The Toronto Jewish Literary Festival takes place in various locations across the Greater Toronto Area over the first nine days of June. The events described below are free unless otherwise noted. For further details, please visit www.kofflerarts.org.
Highlights include a Poetry Cabaret featuring authors Benjamin Hackman, Ronna Bloom and Jacob Scheier at the Miles Nadal JCC, Saturday, June 1, 10 p.m.
Yiddish editor-translator Frieda Forman, Yiddish expert Gloria Brumer, Yiddish diva Theresa Tova and pianist Matt Herscowitz will help celebrate the launch of The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers, an anthology featuring the works of Chava Rosenfarb, Rachel Korn, Ida Maze and 10 other writers, some never before translated into English. Beth David Synagogue, 55 Yeomans Rd. Sunday, June 2, 2 pm. Admission $5.
Historian Fania Oz-Salzberger, author of Jews and Words, engages in conversation with David Layton at the Festival’s official opening night event. Beth David Synagogue, Sunday, June 2, 7 p.m. $15, $20.
Toronto publisher-editor and CJN columnist Bill Gladstone gives an illustrated talk on the new book Only Yesterday: Collected Pieces on the Jews of Toronto, by Ben Kayfetz and Stephen Speisman, and presents highlights from a recently surfaced photograph collection of old synagogues and other subjects taken by Speisman between 1966 and 1972. Beth David Synagogue, Monday, June 3, 8 p.m.
Co-author Irving Abella is the featured speaker at the 30th anniversary celebration of None Is Too Many. Beth David Synagogue, Tuesday, June 4, 8 p.m.
Nora Gold, Martin Levin and Cary Fagan participate in a panel discussion on “Writing and Publishing Jewish Fiction in Canada.” Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St. Wednesday, June 5, 7:30 p.m.
The 25th annual Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards takes place at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St. Thursday, June 6, 8 p.m.
Kidlit!, a day devoted to children’s Jewish literature and various related activities, takes place at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, 9600 Bathurst St., Sunday, June 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Historian-author Pierre Anctil launches his new book, Jacob-Isaac Segal 1896-1954: Un poete yiddish de Montreal et son milieu, about the celebrated Montreal poet who arrived in Montreal in 1910. Beth David Synagogue, Sunday, June 9, 4 p.m.
* * *
Great American Songbook: Beth Tzedec Congregation and Jewish Music Week present The Great American Songbook, with Cantor Simon Spiro, the Broadway Singers and the Voices of Tomorrow children’s choir. The concert features songs by Marvin Hamlisch, Jerry Herman, Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Stephen Schwartz, Sherman Brothers, Barry Manilow, Simon and Garfunkel, George and Ira Gershwin, Neil Sedaka, Lionel Bart, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Rogers and Hammerstein, Cy Coleman, Lerner and Loewe, Frank Loesser, Kander and Ebb, Harold Arlen, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., Thursday, May 23, 7:30 p.m. www.tocentre.com, 1-855-985-2787.
* * *
Toronto Jewish Folk Choir: The choir’s 87th annual spring concert features the song collection Rozhinkes mit Mandlen (Raisins and Almonds) by composer Avrom Goldfaden (1840-1908), with guest soprano Kyra-Folk-Farber and tenor Martin Houtman. The program includes composer John Weinzweig’s 1953 work Am Yisroel Chai and other songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and more. Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Ave., Sunday, June 2, 3 p.m. $25, $20, $15, $10, children free. http://raisinsandalmonds.eventbrite.ca, 905-669-5906.
* * *
Silent Film Gem: Toronto Jewish Film Society and Toronto Silent Film Festival present Laughter Through Tears, a Russian-made 1928 silent film that interweaves three classic Sholom Aleichem stories set in the shtetls of pre-revolutionary Russia, and featuring powerful performances by the finest actors of the Moscow Art Theatre. With guest speaker Kalman Weiser and live music performed by Jordan Klapman. Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC, Sunday, June 2, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the door shortly before each screening. $15, $10. 416-924-6211, ext. 0.
* * *
Arts in Brief
• Active Seniors and Boomers presents Jordan Klapman performing songs of Jewish jazz with commentary as part of Jewish Music Week. Learn how these songs were adapted into hits by Benny Goodman, the Andrews Sisters, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Xavier Cugat, Lena Horne and others. Miles Nadal JCC, Thursday, May 23, 2 p.m. Admission free. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• Film critic Adam Nayman continues his series on Four Controversial Directors with a look at the films of Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Showgirls). Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, May 27, 7 to 9 p.m. $12 drop in, students $6. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Shaarei Shomayim Congregation presents the first in a series of movie matinees with a screening of The Jazz Singer and The Al Jolson Story. 470 Glencairn Ave., Tuesday, May 28, 1 p.m. Members free, guests $3. 416-789-3213.
• The Choralairs of North York perform their 50th Anniversary Concert, featuring a varied program of Broadway, pop and folk songs. Admission is free. Earl Bales Park Community Centre, 4169 Bathurst St. south of Sheppard. Sunday June 9, 1:30 p.m. 416-636-8247, www.thechoralairs.com