SJN: Jewish Book Month is officially underway in Montreal – The Suburban Newspaper

Posted By on October 30, 2021

The Jewish Public Library (JPL) has announced the return of its annual Jewish Book Month (JBM), through to Nov. 30. Far from being only about books, this entertaining and thought-provoking series of eleven multilingual, eclectic events brings together some of todays top literary minds in interviews and inspiring lectures, along with film, workshops, concerts and Russian dance & culture. Insightful Q&A sessions follow most presentations.

Distinguished evolutionary psychologist and Harvard Professor Steven Pinker will be among the speakers at Jewish Book Month. Here is an interview he gave recently.

These one-time livestreamed events take place in various cities around the world, with the option of attending the Russian performance in person. Highlights include this years keynote speaker David Grossman, Colum McCann, Steven Pinker and Valrie Zenatti. Certain events are available in French. Jewish Book Month is celebrated every November. Honouring works that contain Jewish content first started at the Boston Public Library in 1925; JPL sponsored the first comprehensive book exhibit in the Montreal Jewish community in 1944.

For Eddie Paul, JPLs Senior Director of Library & Learning Services, Jewish Book Month is about the resilience of the book and the exchange of ideas in which books hold sway, JBM is first and foremost a month in which writers and ideas from all reaches of the human experience converge, he said. The events confer special importance on the current zeitgeist because of their diversity, their scope and their willingness to invite open discussion; the life blood of the Jewish Public Library."

This years award winning line-up reflects the polyglot character of JPL's institutional history and identity. Speaking from Israel, JBM Keynote event An Evening with David Grossman: More Than I Love My Life, is inspired by the true story of acclaimed author Grossmans long-time confidante, a woman held at the notorious Goli Otok (the Adriatic Alcatraz) in the 1950s, with simultaneous French translation (Nov. 7); from Massachusetts Steven Pinker continues his exploration on the genealogy of reason with insight and humour in this Montreal launch of his new work, Rationality (Nov. 17); live from France, Valerie Zenatti is a Francophone author grounded in the European and Middle Eastern romantic traditions in conversation with Chantal Ringuet (Nov. 14); and direct from Ireland, author Colum McCann is in conversation with Anne Lagac Dowson about his lauded novel Apeirogon, the real-life story of two fathersone Palestinian, one Israeliwho have both lost daughters to conflict in the Holy Land (Nov. 3).

McCann is honoured to be part of JPLs Jewish Book Month, I like people who like books; they are smart and adventurous and generally have something to talk about, he offered. The conflict is not an easy place into which we step. The message of Rami and Bassam, the two central figures of my novelthat we do not need to love each other, or even like each other, but we must understand one anotheris something that can be applied universally.

Diverse events continue with Danny Robas singing in Hebrew from Israel, In Friendship Together (Oct. 30); from New Jersey Jeffrey Shandlers Yiddish: Biography of a Language, a revealing and multifaceted history about the mother-tongue of JPL's early founders (Nov. 10); the 16th annual Evening of Russian Culture- Our Hearts Are Holding Hands features poets, musicians, vocalists and dancers bringing famous Russian bard Bulat Okudzhava to life, in English and Russian. Tickets available to watch live in person at the Segal Centre or livestreamed (Nov. 13); and from California and New York, Chanie Ehrentreu, host of The Boss Maidel Podcast, is in conversation with author Fiona Davis in the new series, Boss Maidel Conversations with Female Writers (Nov. 30).

High-calibre workshops cover The Jargon of Hegemony: cultural appropriation and repatriation with the book talk, Contested Heritage: Jewish Cultural Property after 1945 with Caroline Jessen, and rare book workshop Repatriating the Orphans: The Provenance of the JPLs Rare Book Collection, with Nicole Beaudry and Eddie Paul (Nov. 11), and rare book workshop, Missing Inks: Jewish Texts in Controversial Contexts with librarians Nicole Beaudry, Eddie Stone and Eddie Paul featuring volumes from JPL's oldest collection dating back to 1481, focusing on texts whose backstories were controversial and fraught with intrigue (Nov. 24).

As a post JBM treat, charismatic Sephardi Cantor Daniel Benlolo will perform the concert, A Glimmer of Light A tribute to Jewish composers showcasing songs from artists including Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, Samy Elmaghribi, Billy Joel, Carole King, Enrico Macias, Simon and Garfunkel and Theodore Bikel, on Dec. 12.

The Jewish Public Library remains unique among Montreals and the worlds Jewish institutions. Open to all, the library, including archives and childrens library, is a hub for Jewish culture, lifelong learning, literature and cultural programming, cultivating imagination, and promoting literacy, dialogue and creativity. Jewish Book Month is just one of their ongoing, year-round activities.

Complete program, dates, tickets are available here. Tickets are free or up to $18 depending upon the event. For further information: (514) 345-2627

THE NEWEST PODCASTER: Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich, spiritual leader of Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Cte Saint-Luc, has launched his own podcast. It is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and all your other favorite podcast apps. Subscribe today and don't miss a beat!

FEDERATION CJA INTERVIEW: For a recent edition of Suburban On Air we interviewed newly minted Federation CJA President Joel Segal and CEO Yair Szlak about the challenges faced in the past 18 months and their Community Recovery Plan. You can view it here.

FIRESIDECHAT WITH STEPHEN HARPER: Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Montreal on Nov. 18 to speak as part of a fireside chat presented by The Foundation for Public Policy Development in support of projects with NGO Monitor and Bnai Brith Canada. It will take place at Jardin Royalmount. Event co-chairs are Hyman Beraznik, Eric Bissell, Perry Shak and Michael Szirt.

KRISTALLNACHT: On Nov. 9, the world will join International March of the Living to commemorate Kristallnacht. Messages from around the world will be projected onto the Old City Walls of Jerusalem, on houses of prayer and public institutions around the world

On the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis organized the murder of Jews and the burning of 1,400 synagogues and Jewish institutions in Germany and Austria as part of the Kristallnacht pogrom. This event is one of the seminal moments that led to the Holocaust. To mark this historical event and to stand in protest against the rise of antisemitic events and hate crimes, International March of the Living has announced the continuation of its Let There Be Light global initiative and invites individuals, institutions and houses of worship to leave the lights on during the night of Nov. 9 as a symbol of mutual responsibility and the shared struggle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance.

Last year thousands of houses of prayer across the world took part in this initiative and left a symbolic light on during the night of November 9th. Messages of hope were projected onto the walls of Jerusalems Old City and onto Coventry Cathedral in Britain, which was destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War. Through this unique virtual initiative, people around the world can once again join this important call to action.

The President of the International March of the Living, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman and Chairman Dr. Shmuel Rosenman state: In the face of rising antisemitism, our mission to educate and to remember the Holocaust is urgent and essential. The Let There Be Light initiative unites the world against antisemitism, hatred and racism.

Adds Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer: Facebook is proud to support the International March of the Livings Let There Be Light initiative as part of the actions we are taking against antisemitism it is unacceptable that Jews absorb violence and threats against the background of antisemitism.

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SJN: Jewish Book Month is officially underway in Montreal - The Suburban Newspaper

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