As the year comes to a close, we’re taking a look back on a few of the cultural experiences offered by our Kultura partners. This was a year of exciting returns to in person experiences, as well as an exploration of hybrid and virtual programming.
We’ve highlighted a few events from our 2022 archives. Wishing you a safe, happy, healthy and creative 2023!
2022 was a year filled with dynamic and creative exhibitions, in innovative spaces. From the spring to the fall, FENTSTER celebrated the ritual of baking challah with Parchment, a community driven installation by artist Rob Shostak. The artist gathered parchment papers from across the country and around the world leftover from the baking process. Usually discarded, these sheets bear unusual golden-brown markings, which reveal the distinctive underbelly of this Ashkenazi bread more typically celebrated for its artfully twisted exterior and a slightly sweet, fluffy interior. Read our interview with Rob to learn more.
In 2022, the Ontario Jewish Archives presented a series of exhibitions drawing on their extensive community records, celebrating the history of our community. Honoring 100 years of Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS) in Canada, the exhibition Love the Stranger recalled the specific history of Canadian Jews as new immigrants and refugees over the last century – we too were “strangers in a strange land” – and the central role that JIAS has played throughout its history in welcoming and supporting Jewish and non-Jewish refugees from around the world. Read our interview with curator and researcher Avi Margolis to learn more.
The OJA continues to tell the stories of our community with two exhibitions running into 2023, so there’s plenty of time left to view these ones! The Manor, on view at the Prosserman JCC, celebrating Bathurst Manor, the small Toronto suburban neighbourhood, developed and largely built by Jewish community members, widely attracted young Jewish families. Women+, at the Ronald and Nancy Kalifer Culture Hub at Baycrest, is the first installation of a two-part collaborative project honouring Jewish women and their vital contributions to our community.
SIREN is a solo exhibition by the Toronto-based inter-disciplinary artist nichola feldman-kiss, presenting a new installation of video prints commissioned for the Koffler Gallery. The multi-layered presentation encompasses Siren III, a new large-scale single-channel video installation and surfacings. At the core of SIREN is a reflection on concepts of diaspora, migration and displacement, the paradox of national boundaries and borders within an ecology of elemental flows.
Event and Workshop Highlights:
2022 saw the return of in person gatherings, concerts, screenings, and workshops, bringing old and new friends and colleagues together! The Toronto Jewish Film Festival celebrated 30 years TJFF 2022, as a unique hybrid experience, and featured the best in Jewish-content film from Canada and around the world including International, Canadian and Toronto Premieres: Dramas, Comedies, Documentaries, Archival films, Short films, and more! We sat down with filmmakers David Hoffert and Aviva Armour-Ostroff to find out what they were most excited to see at the 2022 festival.
The Ashkenaz Festival returned to the Harbourfront Centre in the summer of 2022. The Festival is an eclectic showcase of global Jewish art and culture, encompassing not merely the traditions of eastern Europe, but also Sephardic, Mizrachi and Israeli culture, and all manner of cross-cultural fusion. Ashkenaz 2022 featured the North American premiere of Henekh Kon’s “Bas-Sheve,” the only known pre-Holocaust Yiddish opera. The lineup also included Michael Wex’s outrageous new theatre show “Last Night at Cabaret Yitesh,” plus over two dozen musical performances including ROMada, the Ukrainian-Jewish All-Stars, Chloe Pourmorady, Abate Berihun, Mostly Kosher, Nefesh Mountain, Noam Vazana, Jaffa Road, Queen Kong, Gephilte, and more.
After three years, the Holocaust Education Centre returned to in person programming and presented Neuberger Holocaust Education Week 2022. HEW 2022 showcased their exemplary work as leaders in the field of Holocaust education throughout the decades and provided a glimpse of what is in store with the opening of new Toronto Holocaust Museum in spring 2023. Program highlights included author of The Hitler Conspiracies Sir Richard Evans, a moving film tribute to Rabbi Erwin Schild, Holocaust survivor and one of the country’s most beloved and influential rabbis, a specialized Dialogue for Descendants program, award-winning films presented in partnership with the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program launch of their first audiobook featuring film, TV and theatre actor Jake Epstein and so much more! Now, more than ever, learning about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance is a crucial tool in countering rising antisemitism and other forms of hate.
Audiences returned to the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company to see The Great Divide, VITALY: An Evening of Wonders, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, and the theatre will be packed for the upcoming Maccabeats Hanukkah Concert! A hilarious and edgy love story interwoven with a high-energy Klezmer concert, Old Stock is unique music-theater hybrid is inspired by the true tale of two Jewish Romanian refugees finding love after arriving on the shores of Canada in 1908. Read our interview with Old Stock actor Shaina Silver-Baird.
The Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation presented Avinoam Silverman’s premiere of Waiting for the Fall, a contemporary ballet. This compelling new work takes us on the journey of examining our past, seeing it clearly, and then moving into freedom with limitless possibilities. Although this work is deeply personal, its themes are universal. It’s about hardships and how we fall while choosing to get back up – sometimes, against all odds!
In addition to learning Yiddish online (register now for Winter 2023 classes) you can catch up on the Committee for Yiddish’s exciting online lecture series, including Animation Sings New Life Into Yiddish Songs with Jane Peppler, The Holocaust Poetry of Aaron Zeitlin, with Yitskhok Niborski, “A Gallery of Missing Husbands” with Michael Morgenstern and HINDCAST/FORECAST: The YIVO Vilna Digitization Project.
The Leah Psoluns Theatre at the Prosserman JCC was busy in 2022, hosting live performances, film screenings, conversations and events. Follow the J for continuing programs such as Jazz at the J, TJFF at the J, Laughs at the J, The Nosh at the J, and The J Presents. There’s event more to experience at the LPT in 2023!
Sinai returned to Spadina! The MNjcc’s renowned Tikkun Leil Shavuot welcomed back iand in person audience to gather, learn and to bring in the holiday together. There was something for everyone at this the 2022 Tikkun Leil Shavuot – a night of community, study, snacking and more.
Join the MnJcc and many other partners at Holy Blossom on December 17 and Ignite a new tradition for Chanukah. IGNITE! opens with a community-wide Havdalah for all ages, then breaks into a choose-your-own-adventure of arts-based workshops, performances, and Jewish study sessions. The centrepiece of the program will include a hybrid live/virtual variety concert curated by the Ashkenaz Festival, in which artists from around the corner and around the world will bring us fresh musical performances inspired by the themes of the season. All are welcome!