARLOTTE SCHALLIÉ is a professor and chair in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria.

MIRIAM LIBICKI (Vancouver) holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is an award-winning graphic novelist. She is the author of Towards a Hot Jew (2017 Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature) and many nonfiction comics.

BARBARA YELIN (Munich) studied illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and has worked as a comics artist for newspapers and international anthologies. She published the award-winning graphic novel Irmina.

GILAD SELIKTAR (Israel) is an acclaimed graphic novelist and children’s book illustrator whose works are published in Israel and throughout the world.


MODERN-DAY WOMEN

HOW BC IS THAT? – OFFBEAT MEMOIRS

Sun Feb 12, 2:00pm   $18  TICKETS

Also appearing on Sun Feb 12, 11:00am at Har El, the North Shore Centre for Jewish Life. By donation. REGISTER

MARGOT FEDORUK Cooking Tips for Desperate Fishwives: An Island Memoir

Part love story, part survival story, part meditation on family dysfunction, this offbeat memoir chronicles the unpredictable life of a young wife and mother on Gabriola Island. Margot was just 26 when she left her Slavic-Jewish family in Winnipeg and moved to the West Coast. The love story starts when she met Rick in BC, a red-haired sea urchin diver. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Margot’s reflections on marriage, motherhood, isolation, food, and family paint an unforgettable portrait of a modern-day woman. (And yes, there are recipes in the book!) Margot still lives on Gabriola Island.

MARGOT FEDORUK is a writer, book reviewer and entrepreneur, whose work has been published in the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, BC BookWorld, Ormbsy Review, etc.

TAMAR GLOUBERMAN Chasing Rivers: A Whitewater Life

The thrilling story of a whitewater guide working on some of the most challenging and remote rafting rivers in North America, from Northern BC to the Grand Canyon and beyond. Driven to guide increasingly dangerous rivers, Tamar overcomes her self-doubts and challenges both on and off the water, using a combination of grit and wit. A raw and honest work from a talented new voice in adventure writing, Tamar’s memoir is a page-turner, transporting readers through wild rapids and breath-taking canyons; she learns from the river that finding self-forgiveness might be the most hard-to-reach destination of all.

TAMAR GLOUBERMAN is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at UBC and has spent much of her life as an outdoor guide. Having worked in exotic places such as the Galapagos, Zambia and Peru, she is most grateful to be able to enjoy North America’s wild rivers and grizzly bears.


YOUNG READERS: GRAPHIC NOVEL

Sun Feb 12, 10:15am FREE
HART SNIDER
Art by SEAN COVERTON
The Basketball Game: A Graphic Novel

A graphic novel based on the author’s childhood experience, adapted from his award-winning NFB animated short, The Basketball Game is a poignant tale of the power of community as a means to rise above hatred and bigotry.

HART SNIDER is a writer and filmmaker living in Vancouver. He loves hanging out with his family, editing documentaries, reading comics and graphic novels, and staying up late.

Illustrator SEAN COVERTON moved to Vancouver to pursue his dreams of making cartoons for a living.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PJ LIBRARY


HUMOUR GOES AROUND

At White Rock South Surrey JCC 3033 King George Blvd, Surrey
Sun Feb 12, 3:00pm  by donation.  REGISTER

AARON BUSHKOWSKY Water Proof

“With the bucolic settings, oddball characters, and bizarre twists, Water Proof will make you laugh and care…”

A dark, rousing comedy set in the Pacific Northwest, this is a story about infidelity, film-making, and the search for a missing kayaker.

AARON BUSHKOWSKY is a Vancouver author, poet, playwright, and screenplay writer. His first novel, Curtains for Roy, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. He teaches playwriting and filmwriting at Langara College, Studio 58, Kwantlen University, and at Vancouver Film School.

JEFFREY GROBERMAN Grobetrotting: Travel the World Laugh by Laugh

Grobetrotting is a book about travel attitude, focusing on how one faces the aggravating, unpredictable and sometimes frightening aspects of travel. Jeff’s narrative moves the stories forward with edgy wit and just the right amount of self-deprecating humour.

JEFF GROBERMAN is a writer and producer who has entertained legions of radio and TV audiences over a distinguished-yet-hilarious career. Jeff produced shows for CBC, PBS, CTV, Global and Knowledge Network and was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.


IMPORTANT STORIES FOR YOUTH

BOOK LAUNCH

Sun Feb 12, 4:00pm   FREE  REGISTER
Also appearing on Mon Feb 13, 10:00am at VTT
SELINA ALKO (Illustrator)
with CAREN STELSON (author) – Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport
In conversation with Abby Wener Herlin

Stars of the Night recounts the powerful true story of the 669 young people who traveled as part of the Czech Kindertransport from Prague to Britain. Told from the collective perspective of the children, the narrative starts in 1938 and follows them as they journey to foster families in England, return to Prague after the war in an unsuccessful search for their parents, and then connect with Nicholas Winton, a British former stockbroker who was instrumental in bringing them to safety.

A former Vancouverite, SELINA ALKO is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator who currently lives in Brooklyn. Her work includes B is for Brooklyn and The Case for Loving.

CAREN STELSON’s book for middle graders, Sachiko: A Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Story, was longlisted for a National Book Award and received a Sibert Honor Medal. Caren lives in Minneapolis.

PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VANCOUVER HOLOCAUST EDUCATION CENTRE


MASTER STORYTELLERS

Sun Feb 12, 6:00pm   FREE  REGISTER
MICHAEL FRANK
One Hundred Saturdays – Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World

In conversation with Abby Wener Herlin

This is the remarkable story of ninety-nine-year-old Stella Levi whose conversations with journalist Michael Frank over the course of six years bring to life the vibrant world of Jewish Rhodes, the deportation to Auschwitz that extinguished ninety percent of her community, and the resilience and wisdom of the woman who lived to tell the tale.

Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time—and to construct a life after that place has vanished. Stella asks challenging questions that often have no easy answer. She is honest about her life. She is the kind of person we all dream of learning from and who—at nearly a century—is still interested in engaging with and learning from us in return.
One Hundred Saturdays also features incredible illustrations by The New Yorker’s MAIRA KALMAN.

MICHAEL FRANK is the author of What Is Missing, a novel, and The Mighty Franks, a memoir. His essays, articles, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications. He lives in New York.

PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VANCOUVER HOLOCAUST EDUCATION CENTRE


ISRAELI FICTION

THOUGHT-PROVOKING INQUIRY INTO NATIONAL IDENTITY & PSYCHOLOGY

Sun Feb 12, 8:00pm   $18  TICKETS
YISHAI SARID Victorious
Translated from the Hebrew by YARDENNE GREENSPAN

In conversation with Gina Roitman

Also appearing on Sun Feb 12, 2:30pm for Burquest JCA, at the Coquitlam Public Library, City Centre Branch. By donation. REGISTER

From the author of The Memory Monster, a New York Times Notable Book of 2020, comes a gripping examination of the complexities of military service as experienced by Abigail, a therapist who becomes implicated in the dilemmas soldiers encounter both on and off the battlefield.

A military psychologist and single mother who has spent her career in the Israeli Army, Abigail is a leading expert in the psychology of combat, helping soldiers negotiate the trauma of war while instructing commanders on best practices for killing with resilience and efficacy.
As her son Shauli approaches the age for military service, Abigail becomes increasingly involved in the lives of the army’s Chief of Staff and those of her patients, and the lines between her personal beliefs and her profession begin to blur. Meanwhile, Abigail’s deeply moral father, a clinical psychologist himself, openly condemns her choice to aid Israel’s military machine. Yet, for Abigail, it’s a patriotic duty. Only when gentle Shauli enlists in the elite and dangerous paratroopers unit are Abigail’s own mental defenses finally breached.

In this riveting, provocative inquiry into modern warfare, Yishai Sarid unmasks the contradictions at the heart of patriotism, national identity, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

YISHAI SARID was born and raised in Tel Aviv. During his IDF service, he served as an intelligence officer and then studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Nowadays he is an active lawyer and arbitrator. Alongside his legal career, Sarid has published six novels which have been translated into ten languages and have won literary prizes.

GINA ROITMAN is an award-winning writer, biographer and writing coach.

SPONSORED BY DANIELLA GIVON & BERNARD PINSKY

LUNCH & LEARN

UNIQUE FAMILY HISTORIES – NOVEL & MEMOIR

Mon Feb 13, 11:30am   $18  TICKETS
With the Adults 55+ Department

SIMON CHOA-JOHNSTONHouse of Daughters

Based on the author’s own family, The House of Daughters is a stand-alone sequel to the Globe and Mail bestseller, The House of Wives. This multi-generational family saga opens when Emanuel Belilios, a wealthy Jewish opium oligarch, suddenly leaves Hong Kong, and his junior-wife, Pearl blames Semah, the senior-wife. Pearl kicks Semah out of the mansion where the polyamorous trio had lived, and shuns everyone including her daughter. With unforgettable characters and high drama, this is a masterful story of passions and regrets, wealth and survival, set in Eurasian Hong Kong’s high society.

SIMON CHOA-JOHNSTON was born in Hong Kong and educated in Canada. He studied theatre in New York, and worked in Canada for over thirty years as an artistic director, director and playwright.

HELGA HATVANY Dreams, Nightmares, and Reality

Born to one of the most prominent Hungarian-Jewish families of the past two centuries, Helga was the last family member to be raised in her home country during the goulash communism era. Her ancestors rose to fame, fortune, and the ranks of nobility as successful industrialists. They left their mark on history and culture as progressive political thinkers, talented writers, painters, and legendary philanthropists. Dreams, Nightmares, and Reality serves to warn against ethnic discrimination and authoritarian dictatorships, both fascist and communist, while conveying an uplifting and inspiring message of resilience, perseverance, and the power of “paying it forward”.

HELGA HATVANY is a writer and translator living in Vancouver.

Also appearing on Sun Feb 12, 2:30pm for Burquest JCA, at the Coquitlam Public Library, City Centre Branch. By donation. REGISTER


SPY PANEL – JEWS IN TRENCH COATS

LIFE STRANGER THAN FICTION

Mon Feb 13, 6:00pm   $18  TICKETS

Moderator: Marsha Lederman

DOUGLAS LONDONThe Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence

For many, what they know about being a spy is derived from the movies. But Douglas London replaces notions of James Bond with a realistic depiction of spies who come in all shapes and sizes, often introverted, and always highly intelligent with the skills to earn trust and respect.

The Recruiter captures the best stories from London’s life as a spy and the complicated relationships with agents and colleagues. The exigencies of the job required him to conceal his Jewish identity not only from targets but from the US officials and public servants with whom he worked. “I soon came to realize,” he says, “that keeping my religion in the closet eased my ability to establish friendships among many colleagues, and superiors, who tended to hold anti-Semitic, or at least negative perceptions, of American Jews.”

DOUGLAS LONDON is a retired Senior CIA Operations Officer and teaches at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. He served predominantly in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Africa.

ANDREW KIRSCHI Was Never Here: My True Canadian Spy Story of Coffees, Code Names and Covert Operations in the Age of Terrorism

Kirsch didn’t grow up dreaming about being a real-life James Bond. Like many Canadians, he didn’t know much about CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), the organization responsible for investigating threats to Canada. He was a financial advisor when a close-by terror attack shifted his priorities to fighting terrorism. Within 18 months he had landed a job with CSIS.

In the book Kirsch spills the secrets of what life as an intelligence officer is really like—and dispels a few myths along the way. With humour and candour, he shares his on-the-ground experience (or as much of it as he’s allowed to). If you’ve ever wondered whether spies can have real dating lives, or how they come up with cover stories, you’re in luck.

ANDREW KIRSCH served as an intelligence officer with the CSIS for almost a decade. He is a public speaker and trainer on issues of national and cyber security and lives in Toronto.

SPONSORED BY DR. ANDREW AND SHAWNA MERKUR


THRILLER PANEL  

PSYCHOLOGICAL PAGE-TURNERS

Mon Feb 13, 7:30pm   $18  TICKETS

Moderator: Eileen Cook

DANIEL KALLAThe Darkness in the Light

A psychiatrist’s patients are dying—are they suicides related to a new antidepressant, or is there something more sinister going on in the northernmost town in the US? The novel follows the aftermath of the suicide of Brianna, a patient of Dr. David Spears, who blames himself for potentially missing crucial warning signs. What begins as a missing persons inquiry and suspicion over a pharmaceutical cover-up quickly evolves into a terrifying journey of treachery and death—one that will horrify this isolated town and endanger many more lives.

DANIEL KALLA is the internationally bestselling author of 13 novels. He practices emergency medicine in Vancouver.

SAMANTHA M. BAILEY Watch Out for Her

Sarah Goldman is relieved to move across the country. She has a lot she wants to leave behind, especially Holly Monroe, the pretty 22-year-old babysitter she and her husband hired to take care of their young son last summer. It started out as a perfect arrangement—Sarah had a childminder her son adored, and Holly found the mother figure she’d always wanted.

A spine-tingling novel, this is psychological suspense at its very best—a chilling look at trust, voyeurism, and obsession in the modern age.

SAMANTHA M. BAILEY is the bestselling author of Woman on the Edge; Watch Out for Her also became an instant #1 national bestseller. Samantha is a journalist and freelance editor living in Toronto.

S.M. FREEDMANBlood Atonement

The Handmaid’s Tale meets All about Eve in this dark and disturbing thriller about a polygamist cult and the children who sought to escape it. Grace DeRoche escaped the fundamentalist Mormon compound of Brigham and worked to prosecute its leaders. Racked with guilt and suffering from dissociative identity disorder brought on by childhood abuse, Grace’s life is fragmented and dissociative triggers are everywhere; she never knows when an alter personality will take the reins.
And then, is she the murderer… or the next victim?

S.M. FREEDMAN is the author of The Faithful, Impact Winter, and The Day She Died. She worked as a private investigator on the not-so-mean streets of Vancouver, where she lives.

YOUNG READERS: GRAPHIC NOVEL

Tue Feb 14, 10:00am FREE
AT KING DAVID HIGH SCHOOL

HART SNIDER
Art by SEAN COVERTON
The Basketball Game: A Graphic Novel

A graphic novel based on the author’s childhood experience, adapted from his award-winning NFB animated short, The Basketball Game is a poignant tale of the power of community as a means to rise above hatred and bigotry.

SPONSORED BY MOSHE MASTAI


A DAY TO CELEBRATE HUMAN CLOSENESS

SPONSORED BY THE WEINBERG RESIDENCE

LOVE IN ITS MANY FORMS

Tue Feb 14, 2:00pm   $18  TICKETS

Moderator: Helen Pinsky

GINA ROITMAN Don’t Ask
In this literary thriller, the question is posed: who packs the suitcase we carry from birth? The answer is woven into the mystery about a mother’s suicide, some contested land and a love affair between a German and a Jew weighed down by the baggage of history.
GINA ROITMAN is an award-winning writer, biographer, and writing coach. Gina is the author of a short story collection: Tell Me a Story, Tell Me the Truth and the biography Midway to China and Beyond. Gina was the subject and co-producer of the documentary film My Mother, the Nazi Midwife and Me, which aired on CBC’s DOC Channel.

LYNDA COHEN LOIGMANThe Matchmaker’s Gift: A Novel

Is finding true love a calling or a curse? Even as a child in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her gift: she is a seeker of soulmates and a maker of matches. Two generations later, Sara has passed away and has bequeathed her journals, with all the details of her matches, to her granddaughter Abby, a successful Manhattan divorce attorney. But among the faded volumes, Abby finds more questions than answers. This is the heartfelt and magical story of two extraordinary women from two different eras who defy societal expectations.

LYNDA COHEN LOIGMAN is author of bestselling historical novels The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters and lives in the New York area.


GREAT FRIENDSHIPS

CONNECTING THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

Tue Feb 14, 7:00pm   FREE  REGISTER
ALAN TWIGG (editor)
with YOSEF WOSK
Gidal: The Unusual Friendship of Yosef Wosk and Tim Gidal, Letters and Photos

“Although four decades separated us, Tim and I were inexorably drawn together through the magnetic forces of art and culture; travel; history; exile and war; loves and loves lost; writing, teaching and forgetting; collecting and letting it all go.” —Yosef Wosk, from the Preface
An intimate selection of letters between Tim Gidal, a pioneering force in photojournalism, and scholar and art collector Yosef Wosk.

NACHUM TIM GIDAL (1909-1996), Jewish pioneer of modern photojournalism, began taking photographs in the late 1920s, at a time when technological advances made photography equipment more compact and affordable than ever before. With his handheld Leica, Gidal was able to travel in interwar Europe, capturing rare images of Polish Jews prior to the annihilation of the Holocaust.

YOSEF WOSK is a rabbi, philanthropist, educator, author, scholar, community leader and prominent figure in the BC arts scene. Wosk first encountered Gidal’s work in the photo Night of the Kabbalist in a magazine in 1991 and, captivated, was determined to meet the photographer on an upcoming sabbatical in Israel. He eventually managed to meet the person who he would later consider his close friend, teacher, and confidant—Nachum Tim Gidal.
On one level, the letters—selected from the hundreds the friends exchanged over two decades—memorialize Gidal as an artist, scholar, historian of photography and “hero among the Jewish people.” However, they also capture the essence of Gidal and Wosk’s friendship. Readers will be drawn into a rich conversation touching on philosophy, advice, personal issues, reading recommendations and more, with Gidal always brilliant, witty and cantankerous and Wosk curious, appreciative and intelligent. This beautifully designed volume will appeal to those with an interest in modern Jewish history as well as anyone interested in early 20th-century photography.

ALAN TWIGG was the founder and for 33 years editor of BC BookWorld, Canada’s largest-circulating publication about books. Alan is the author of 20 books to date, including Out of Hiding: Holocaust Literature of British Columbia which was launched at our past festival. In 2015 he received the Order of Canada and in 2016 the BC Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

BOOK LAUNCH IN THE WALDMAN LIBRARY

Wed Feb 15, 3:00pm   FREE  REGISTER
With JCC Inclusion Department
ADA GLUSTEINBeing Different: From Friday Night Candles to Compassionate Classroom

This touching memoir tells a universal story about feeling different and longing to belong.

With her deep understanding of the importance of belonging, as seen through her own eyes and those of the children she encounters throughout her long teaching career, Ada finds her own sense of belonging and helps the children find theirs.
Ada’s stories are told with humour and with pathos. They remind us to embrace the visible and the invisible differences we all share as human beings on this planet.

ADA GLUSTEIN was a primary teacher her entire life, as well as faculty associate at SFU. She has written essays and articles on current issues and events and lives in Vancouver.


FOR BOOK CLUBS AND BOOK LOVERS

Wed Feb 15, 7:30pm   $20  TICKETS
DORA LEVY MOSSANENLove and War in the Jewish Quarter

In Conversation with Sheryl MacKay

Friends sitting together with the writer, hearing the story behind the story, over nosh. Wine can be added!

Against the backdrop of military conflict, political turmoil and oppression in old Tehran, international bestselling Iranian-American novelist weaves a tender and tension-packed story of forbidden love, as romantic, suspenseful and compelling as the history of the city and people that surround it.

1941 Téhéran: Dr. Soleiman Yaran, a celebrated dentist, returns to the Jewish Quarter. There, he works on the Shah’s wife, Queen Fawzia Pahlavi, who has a toothache. Dr. Yaran is renowned for his innovative treatments, specifically an alternative to novocaine, Ruby Magic, named after his wife. When Ruby dies in childbirth, Yaran commits himself to his people, his daughter, Neda, and his work. As he wins the Queen’s approval, Yaran must treat another powerful Muslim patient: the opium-addicted Governor General. How it ends is at once heartbreaking and hopeful.

DORA LEVY MOSSANEN, author of The Last Romanov and Harem and recipient of the San Diego Editors’ Choice Award, was born in Israel, moved to Iran as a child and now lives in Los Angeles. Her grandfather introduced her to the realities of the Jewish Quarter and the challenges of being Jewish in a Muslim country.

WOULD YOU DEFEND THE INDEFENSIBLE?

Thu Feb 16, 10:00am FREE
AT THE KING DAVID HIGH SCHOOL
LIZA WIEMERThe Assignment

WINNER OF THE SIDNEY TAYLOR NOTABLE AWARD

Inspired by a real-life incident, this riveting novel explores the dangerous impact discrimination and antisemitism have on one community when a school assignment goes terribly wrong.

Would you defend the indefensible? That’s what seniors Logan and Cade are asked to do when a favourite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution–the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand, and as the school addresses the teens’ refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well.

LIZA WIEMER is a columnist for the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. She has given over 500 presentations and interviews about The Assignment, including NPR, ABC and the Jerusalem Post. A graduate of UW-Madison and an award-winning educator, Liza lives in Milwaukee.

SPONSORED BY CIJA


IDENTITY AND MEMORY

Thu Feb 16, 6:00pm   $18  TICKETS
AYELET TSABARI – The Art of Leaving: A Memoir

WINNER OF THE CANADIAN JEWISH LITERARY AWARD

“Ayelet Tsabari is a fierce-tender writer. Her work is an enchanting mix of vivid anecdote and vigorous insight — spanning generations and geographies, glittering with humour and heart.”

An intimate memoir in essays by the award-winning Israeli writer who travels the world, from New York to India, searching for love, belonging, and an escape from grief. Falling in and out of love with countries, men and women, drugs and alcohol, and refusing to settle in one place, she struggles to define herself as a writer in a new language. With fierce emotional prose, Tsabari crafts a beautiful meditation about the universal attempt to define one’s identity, to find a place where we belong, and the sense of home we eventually find within ourselves.

AYELET TSABARI was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. She studied film and photography at Capilano University in Vancouver. Her first book, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. She teaches creative writing at the University of Guelph.


CLOSING NIGHT – OPERA IN TIMES OF WAR

FEATURING LIVE PERFORMANCES

Thu Feb 16, 8:00pm   $20  TICKETS
ISABEL VINCENTOverture of Hope: Two Sisters’ Daring Plan that Saved Opera’s Jewish Stars from the Third Reich

Schindler’s List meets The Sound of Music as bestselling investigative journalist Isabel Vincent delves into pre-World-War-II history to recover the amazing story of two British spinsters who masterminded a plan to spirit dozens of Jewish stars and personnel of the German and Austrian opera to England and save them from a terrible fate under the Third Reich.

Europe, 1937. Two British sisters, one a dowdy typist, the other a soon-to-be famous romance novelist. One shared passion for opera. In love with the music, they frequently travel to Germany and Austria to see their favourite opera stars perform. Becoming aware of the dark war clouds gathering, the two middle-aged British spinsters form a secret cabal right under Hitler’s nose and get to work saving lives. Along with Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss (a favorite of Hitler, but quietly working with the Cooks) the sisters conspire to bring together worldwide opera aficionados and insiders in an international operation meant to rescue Jews in the opera from their looming horrific fate and spirit them to safety in England.

Packed with original research and vividly told with suspense, hope, and wonder, this singular tale reveals many new details of the seemingly naïve and oblivious Cook sisters’ surreptitious bravery, daring, and passionate commitment that saved dozens of lives and preserved the opera they love for another generation.

ISABEL VINCENT is an award-winning investigative journalist for The New York Post and the author of nationally best-selling memoir Dinner with Edward. Her book Hitler’s Silent Partners, an account of the Swiss bank accounts left dormant after the Nazi era, won the Yad Vashem Award for Holocaust History. Vincent grew up in Canada and lives in New York.

EPILOGUE 

IN THE SERVICE OF THE PEOPLE 

Tue Feb 28, 7:00pm   $18  TICKETS
JACK AUSTIN
with EDIE AUSTIN
Unlikely Insider: A West Coast Advocate in Ottawa
In conversation with Ronald Stern

The memoir by former federal cabinet minister and senator Jack Austin comes as a welcome reminder of the value of public service as a force for economic progress, social justice, and nation-building.

With both historical perspective and an eye to the future, Austin reflects on events and people whose impacts are still felt, and on the enduring challenges of Canadian life.

Moving away from colonial domination of Indigenous Peoples, navigating our pivotal relationship with the United States and engagement with China, the nature and purpose of the Senate: these remain timely concerns, to which Austin has made significant contributions.
As a British Columbian, Austin worked to ensure that his province’s perspectives and interests mattered in Ottawa; as someone who came from a disadvantaged background, he is sensitive to the need to make the country a place of fairness and opportunity for all. Unlikely Insider reminds Canadians that inclusion – regional, social, and demographic – makes our nation both stronger and more just.

JACK AUSTIN, a former cabinet member and senator, has been involved in politics and public policy at the highest levels for more than fifty years. He lives in Vancouver.

EDIE AUSTIN is editorial page editor of the Montreal Gazette.

RONALD N. STERN, LL.B.is the founder and President of Stern Partners.

SPONSORED BY ESTHER CHETNER