2022 Events

PROLOGUE

HOLOCAUST INTERNATIONAL REMEMBERANCE DAY

SCHOOL EVENT (VTT)

Wednesday, January 26, 10:00am

CAROL MATAS – A Struggle for Hope

FREE

An internationally acclaimed best-selling author of over 45 novels for young people, Carol’s work has been translated into 16 languages. She is well known for her books about the Holocaust and lives in Winnipeg.

OPENING EVENT

INVESTIGATING THE NEW ANTISEMITISM

Sunday, February 6, 1:00pm, in the NRT

DARA HORN / People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present Purchase the book

DAVID BADDIEL / Jews Don’t Count Purchase the book

In Conversation with Marsha Lederman

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SPONSORED BY CIJA – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Throughout her masterful essays, prizewinning novelist Dara Horn challenges us to confront the reasons why there might be so much fascination with Jewish deaths, and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present.
“People Love Dead Jews is, of all things, a deeply entertaining book, from its whopper of a title on… Horn is a masterful essayist… She has the instincts of a stand-up comic with something deadly serious on her mind.” — Tablet Magazine

DARA HORN is the award-winning author of six books, including the novels In the Image, A Guide for the Perplexed and Eternal Life. She is the recipient of two National Jewish Book Awards, her books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books and have been translated into eleven languages.

DAVID BADDIEL is a writer and comedian. He lives in London. He is also, would you believe, a Jew.

In this provocative new work, British author David Baddiel examines the –ism that woke culture and identity politics leave behind: Antisemitism. In his unique combination of close reasoning, polemic and jokes, Baddiel argues that those who think of themselves as on the right side of history have often ignored the history of Antisemitism. He outlines why and how, in a time of intensely heightened awareness of minorities, Jews don’t count as a real minority: and why they should.

FOR CHILDREN

Sunday February 6, 10:00am  POSTPONED

RACHEL SEELIG & EROL BORAN – Lovely; A Moustache for Carlo; The Chestnut’s Three Wishes

Illustrated by MICHAEL SEELIG – original watercolour illustrations

Lovely – Squirrel and Bear do what friends do best: share their favourite things. Over time they learn what truly is worth sharing.
A Moustache for Carlo – Carlo the Seal Pup wants to feel important, and he knows just what he needs to be taken seriously: a mighty moustache like his Papa’s!
The Chestnut’s Three Wishes – When a lone chestnut falls from its tree one day, it seeks help from the forest animals in order to thrive.

RACHEL and EROL met through a puppy. Could there be a better start for a pair of children’s book writers? They have been living, loving, and telling stories together ever since.

MICHAEL SEELIG is an artist, architect, and Professor Emeritus of urban planning at the University of British Columbia. And, of course, Rachel’s father!

Co-author Erol Boran will not be appearing at the festival.

FOR CHILDREN

Sunday February 6, 10:30am

M. EVAN WOLKENSTEIN / Turtle Boy Purhase the book

FREE – Register here

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PJ LIBRARY

“A story about what it means to be brave when all you want to do is hide in your shell. Everyone deserves a friend like Will Levine.”

This debut middle-grade novel is an inspirational read that will make you laugh and cry, and will leave you eager to share it with someone you love.

M. EVAN WOLKENSTEIN is a high school teacher and a writer. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies, and Hebrew University. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area.

HISTORY

Sunday February 6, 3:30pm

LEAH GARRETT – X-Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II Purchase the book

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LEAH GARRETT is a professor at Hunter College. Her last book, Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel, won and was short-listed for major literary awards. She lives in New York City.

June 1942. A motley group of intellectuals, artists, and athletes, most from Germany and Austria, will stop at nothing to defeat the Nazis. Trained in counterintelligence and advanced combat, this top secret unit becomes known as X-Troop. Churchill’s idea of this new commando unit made up of Jewish refugees who had escaped to Britain was a real historical inspiration for Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.

HISTORICAL QUESTS

Sunday February 6, 5:00pm

ISA MILMAN / Afterlight: In Search of Poetry, History and Home Purchase the book

MENACHEM KAISER / Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure Purchase the book

Winner of the 2021 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Non-Fiction

Moderator: Dr. Abby Wener Herlin

FREE – Register here

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VANCOUVER HOLOCAUST EDUCATION CENTRE

In 2013, still grieving the death of her mother, Isa embarked on a heartwrenching journey to unravel a family mystery—the whereabouts of her aunt’s longlost poems, published in Poland in the early 1930s—which evolved into a broader investigation of her family’s life before, during, and after the Holocaust.

ISA MILMAN has previous published three books of poetry—each of which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry. Afterlight is her debut memoir and first foray into creative non-fiction. She lives in Victoria, BC.

MENACHEM KAISER holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and was a Fulbright Fellow to Lithuania. His writing has appeared in numerous prestigious journals. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

From a gifted young writer, the story of his quest to reclaim his family’s apartment building in Poland‚ and of the astonishing entanglement with Nazi treasure hunters that follows.

MYTHICAL QUESTS

Sunday February 6, 7:00pm

GARY BARWIN / Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy Purchase the book
Winner of the 2021 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction

JAI CHAKRABARTI / A Play for the End of the World Purchase the book

Moderator: Helen Pinsky

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A middle-aged Jewish man who fantasizes about being a cowboy goes on an eccentric quest across Europe after the 1941 Nazi invasion of Lithuania, in a deeply felt exploration of genocide, persecution, colonialism and masculinity, saturated in Barwin’s sharp wit and perfect pun-play.

GARY BARWIN is a writer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist and the author of 23 books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His recent national bestselling novel, Yiddish for Pirates, also won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award and was a finalist for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.

JAI CHAKRABARTI’S short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, he was an Emerging Writer Fellow with A Public Space and received his MFA from Brooklyn College. He was born in Kolkata, India, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

A dazzling debut novel–set in the early 1970s in New York and rural India–the story of a turbulent, unlikely romance, a harrowing account of the lasting horrors of WWII, and a searing examination of one man’s search for forgiveness and acceptance. Jaryk’s quest to stage the same play that he performed as a child in Warsaw, as an act of resistance against the Nazis, leads to a provocative exploration of the role of art in times of political upheaval, and a deeply moving reminder of the power of the past to shape the present.

LUNCH & LEARN

Monday, February 7, 11:00am

JUDITH McCORMACK / The Singing Forest Purchase the book

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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE JCC ADULTS 55+ DEPT.

A suspected war criminal tries to elude justice, as the young Jewish lawyer pursuing his case reckons with a legacy of happenstance and loss.
In a quiet forest in Belarus, two boys stumble across a long-kept secret: the mass grave where Stalin’s police secretly murdered thousands in the 1930s. Across the Atlantic in Toronto, Leah Jarvis, a lively, curious young lawyer, finds herself tasked with an impossible case: the deportation of elderly Stefan Drozd, who fled his crimes in Kurapaty for a new identity in Canada.

JUDITH MCCORMACK grew up in Toronto, and her Jewish maternal grandparents came from Belarus and Lithuania. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Fiction Prize and the Amazon First Novel Award. She also has several law degrees, which first introduced her to storytelling.

ART CELEBRATING JDAIM

Celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month

Monday, February 7. 4:00pm

RIVA LEHRER / Golem Girl: A Memoir Purchase the book

In conversation with Leamore Cohen

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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE JCC INCLUSION DEPT.

In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. Her parents and doctors are determined to “fix” her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken, that she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits. Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist and with the author’s magnificent portraits featured throughout, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story of tenacity and creativity.

RIVA LEHRER is an artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. A faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is currently an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University.

 YIDDISH LITERATURE

Monday, February 7, 6:00pm  

RACHEL MINES (translator)

JONAH ROSENFELD / The Rivals and Other Stories Purchase the book

LISA RICHTER / Nautilus and Bone: An Auto/biography in Poems Purchase the book

Winner of the 2021 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry

Moderator: Faith Jones

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A major literary figure and frequent contributor to the Yiddish-language newspaper Forverts between the wars, JONAH ROSENFELD was recognized during and after his lifetime as an explorer of human psychology. His work foregrounds loneliness, social anxiety, and people’s frustrated longing for meaningful relationships – themes just as relevant to today’s society as they were during his era. The Rivals and Other Stories introduces 19 of Rosenfeld’s short stories to an English-reading audience for the first time. They explore eroticism and family dysfunction in narratives that were often shocking to readers at the time they were published.

RACHEL MINES is a retired professor who taught in the English Department at the Langara College. She was a Yiddish Book Centre Translation Fellow.

LISA RICHTER is an award-winning poet, writer, editor, and English as a second language teacher. She is the author of two books of poems. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals. She lives in Toronto.
Nautilus and Bone chronicles the life and work of the radical, passionate Russian-Jewish American poet Anna Margolin on her path toward self-determination. Blending myth, surrealism, historical fact and fiction, this collection of personal poems brings to life one of the most celebrated Yiddish poets of her generation.

“Margolin’s raunchy, brilliant, tragic and captivating spirit finds a god-daughter in Lisa Richter’s voracious, passionate voice, in a feat of poetic ventriloquism…”.

SPONSORED BY THE KIRMAN MEMORIAL FUND FOR YIDDISH CULTURE

TEA WITH AUTHORS – SHORT STORIES EXTRAVAGANZA

Tuesday, February 8, 1:00pm

RACHEL ROSE / The Octopus Has Three Hearts Purchase the book
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

AMI SANDS BRODOFF / The Sleep of Apples Purchase the book

Moderator: Cynthia Ramsay

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WITH THE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS FOR WOMEN GROUP

Acclaimed poet Rachel Rose makes her fiction debut in a collection featuring an intriguing cast of outcasts who find solace in the animal world. These are clever, engaging stories with a compelling link: the characters, generally living on the fringes of society, all have better relationships with animals than with other humans. They showcase Rose’s trademark combination of whimsy and irony in exploring the universal elements of human condition, from parenthood to sexuality, identity to fidelity.

RACHEL ROSE is the author of four collections of poetry and a memoir, The Dog Lover Unit: Lessons in Courage from the World’s K9, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis award for best non-fiction crime book. She is also the Poet Laureate Emerita of Vancouver.

AMI SANDS BRODOFF is the award-winning author of three novels and two volumes of stories. Her latest novel, In Many Waters, grapples with our worldwide refugee crisis. The White Space Between, about a mother and daughter struggling with the impact of the Holocaust, won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction (The Vine Award). Ami lives in Montreal.

In this masterful new collection Ami Sands Brodoff writes with passion and consummate skill about nine closely-linked characters who walk the tightrope of survival. Set in a gritty Montreal neighborhood that’s been slowly gentrifying, these fierce, original and bracingly honest stories speak to the author’s Jewish heritage, her experience as a cancer survivor and loving mother to a gay son and a transgender son.

SPONSORED BY THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN – VANCOUVER CHAPTER 

FOR BOOK CLUBS & BOOK LOVERS

Tuesday, February 8, 7:30pm

HEATHER MORRIS / Three Sisters: A Novel Purchase the book

In conversation with Marsha Lederman

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From New York Times best-selling author of multi-million copies The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey comes the last in the trilogy that has taken the world by storm: a tale of family, courage, and resilience, inspired by a true story.
Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued.
And this is where the story begins. From there, the three sisters travel to Israel, to their new home, but the battle for freedom takes on new forms. Livia, Magda, and Cibi must face the ghosts of their past – and some secrets that they have kept from each other – to find true peace and happiness. Inspired by a true story, and with events that overlap with those of Lale, Gita, and Cilka, The Three Sisters will hold a place in readers’ hearts and minds as they experience what true courage really is.

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now residing in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. His story became her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

SPONSORED BY:
THE WEINBERG RESIDENCE

THE LUTSKY FAMILIES

FOR CHILDREN

SCHOOL EVENT (VTT gr. 2-3 )

Wednesday, February 9, 10:00am  POSTPONED

SIGAL SAMUEL / Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi Purchase the book

Illustrated by Vali Mintzi

Osnat was born five hundred years ago, at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles. However, very few believed that girls should learn to read. But with her learned father’s support, she grew up to teach others, becoming a scholar in her own right, the world’s first female rabbi!

SIGAL SAMUEL is a Staff Writer for Vox’s Future Perfect. She writes about artificial intelligence, neuroscience, ethics, and the intersection of technology and religion. Sigal’s novel, The Mystics of Mile End won a Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction.

A Day of Art And Film

BOOK LAUNCH IN THE WALDMAN LIBRARY

Wednesday, February 9, 1:00pm

PNINA GRANIRER / Garden of Words Purchase the book

FREE –  Register here

The poems in the book become illustrations for art created long before they were written, enriching the visual with the literary. The five chapters of short poems, some reminiscent of Haiku, deal with thoughts and feelings inspired by the simple reality of living and her wish “to plant a garden of words in my field of colours.”

A visual artist for over 60 years, PNINA GRANIRER has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and may be found in numerous private, corporate and public collections. Her memoir Light Within the Shadows was launched at the 2017 JCC Jewish Book Festival.

NOVELS OF NOW

Wednesday, February 9, 6:00pm

HAL NIEDZVIECKI / The Lost Expert Purchase the book

JONATHAN PAPERNICK / I Am My Beloveds Purchase the book

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An unambitious young waiter is mistaken for an international movie star, falling into the abyss of Hollywood celebrity. Can he find his way out? Does he even want to? With scenes from the film interspersed throughout, The Lost Expert explores questions of identity, sexual misconduct in the film industry, and the sweeping impact popular culture holds over everyday life.

“… One of the wisest, funniest, and most acute cultural critics writing today.” ( Naomi Klein), HAL NIEDZVIECKI is a writer, speaker, culture commentator and editor whose work challenges preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. He lives in Toronto.

JONATHAN PAPERNICK was born in Toronto and is the author of the acclaimed short story collection The Ascent of Eli Israel, and a novel, The Book of Stone. He teaches fiction writing at Emerson College in Boston.

This new novel offers a deeply empathetic perspective on fidelity, love, and aging in modern relationships and provides refreshing insight into the intimacy, shortcomings, and experimentation of marriage. Papernick said his book began as an exploration of Attachment Theory. It morphed into something much more as he realized that there is no “one size fits all” course toward a healthy and happy marriage.

ART AND WAR

Wednesday, February 9, 8:00pm

MICHAELA CARTER / Leonora in the Morning Light Purchase the book

MEG WAITE CLAYTON / The Postmistress of Paris Purchase the book

Moderator: Hope Forstenzer

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1937. Leonora Carrington is a young British socialite and painter dreaming of independence when she meets Max Ernst, a successful, older, married artist. She follows him to Paris, where visionaries of the Surrealist movement are challenging conventional approaches to art and life. It is a bright and glorious age of enlightenment, until the shadow of war looms over Europe.

MICHAELA CARTER is a writer, painter, and award-winning poet whose poems appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She lives in Prescott, Arizona.

MEG WAITE CLAYTON is the New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, and the National Jewish Book Award finalist for The Last Train to London (released in 20 languages).

In this sweeping tale of romance and danger set in a world aflame, Clayton revisits the dark early days of the German occupation – a tale of high-stakes and incomparable courage about a young American heiress who helps artists hunted by the Nazis escape from war-torn Europe. Inspired by the real heiress, Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France.

SPONSORED BY DANIELLA GIVON AND BERNARD PINSKY

ISRAEL: HISTORY & CONTROVERSY

Thursday, February 10, 6:00pm

RICHARD STURSBERG & HENRY GREEN / Sephardi Voices: The Untold Expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands Purchase the book

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Through gripping first-hand accounts and stunning portrait and documentary photography, the book provides a window into the experiences of these communities and their stories of survival: on-the-ground pogroms in Libya and Egypt, the burning of synagogues in Syria, families escaping via the great airlifts of the Magic Carpet and Operations Ezra and Nehemiah, husbands smuggled in carpets into Iran in search of wives. Sephardi Voices is at once a wide-ranging and intimate story of a large-scale catastrophe and a portrait of the vulnerability of the passage of time.

RICHARD STURSBERG is the author of The Tower of Babble and The Tangled Garden. He is the President of PEN Canada and Chairman of Sephardi Voices International.

HENRY GREEN (not appearing) is Professor of Religious Studies and the former Director of Judaic and Sephardic Studies at the University of Miami, Florida.

SPONSORED BY DANIELLA GIVON AND BERNARD PINSKY

CLOSING NIGHT – ISRAEL IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS

Thursday, February 10, 7:30pm

DANIEL SOKATCH / Can We Talk About Israel? A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted Purchase the book

In Conversation with Dana Camil Hewitt

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“Can’t you just explain the Israel situation to me? In, like, 10 minutes or less?” This is the question Daniel Sokatch is used to answering on an almost daily basis. As the head of the New Israel Fund, which is dedicated to equality and democracy for all Israelis, not just Jews, Sokatch is supremely well-versed on the Israeli conflict. Can We Talk About Israel? is the story of that conflict, and of why so many people feel so strongly about it without actually understanding it very well at all.

ANIEL SOKATCH is the CEO of the New Israel Fund (NIF). He served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties.

SPONSORED BY ELIE & ZEV SHAFRAN 

EPILOGUE – DOUBLE BOOK LAUNCH

Tuesday April 5, 7:00pm

ROBERT KRELL / Sounds from Silence: Reflections of a Child Holocaust Survivor, Psychiatrist and Teacher

ALAN TWIGG / Out Of Hiding: Holocaust Literature Of British Columbia

Moderator: Yosef Wosk

FREE. IN-PERSON at the JCC, and LIVE STREAMED –  Register here

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE VANCOUVER HOLOCAUST EDUCATION CENTRE

In Alan Twigg’s words “More than anyone in Canada, Robert Krell has continuously carried the torches of healing, investigation and discourse about the Shoah since the 1970s to counteract ever-encroaching racism, denial and willful ignorance. This digest honours the steadfast leadership he has provided.”

ROBERT KRELL was born in Holland and survived the Holocaust in hiding. After the war, the family moved to Vancouver and he became professor of psychiatry at UBC, often treating Holocaust survivor families and Dutch survivors of Japanese concentration camps. He was founding President of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre which teaches 20,000 students annually. He is a member of the Order of Canada.

There will soon be no eye-witnesses to the Holocaust. As Tolstoy famously put it, what is to be done? One answer is Out of Hiding, a cross-section of stories collected from one region of the globe —British Columbia, Canada —examining 85 authors and 160 books.

Outstanding characters include the heroic whistleblower, Rudolf Vrba, credited by historian Sir Martin Gilbert with saving at least 100,000 lives, as well as Robbie Waisman, likely the only person ever to sneak his way into Nazi prison camps, twice. Discoveries include Dr. Tom Perry’s never-published photos of just-liberated Buchenwald, a little-known Warsaw Ghetto memoir by Stanislav Adler and Jennie Lifschitz, perhaps the only Canadian-born Jew to have survived the camps.

This wide-ranging collection is dedicated to Dutch-born survivor Robert Krell—the MLK of Holocaust education in Canada—who has dauntlessly paved the way for memory retrieval since the 1970s. Illustrated and profoundly educational, with an Afterword by Yosef Wosk, this patchwork quilt of memory and history is the first of its kind to have a regional lens from somewhere in North America.