Thursday, September 08, 2011

Book Notes: Miller and Ross on The Junction Shul

First book launch of the season, I went up to the Ontario Jewish Archives at the Lipa Green Centre in north Toronto for a celebration of One Hundred Years at the Junction Shul by Lorne S. Miller and Neil Ross. The Junction Shul is the oldest purpose-built synagogue in Ontario, apparently. It was the centre of a small Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto that thrived in the early 20th century and has now almost entirely disappeared  -- but descendants and enthusiasts who mostly live elsewhere in the city keep the shul open and operating, even though it has only had one rabbi in the century. The launch seemed like one of those little triumphs for local and community history that happen all over the country.

I was impressed by the depth of community feeling for this nearly-abandoned synagogue among the children and grandchildren of the people who were actually raised in and around it. There was equal enthusiasm for the book aboutit.  For some occasions, there really is nothing like a book.  No one lining up for a signature last night was asking for the ebook version.

My heart went out to co-author Miller, who was ill and unable to attend his own launch party. Miller did almost a hundred interviews for this small book, and transcribed every one -- creating an archive as well as drawing on one. Get well soon.

The book is handsomely produced by ECW Press of Toronto but not visible on their website right now.
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