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A Forgotten Land: Growing Up in the Jewish Pale
May 17, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
A Forgotten Land: Growing up in the Jewish Pale
Speaker: Lisa Cooper
Shaarei Shomayim, 470 Glencairn Avenue, Toronto
Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Doors open at 7:30 pm
Lisa Cooper will talk about shtetl life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in a presentation relevant in particular to those with Ukrainian or Lithuanian ancestry, but also to those whose relatives came from Poland or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. She will discuss the major historical events that affected the Jewish community at that time: pogroms, World War I, the Russian Revolution, Civil War and famine, and, of course, emigration to Canada. She will also discuss the lengths that many people went to in order to ensure their family survived those terrible times.
Lisa’s book, A Forgotten Land: Growing up in the Jewish Pale, is based on recorded conversations Lisa’s father had with his mother Pearl about her early life in the Russian Empire. So many Jewish immigrants refused to talk about the ‘old country’, choosing to forget the unhappy times, not to pass on their memories. Lisa is fortunate that her grandmother was a great storyteller. Her father, who grew up in Canada surrounded by these tales of shtetl life, later made recordings of these stories in the 1970s, before Pearl died. Lisa asked her father to translate the recordings (from the Yiddish) before he himself passed away, and turned them into a book so that we, today, can better understand how our ancestors lived – and how so many of them died.
Lisa Cooper is a British journalist, writer and artist visiting Toronto for a family celebration. She studied Russian at Edinburgh University, attracted by a passion for languages and a fascination with the country’s people and history. As a student, she spent a year in the southern Russian city of Voronezh during another of the country’s momentous turning points – the dismantling of the Soviet Union. Armed with an old address dating from the 1960s and a family tree, she made contact with cousins in Kiev, who introduced her to a web of relatives she knew nothing about. The experience helped breed an interest in both family history and Ukrainian Jewish history. See Lisa Cooperfor more information.
Members: Free Guests: $5
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