Saturday , June 3 2023

Brownstein: The book on Canadian Jews bear the distinction of mobsters Quebec


Allan Levine is the author seeking the fabled city, focusing on the Canadian Jewish cost.

Mia Shaffer / design

It was almost equivalent in & # 39; Montreal for The French Connection: The year was 1934. Harry mobsters Ship (ne Chaskel Lazarovitch), "Pinky" Brecher and "Fat" Charlie Feigenbaum were set to deliver contact & # 39; cache & # 39; drug from Paris to Port & # 39; Montreal. But the wise RCMP operation and managed to convince Fat Charlie to sing like a canary instead reduced sentence.

Alas, Fat Charlie paid the price stoolies often pays, and met & # 39; with his maker after being shot six times in the head and chest on Esplanade St. Of course, Fat Charlie would provide some consolation to his funeral, which drew thousands, was then one & # 39; the largest ever kept in the Jewish community of the city.

As was the case with & # 39; political elite, entrepreneurial and literary works of & # 39; Montreal, its Jewish gangsters, a & # 39; & # one and 39; Other eras, were also at their koleġjonisti in the rest of Canada. It turns out that all these Quebecers were – and still are – are distinguished as the province worked and it & # 39; often flourished.

In his exhaustive and fascinating new opus, Seeking-the fabled City (McClelland & Stewart), the author & # 39; Winnipeg Allan chronic Levine Canadian Jewish experience – one that goes back nearly 250 years to the Hart family & # 39; Trois-Rivieres and therefore qualify as members Québequeis Vielle souches.

The Jewish population of Canada, according to the 2011 census, rose about 400,000, and made it the fourth largest & # 39; after Israel, the US and France. Toronto approaching half that number of & # 39; Jews, with a population & # 39; Montreal approximately 90,000. It was not always so. Montreal was a major port of entry into the nineteenth century and early 20th for Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Montreal was also the epicenter of the country for most of the 20th century this had changed dramatically in the seventies, when the spectrum of separatism resulted in & # 39; major offices in & # 39; power of the Anglo population here – including about 13,000 Jews – crowded for Toronto.

But while Toronto had become the most populated and economically vibrant city of Canada, Montreal was and remains & # 39; kaka has for its Jewish population. It is and will always be home for many reasons, probably more than for merely religious.

Writers Mordecai Richler, Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton and a.m. Klein – a poem which take the name of awtobografiku & # 39; Levine, the title & # 39; "Sham city" – sang the praises of the city and satirizing his foibles and thrives in its dark sides.

Yes, anti-Semitism issued its head from almost the very beginning of the Jewish community here.

Since 1806 and 1808, Ezekiel Hart was twice elected to the National Assembly for Trois-Rivieres riding, but prevents occupy his seat because it was a Christian. With the rise of the Nazis in Germany, anti-Semitism was particularly evident here in the thirties.

But Levine quickly points out in his book that anti-Semitism in Canada was hardly limited to Quebec. Moreover, the Christians here have played in Angels & # 39; this area. Many a certain age can recall the McGill University to impose restrictions on Jewish students.

"I tried to cover inclusive Jewish communities around Canada, but probably not succeeded as rijt, to Montreal, along with & # 39; Toronto, really dominate the conversation", says Levine, author & # 39; 13 book including Toronto: Biography & # 39; City (2014) and King William Lyon Mackenzie King (2011).

Browse City is fabled account warts and all roots. Inclusion & # 39; & # 39 mobsters Jews; Montreal is not necessarily something that the community wants to emphasize, but their presence can not be ignored.

"Certainly, the largest Jewish community was so embarrassed by the notoriety & # 39; and both these guys have shown for their funerals", says Levine.

Not having had a criminal past, but Levine indicate how Richler struck by many in the Jewish community for allegedly painting & # 39; transparent look & # 39; it. And, of course, Richler was later to antagonize to nationals of Quebec for his critical essays for the New Yorker.

"I think it was unfair, but people are not similar criticism of their own communities. And he thought it was unfair that was identified as Jewish writer, when someone like Michel Tremblay was not identified as a Catholic writer.

"My book identifies some more clear the way Canada un multicultural and intolerant was. Well, it was not South & # 39; American & # 39; the past, but the anti- -Semitiżmu was so ingrained in & # 39; that the whole country. it's still a little scary, because Trump brought back to 1920s America in its stand against immigration. can & # 39; that spread here ? I think not. "

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