News Articles
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

Community welcomes return of Gilad Shalit

 By Richard Bronstein

The Jewish Free Press

pg 1 photoAbout 40 people gathered at the Calgary JCC at 6:00 am on Monday to watch live television coverage of the return to Israel of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier who had been held hostage by the militant Islamic group Hamas for five years and four months.


Although some had been up hours earlier that morning to see the event live, those at the JCC were nevertheless shocked to see the wan and thin 25 year old soldier finally brought home to Israel. They also noted that during the transfer process – from an undisclosed location in Gaza and then to Egypt, Shalit was without eyeglasses until he reached Israeli soil.

Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

sydneyswitzersocalled3A nice crowd was on hand on October 17 at Temple B’nai Tikvah for the return to Calgary of the artist known as Socalled, a Canadian rapper and producer from Montreal. In a concert co-sponsored by the Temple and the Calgary Folk Festival, it didn’t take long for Socalled to get everyone on their feet for his set of very original and catchy mix of hip-hop, klezmer and folk. Mainly a pianist and accordion player, Josh Dolgin, the name on Socalled’s driver’s license, was joined on vocals by Katie Moore, who also performed a set of her own very compelling roots style music.

A lot of younger people in the audience were knowledgeable about Socalled’s music, but the middle age part of the crowd took a bit of adjusting to the fast paced “hiphopkele” energy of the band.  Towards the end of the evening the Temple was jumping and everyone carried a wide smile.

Temple B’nai Tikvah is beginning to develop a long-term plan to feature more musical events for the community and will be announcing plans for more artists in the coming months.

Photos courtesy of Sydney Switzer.



Sharon Hapton
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

From Soup Kitchen to Chatelaine


Calgary’s Sharon Hapton is featured in the current November issue of Chatelaine as one of that magazine’s “Red Hot Women of the Year.” (See page 138.)

She is included among an illustrious group of Canadian women for her role in starting up Soup Sisters in 2009, a volunteer group with branches across Canada that cooks tasty, nutritious soups for women and children in emergency shelters.


As she told the Chatelaine reporter, “A big message comes with those bowls of soup – we care and we stand up with you in the fight against domestic abuse and family violence.”

Book Review
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

Walking Home makes me want to drive


Walking Home

Written by Ken Greenberg

Random House Canada

347 pages, $29.95


By Irena Karshenbaum

For the Jewish Free Press


Greenberg Ken cr Bruce RogovinIn the early years, Calgary was not unlike the cities of Europe. Its streets were brimming with life. Homes were located close to work and, of course, it was possible to walk to shul on Shabbat.

But after a series of devastating events: the First World War, the Great Depression and the Second World War, Calgarians wanted to leave the ways of the Old World behind and with it how cities were built.


The post-WWII years brought unprecedented growth to the city. The once vibrant downtown, after years of neglect, was being abandoned for the new, fresh and clean suburbs. People wanted escape to the pastoral especially when the drive from Mayfair to downtown was no more than 15 minutes. No one gave much thought at that time that in 60 years such a model of continuous suburbanization would be unworkable. But then Calgarians weren’t unique in their thinking. Most other North American cities were on the same growth path.

Doctor Ruth
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

From Holocaust survivor to Haganah sniper to sex therapist

The making of Dr. Ruth Westheimer – “Dr. Ruth” of television fame

By Joe Spier

For the Jewish Free Press


220px-Dr. Ruth Westheimer by David ShankboneKarola Ruth Siegel, who would later become the celebrated American sex therapist, author and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer, affectionately known simply as “Dr. Ruth”, was born on June 4, 1928 in Wiesenfeld Germany, the only child of an orthodox middle-class Jewish family. Her mother Irma had taken a job as household helper in the home of Selma Siegel and later married Selma’s son, Julius.


Following Ruth’s first birthday, the family moved to Frankfurt. Ruth grew up in the wake of the German Depression. Out of the economic ruin grew Nazism. Ruth was five when Hitler came to power. Hitler’s rise did not affect Ruth at first, not until November 9, 1938. On that date, a young Polish Jew, whose family had been dispossessed by German police, assassinated a German diplomat in Paris, which gave the Nazis the excuse to launch a pogrom against German Jews. On the nights of November 9 and 10, rampaging mobs in Germany freely attacked Jews in the streets, their homes, their shops and their places of worship. At least 96 were killed and hundreds more injured; more than 200 synagogues were burned or smashed; almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed; schools were vandalized and cemeteries desecrated. Glass littered the streets, hence the appellation Kristallnacht - the Night of Broken Glass.

Howard Berlin
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

Dedication of the Howard Berlin Memorial Succah


SukkaDedication 1


A ceremony was held at the Congregation House Synagogue of Jacob to dedicate the Howard Berlin Memorial Succah on Sunday, October 15.  In the photo (l. to r.) Michael Berlin, Rebecca Berlin and Adele Phillipson. Howard Berlin was well known in the Jewish Community for his visits to the ill and infirm Jewish people in the Calgary hospitals.  He carried out his duties in a dignified and quiet manner in accordance with Jewish Laws and Customs.  The visiting and comforting of the sick is a very important Jewish commandment.  Howard passed away suddenly at the age of 61 while visiting a friend in Montreal in the summer of 2009.  The Congregation House of Jacob thought it would be fitting to rebuild the Succah in his honor and dedicate it on the holiday of Succot.

Hebrew Loans
Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

Calgary Jewish Family Loan Association

Eighty years of service to the Calgary Jewish community and in honour of our ancestors who started it.



In 1931, Jack Bleviss was denied a loan from English Jews on the grounds that Polish Jews should get money from other Polish Jews. At first puzzled and offended that Jews were treated differently based on country of origin, the Polish Jews of the extended Switzer family took up the idea. On January 8, 1932, the Polish Jewish Family Loan Association was registered, "solely to aid members who are temporarily embarrassed financially, by loaning small sums to members of the Society at no cost or interest payable by the borrowers..."

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