January 16, 2017
A Collection of Light-Hearted Autobiographical Stories
By Martin Lockshin
The State of Israel appropriately takes pride in its many achievements. In technology, science, research as well as militarily, Israel’s success seems unprecedented, especially considering its small population. Advanced Jewish studies and many varied forms of Jewish culture thrive. Historians say that never before in history has such a high percentage of Jews had expert-level knowledge of Jewish texts.
On the social level, however, the picture in Israel is far from rosy. While Israel’s raison d’être is the ingathering of exiles to build a new society together, serious tensions abound between Jews who are Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, and haredi (ultra- or fervently Orthodox) and non-haredi. Women’s rights are more fraught than in most western democracies, because of the religious-secular divide and the lack of separation of religion and state. Israeli supporters and opponents of the settlements often do not even talk about their differences – it’s just too painful. Tensions between the 80 per cent of the population who are Jewish and the 20 per cent who are Muslim or Christian are part of everyday existence. Read the rest of this entry »
March 21, 2012
Scroll down on page to see embedded video.
February 23, 2012
An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada, by Robert Eli Rubinstein Jerusalem: Urim Publications, 2010. 177 pp. $24.95. ISBN 978-965-524-044-3.
Having suffered horrific personal losses in the Second World War, Bela Rubinstein and Judit Schwarcz decided that there was no future in Hungary, the land of their birth. Together with a few surviving relatives, they were able to escape just before the Communists sealed the borders. They were trapped in northern Italy, in a refugee camp for homeless Jews, for almost three years. This involuntary sojourn served the unintended but beneficial purpose of preparing Bela and Judit for their gradual return to normal life. Finally, an opportunity arose to immigrate to Canada, which ultimately proved to be a land of great blessing. The Rubinsteins established a home, raised a family, and integrated into the community. Along the way, they were able to reclaim the ancestral faith that had been ravaged in the death camps, and this imbued their lives with meaning and purpose. Yet sadly, despite this remarkable demonstration of human resilience, long-suppressed demons were to gain the upper hand as age-related infirmity eroded their painstakingly cultivated emotional fortitude.
– Shofar Journal (Summer 2011)
December 1, 2011
Robert Rubinstein, author of An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada, winner of the 2011 Canadian Jewish Book Award in the category of Holocaust Literature, will be at the Jewish Book & Art Festival, Dec. 4-11, 4:30 PM, Calgary JCC.
November 29, 2011
Click The 4th Annual Howard Adelman Lecture for the video online.
Featuring Robert Rubinstein, author of An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada,
Winner of the 2011 Canadian Jewish Book Award, in the category of Holocaust Literature
Delivered at York University, Toronto
Robert Eli Rubinstein, An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life In Canada
Published by Urim Publications
The author, a businessman and community leader in Toronto has written a remarkable memoir of the physical and spiritual rejuvenation of his parents, Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust, after the unspeakable horrors they had experienced. With most of their immediate families murdered and the Russians imposing a new tyranny in Hungary, they decided to leave. Early in 1946, they and a few of their surviving relatives escaped to Italy. There, in a Displaced Persons camp located on the grounds of a former psychiatric hospital near Turin, birthplace of the author, they found the healing conditions to revive their hope in the future and their commitment to their faith.
By a fortunate, almost accidental chance, that future led them to Toronto, where the Rubinsteins and their cousins became leading real estate developers and benefactors of the community. This work, however, is not just the record of a remarkable family’s survival in the Holocaust and re-establishment in Canada; it is above all a sensitive tribute by a loving son of the debt he feels to his parents for the character and values they have imbued in him by their actions and example. Beautifully expressed, this memoir is a wonderful contribution to the hitherto largely ignored area of Holocaust survivors’ re-establishment of their shattered lives.