An Everyday Miracle: Yiddish Culture in Montreal


169 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55065-009-2
DDC 971.4'28004924





Edited by Ira Robinson, Pierre Anctil, and Mervin Butovsky
Reviewed by Greg Turko

Greg Turko is a policy analyst at the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and


In March of 1988, the Montreal Jewish Public Library organized a
conference about “Yiddish Montreal.” Numerous people were asked to
examine various aspects of Yiddish culture in that city. At the
conference, there were any number of Yiddish speakers, journalists,
poets, and writers who were prepared to discuss virtually any topic or
champion virtually any cause. The discourse ranged from abstract
philosophy to practical social matters, such as the case for political
participation, and the nature and characteristics of an ideal education
system. This book comprises the essays prepared for the conference.

The vitality, scope, and dynamism of Montreal Yiddish culture
throughout the early middle decades of this century would probably
surprise people not familiar with Yiddish social history. This book is
an effort to preserve, chronicle, and recognize that vitality and some
of the accomplishments of this period, particularly since Yiddish has
lost much of its status as a working language.

In addition to text, the book contains numerous excellent photographs
and reproductions from the Jewish Public Library’s archives.

For all its obvious strengths, this is not a book for someone wishing
to become acquainted with Yiddish culture in Montreal. The essays are
too specialized and narrowly focused to provide an overview for the
novice, though the footnotes cite more-general works. Instead, this book
is directed at those already familiar with the culture, but who wish to
understand in greater detail the era and some of the individuals who
shaped it.


“An Everyday Miracle: Yiddish Culture in Montreal,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,