This virtual lecture will highlight the occupations and preoccupations of Toronto’s early Yiddish-speaking immigrants between 1900-1920.


In this companion to Vivian’s Yiddish Voices of Kensington: From Radical Poets to Rabbinical Scholars, this virtual lecture will highlight the occupations and preoccupations of Toronto’s early Yiddish-speaking immigrants between 1900-1920, including finding employment, starting a business, courtship and marriage, fraternal organizations and benevolent societies, Yiddish vaudeville and theatre, and the impact of events in Canada and the outside world. Generously co-sponsored by the UJA Committee for Yiddish. Access to the part one recording can be made available upon request.

Guest speaker: Vivian Felsen

Vivian Felsen is a Toronto translator with a background in modern history and modern languages. Her involvement in Canadian Jewish Studies began with the translation of two books by her grandfather, Montreal Yiddish writer Israel Medres. For the first, Montreal of Yesterday: Jewish Life in Montreal, 1900-1920, she won a 2001 Canadian Jewish Book Award, and for the second, Between the Wars: Canadian Jews in Transition, she was the recipient of the prestigious J. I. Segal Award in 2004. In 2018, Vivian was named a Finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award for her translation of J. I. Segal (1896-1954): A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu (2017) by Pierre Anctil. Among the several Holocaust memoirs she has translated is The Veiled Sun: From Auschwitz to New Beginnings by Paul Schaffer (2015). In 2018, she received the J. I. Segal Award for her translation from Yiddish of The Vale of Tears by Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung. Vivian’s translations of short stories by Yiddish women authors have appeared in print, most notably in The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers. Over the years, Vivian has given lectures related to Yiddish and Yiddish translation to various groups and organizations, as well as at academic conferences, in Canada, the United States and Poland. In 2019, her essay entitled “Preserving Yiddish Culture in Canada:  The Remarkable Legacy of Chaim Leib Fuks” appeared in the book Kanade, di Goldene Medine. In October 2020, Vivian gave the virtual lecture “From Radical Poets to Rabbinical Scholars: The Yiddish Voices of Kensington” for the Miles Nadal JCC in partnership with the Committee for Yiddish, and we are very pleased to welcome her back virtually this winter!

The Committee for Yiddish was created in the early 1960’s under the auspices of the Canadian Jewish Congress to coordinate, foster and promote Yiddish cultural activity in Toronto. To this day, the Committee for Yiddish continues to fulfil this goal through a variety of activities that include classes in Yiddish language and literature, theatre workshops, concerts and lectures, and through its support of Yiddish programming by various other Toronto organizations and groups. For more information please visit


Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

In Partnership with:

Committee for Yiddish

Start Date: February 16, 2023

1:30 PM


MNjcc Zoom Meeting




If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


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