JQMTL magazine des cultures juives: Quebecers – Who Are They: What are their Origins?

La flute de rafi Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. André Vanasse, a prolific writer, professor and well known Quebecois literary figure. Recent developments in the world arouse thoughts of concern about world order, migrations, religions, commerce, and how they affect the individual. André Vanasse’ expansive historical novel, La flûte de rafi deals with the themes of migration, both physical and cultural between Europe and the New World. It tells the story of  several generations and permutations of a family. The protagonist is a young Jewish man from Poland whose father is a “shochet”, a Jewish slaughterer, i.e. a man who is well versed in the laws and regulations prescribed for the slaughter of animals for food as prescribed in the “Mishnah” and “Talmud” – the compilation of the Jewish code of life.

The project was conceived and executed by Sonia Sarah Lipsyc and she is the interviewee. Here is the piece in French with English subtitles.

This is the first of a series of similar interviews with authors, scholars, and artists whose books, works and oeuvres touch upon Jewish culture in Quebec , conceived and executed  by Sonia Sarah Lipsyc in collaboration with AskAbigail Productions for the JQMTL/videos website – the JQMtl Quebec’s Jewish Arts and Culture Magazine, Le Magazine des culture juives du Québec.

The next one will be an interview with Marc Alain-Wolf about his current work Histoires de famille, histoires de guerre, which also has autobiographical elements about the search for identity in contemporary Quebec.WOLF histoire de famille histoire de guerre

 

 

 

 

 

Sais-tu vraiment qui je suis?

 

Qui es tu?

This was a play created and performed by the collaboration of students from autistic and non autistic classes, and from two different schools, the students of Ecole de la Madeleine, La Prairie, and students from Herzliyah High School in Montreal, Quebec. The project was conceived by Helene Masse, teacher of autistic students at l’école de La Magdeleine and made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Éducation of Quebec. The collaboration offered these students an excellent opportunity to discover each others’ talents, and to appreciate students from different cultures, different religions, and to uncover their different forms of self expression.

AskAbigail productions videotaped the project.
School year 2010/2011

Below is a series of video compilations from the Project:


Une création collective mise en scène par Hélène Massé réalisée par des élèves autistes et non-autistes de l’école de La Magdeleine, La Prairie, et l’école Herzliah, Montréal. Une bonne occasion de découvrir les talents de ces adolescents, d’apprécier la richesse de ces projets regroupant des élèves de différentes cultures, de différentes religions et qui ont différentes manières d’être, de s’exprimer, de créer.

Après avoir découvert les réalités de la 2e  guerre mondiale et les génocides africains, des adolescents autistes se sont demandés « Que pouvons-nous faire devant tant d’horreur? »  « Nous pouvons au moins apprendre notre histoire pour ne pas se faire compter des histoires. » a dit Simon C. pendant un cours d’histoire. Puis ils ont fait un diaporama afin d’informer leurs camarades de ce qu’ils avaient découvert.  Ils ont  ensuite présenté  leur diaporama à La Conférence  des Droits de l’Enfant, organisée par  Human Promise au Centre Gelbert, à Montréal. Par la suite , ils ont correspondu avec les élèves de l’école Herzliah et  visité le Musée de l’Holocauste et la Maison Amérindienne. La pièce de théâtre “Qui es-tu?” a finalement est une création collective qui a pour d’éveiller les conscience sur l’importance de connaître l’Histoire et de faire des choix judicieux pour collaborer à un monde meilleur.

 
La pièce de théâtre Julien est un jeune homme sportif, aimable, sensible mais un peu insouciant. Myriam est intelligente, consciente mais manque de délicatesse avec les gens qui l’entourent. Tout au long de la pièce, les deux personnages apprendront à se connaître. Ils découvriront différentes réalités et leurs valeurs en partageant leurs idées et leurs rêves. Plusieurs personnages aussi spéciaux les uns que les autres, comme des extra-terrestres, Sherlok Holmes, Colombo, et différents personnages historiques, fictifs ou réels participent pour faire de cette pièce de théâtre un moment unique, où la magie, l’humour, la sensibilité, la connaissance et l’engagement sont au rendez-vous.

Voici quelques extraits de cette pièce de théâtre dont la durée est de une heure trente.

Sur la vidéo No 4 vous pourrez entendre un extrait du témoignage de M. André Michel, directeur de la Maison Amérindienne et surnommé le peintre des amérindiens et de M. Walter Absil, un survivant de l’Holocauste qui ont tous deux assister au spectacle.

Yiddish: a tale of survival

Yiddish: A Tale of Survival, is a documentary about Yiddish after the Holocaust. It focuses on three generations of Yiddish performers: Shmuel Atzmon, Bryna Wasserman and Milena Kartowski, and examines the state of Yiddish in the 21st century. Here is the trailer:

Yiddish was the main spoken and literary language of Northern European Jews from France to Russia for several hundred years. During the Holocaust a majority of the world’s Yiddish speakers were annihilated. As a result, the Yiddish culture – language, literature, and theatre was nearly destroyed, leaving many wondering whether Yiddish had any future at all.

Twenty-five years ago, Shmuel Atzmon, a holocaust survivor, started a Yiddish Repertory theatre in Israel. He took young Hebrew speaking actors and taught them the Yiddish language, its music and culture. There is now a first rate Yiddish Repertory Theatre in Tel Aviv called Yiddishspiel.

Arriving in Canada in 1950 with two young daughters, Dora Wasserman, succeeded in creating a Yiddish theatre troupe made up of students and their parents, many Holocaust survivors. Her work has been carried on by her daughter Bryna Wasserman, who recently presided over the fiftieth anniversary of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Troupe by initiating the first ever International Yiddish Theatre Festival in Montreal. Milena Kartowski, a twenty-three year old student of dance, jazz, and opera, from Paris, and a grand daughter of Holocaust survivors, has recently discovered the Yiddish language and its attendant culture. She has fallen in love with Yiddish theatre and song. Milena not only understands the essence of Yiddish culture but also the importance of preserving a culture that is on the verge of extinction.

Yiddish Poster

About me:
 
My name is Abigail Hirsch. I was born into a Jewish family that survived the Holocaust in Europe. I rediscovered the beauty and depth of the Yiddish theatre through the International Yiddish Theatre Festival that was held in Montreal in 2009, and was inspired to initiate this documentary. Everywhere I went in Israel, the US and Canada and shared this project, people of all languages, Jews and non-Jews were excited about it.
 
Update 1/10/2013:
 

We have completed the film and have been submitting the film to Festivals and distributors and potential sponsors.  We held a press screening at McGill University in Montreal on December 10, 2012, Human Rights Day and got some very favorable press coverage. Pierre Landry interviewed me on the CBC Home Run radio show on Dec. 10:  Janice Arnold published a review in the Canadian Jewish News.

http://www.cjnews.com/arts/doc-looks-challenge-preserving-yiddish-theatre

A hartzigen dank (a heartfelt thank-you) to everyone who has donated to help fund this film!  Will keep you all posted on future screenings and how to access the film.

The film has been self-funded and any donations are gratefully appreciated.


Sincerely,

Abigail Hirsch

Pelech Yiddish Class Performs Itzik Manger’s Megillah, Purim 2012

Purim Spiel Pelech 2012

While on a recent trip to Israel I had the pleasure of video recording a High-School Yiddish class performance of the Yiddish musical, Itzik Manger’s Megillah. The students at Pelech High School put their heart and soul into the production, as you can see in the short video clip below. Afterwards we also conducted interviews with some of the cast as well as teacher and parents of the students.

AskAbigail Productions has assembled the full play, along with selected interviews onto a feature length DVD. For inquiries about purchase please contact askabigail@me.com