Vered Jewish Canadian Studies - Program Events

The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program is proud to offer a variety of programming in Jewish Canadian history, literature, and culture as well as Yiddish that is open to the community at large. All of our events are open to the general public, and most are free of charge.


Past events

Polish-Yiddish Cinema Past and Present: A lecture by Rebecca Margolis
Sunday October 27, 2019, 10:30 am-12:00 pm, Soloway Jewish Community Centre
Leonard Cohen Commemorative Evening Program
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program joins with Library and Archives Canada to host a Leonard Cohen commemorative evening program consisting of musical performance of his songs and readings of his poems. With Tower of Song ensemble led by Jerry Golland and Seymour Mayne, MC for the event.
Thursday, November 7, 2019, Library and Archives, 7:00 pm

Canadian Holocaust Literature Conference: Charting the Field
Saturday, 27 October 2018: Soloway Jewish Community Centre (21 Nadolny Sachs Private)
and Sunday, 28 October 2018: Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street)

Presented by the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program at uOttawa and the Department of English at Ryerson University, Charting the Field will be an initial academic foray into the field of Canadian Holocaust Literature. To date, this is an area of inquiry that has not been investigated at any great length in a conference setting, so the event should be particularly exciting.

The aim of this landmark conference is twofold: to identify a corpus of work and to generate scholarly interest in the field. For the purposes of this conference, literary works include poetry, short fiction, novels, life writing, graphic narrative, and creative non-fiction. The theme of this inaugural conference is deliberately broad, and critical approaches may vary widely.

Saturday evening will feature an opening panel discussion on Memoir as a Genre of Holocaust Literature at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre, while the following day will feature a number of panels at Library and Archives Canada. The topics of those panels includeYiddish,Poetry,Prose,Memoir, andGraphic Memoir and Comics.

Admission is free for both events, but does require your registration on the eventbrite page:

Speaking Globally: Yiddish and Esperanto as World Languages
A presentation by Sebastien Schulman, Executive Director of KlezKanada
Soloway Jewish Community Centre,21 Nadolny Sachs Private
Sunday, November 18, 10:30-12:00 pm
Co-sponsored by the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the The Esperanto Rondo de Otavo

This presentation explores the parallel histories of Yiddish and Esperanto, two languages whose speakers have been scattered across the globe. What happens when a culture has no one geographic center, no one point on the map to call home? How does diaspora effect the transmission of tradition and creation of community? Placing an internationalist reading of Yiddish cultural history beside a Jewish look at the history of Esperanto, we'll explore the mechanics of how ideas travel and transform over transnational networks, and fashion a model for understanding the traffic of thought in today’s globalized world writ large. The session concludes with a lively performance of the speaker's fresh translations from both cultures' vibrant literary traditions.


Sebastian Schulman is the Executive Director of KlezKanada, one of the world's leading organizations devoted to Yiddish arts, culture, and music. He has taught courses in Jewish and Russian history, Yiddish literature, and literary translation at various institutions, including Smith College, Hampshire College, and the Yiddish Book Center. His writing and translations have appeared inWords Without Borders,Tupelo Quarterly,The Forward, and elsewhere. Schulman's translation of Spomenka Stimec's Esperanto-language novelCroatian War Nocturnalwas published by Phoneme Media in 2017. He lives in Montréal, QC.

Yiddish in the New Millennium Symposium, November 5-6, 2016, Library and Archives and University of Ottawa, Simard Hall 125

Yiddish art, culture, writing, and scholarship has experienced a surge of interest among authors, linguists, students, musicians, readers, archivists, and Jews since the beginning of the 21stCentury. On November 5 and 6, 2016, fifteen scholars of Yiddish and over a hundred attendees came together at under the aegis of the University of Ottawa’s Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program for ‘Yiddish in the New Millennium: A Symposium on New Yiddish Language and Culture.’ Organized by Professor Rebecca Margolis, the purpose of the Symposium was to discuss recent explorations and research in Yiddish language and culture, specifically developments in Yiddish ethnomusicology and music, pedagogy, speech, digitization, literature, film, and theatre and performance.

The Symposium was attended by over 80 enthusiastic members of the general Ottawa community. The Symposium papers will be published in an anthology of essays edited by Rebecca Margolis and slated for publication in 2019.

Thursday December 1, 2016 at 8 pm– MHN (Arts), 70 Laurier Ave East, Glenn Clever Room #301

The Department of English and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program present a literary evening with B. Glen Rotchin. B. Glen Rotchin has published poetry, short fiction, essays and reviews, and two novels: The Rent Collector (2006) which was a finalist for the In Canada First Novel Award, and Halbman Steals Home (2012). He lives in
Montreal with his wife and four daughters.

All Welcome – free admission.

Contact:Professor Seymour Mayne 613 562-5800 *

Sunday, March 13th, 2016 at 3pm - Desmarais building, room 1150, 55 Laurier East, University of Ottawa.
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program invite you to a screening and discussion of the documentary Tinghir - Jerusalem, Echoes from the Mellah, by Kamal Hachkar. In the film, filmmaker and historian Kamal Hachkar, a Berber Muslim born in Tinghir, Morocco and raised in France, goes in search of a Jewish community that has vanished - and confronts fundamental questions of his own identity in the process. Professor Boussad Berrichi of the Departement de Francais will be a guest speaker at the event.

Sunday, November 1st 2015 at 11:30am - Limmud Ottawa, Solway Jewish Community Centre, 21 Nadolny Sachs Private.
Come join Professor Seymour Mayne at the Solway Jewish Community Centre as he participates in in Limmud Ottawa, the annual festival of Jewish learning, culture and creativity. Come out for a firsthand introduction to Seymour’s trilingual book of humorous short stories: Soap and Homegrown Laughter. Readings in English, French, and Hebrew. Commentary and discussion with Joanne Desroches, Seymour Mayne and Sara Vered.


Wednesday, November 4th 2015 at 7:30pm - Hamelin Hall (Arts), University of Ottawa campus.

The Faculty of Arts, in collaboration with the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies, would like to welcome the internationally acclaimed poet, David Solway, to read from his newest collection: Installations, published by Signal Editions/Vehicule Press. David Soloway has received many honours for his work, including recognition by the Francophone literary community. He was awarded Le Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal for Franklin's Passage; Le prix Spirale for Le bon prof, and the Bourse de carrière from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. A new poetry book, The Herb Garden: from the Poems of Bartholomew the Englishman, is slated for 2017 with Guernica Editions.

Sunday, September 20th2015 7:30pm –Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
In honour of Leonard Cohen’s 81stbirthday, The University of Ottawa, in conjunction with the Vered Program,; the UESA and the Faculty of Arts English Department, would like to invite you to a night of poetry andmusic. There will be many readings by local Ottawa poets of Cohen’s poetry in different language; the Ottawa group “Towers of Song,” led by Jerry Golland, will perform some of Cohen’s best-loved songs. As well, guest artist Mikhail Rykov will please the crowd with a Russian interpretation of Cohen’s songs.

Monday, November 17th, 2014 – 8:30 p.m. – Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
Come out for a night of poetry, music and food. The University of Ottawa’s own professor and poet Seymour Mayne reads from his latest book,Cusp: Word Sonnets, marking 50 years since his first collection was published in Montreal. Professor Mayne's collection of words sonnet offers delightful, moving, and thought-provoking images that are sure to entertain and inspire.
Troubadour Jerry Golland and accordionist Judy Jibb will provide an array of songs for this special occasion, and many local poets will also share some of their own work in honour of Professor Mayne’s book launch.The evening is co-sponsored by the UESA and Ronald P. Frye & Co.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. – Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
The turn out for Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday was a huge success!The Department of English invited students, staff and the community to a reading by Ottawa poets of Leonard Cohen’s poems in different languages.The Ottawa group Tower of Song led by Jerry Golland performed Cohen’s best loved songs.Guest artist Mikhail Rykov performed Cohen’s songs in Russian.The MC for the evening was Professor Seymour Mayne.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 – 7:00 p.m. – Solway Jewish Community Centre
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa, in partnership with the Soloway JCC and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, presented the documentary film “The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest” (Lorry Salcedo, 2008), followed by a discussion with Dr. Ariel Segal, a professor from Lima, Peru, and author of the book “Jews of the Amazon: Self-Exile in Paradise”.
Jewish identity flourishes in the most remote of locations.From China to Uganda, and many places in between, individuals with a strong Jewish connection have reached deeply to cultivate that connection, despite numerous challenges.This was a unique oppportunity for the Jewish community of Ottawa to discover the story of one of these communities – a community deep in the Amazonian rainforest that struggled to maintain not just a connection to their Jewish identity, but also the traditions of Sephardi Jews.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 –7:00 p.m. – University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, 120 University Private, Rm FSS2005
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa, the Research Group AEPI, and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program presented “From Judgment at Nuremberg to Life is Beautiful: The evolution of the narrative of Nazism and the Holocaust in films,” a lecture with Dr. Ariel Segal, Professor of Political Communication and International Affairs, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Lima, Peru).
Which were the first films about the Second World War and the Holocaust?How was the Holocaust initially presented in fiction? How did the representations of topics such as the Aryan race myth, the decision of the “Final Solution”, the survival in death camps, the indifference of the world and the aid provided by the few people who helped Jews and other victims evolve? How can we explain that in recent years screenwriters and directors have utilized humor to approach such a tragedy as the Holocaust? Dr. Ariel Segal answered these questions by analyzing the evolution of genres that deal with Holocaust and Nazism in fiction films.The lecture was sponsored by the Sephardi Association of Ottawa, the UOttawa Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Research group ÆPI (Æsthetic and Politics of the Image).

March 2014 – University of Ottawa Campus
Dr. Freddie Rokem of Tel Aviv University is the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa. Professor Rokem’s visit is sponsored by University of Ottawa’s program of Distinguished Visiting Professor, the Faculty of Arts, Department of Theatre, and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program.
Information: Dr. Yana Meerzon.
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 2243

Thursday, March 27, 10-11:30 a.m. – Department of Theatre, Room 309 “Publishing-not-Perishing,” a workshop on publishing.
Event for Graduate Students.
This event will be in English.

Thursday, March 27, 2:30-4:00 p.m. – Department of Theatre, Academic Hall “Possessed by Theatre:‘The Dybbuk’ at Habima, 1922."
All welcome. Free of charge.
This event will be in English.

Friday, March 28, 1:00-2:30 p.m – Morriset Hall (MRT), Room 251 “The Use of Space in Chekhov’s Dramaturgy”
A dialogue with the students of THE 4123, Practice of Dramaturgy.
This event will be in English.

Monday January 27, 7:30 P.M. – University of Ottawa Campus, Arts 509, 70 Laurier Ave E.
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English hosted a reading by 2014 Department of English Writer-in-Residence Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride (2012), Your Mouth is Lovely (2002), and Throwaway Angels (1996). Shortlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize. This event was sponsored by the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, the Department of English, the Faculty of Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 P.M. – Agudath Israel, 1400 Coldrey Ave., Ottawa
Agudath Israel Congregation invited the community toWhere is it written? The Midrash of Poetry, an evening with poet and story writer Professor Seymour Mayne who took us on a literary excursion through biblically inspired texts. For more information:

Monday, November 4, 2013, 4:00-6:00 PM – University of Ottawa Campus, Arts 509, 70 Laurier Ave E.
The Department of English and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program hosted Jerome Rothenberg (poet, translator, and anthologist) on Monday November 4. Mr. Rothenberg discussed his recent experience preparing and publishingEye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader(Black Widow Press, 2013), focusing on the process of constructing a retrospective work. As the leading exponent of ethnopoetics, he has also shaped “an ancestral poetry of my own” drawing on the world of Jewish mystics and history. The event included a formal question and answer period. This event wasco-sponsored by The Department of English, The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, University of Ottawa Food Services, The AB Series, and The Canada Council for the Arts. Masters of Ceremony: Seymour Mayne and margento.

October 23 to November 3, 2013 – Three Events from Ottawa Yiddishkayt
The following events were hosted by Ottawa Yiddishkayt, the student initiative to foster Yiddish culture in the national capital region. For more information:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013– University of Ottawa Campus, Café Alt., 60 University Private, Ottawa, ON
A Yiddishe Maiseh – A Night of Yiddish Story and Poetry
Come listen to Yiddish poetry and stories read in both Yiddish and English!

Sunday, October 27, 2013, 2:30 PM – Soloway JCC Teen Lounge, 21 Nadolny Sachs Private, Ottawa, ON K2A 1R9
Urban Shtetl Ottawa – A monthly Yiddish Singalong group
Come to the launch of Ottawa's newest Yiddish singing group. No prior knowledge required!

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 4:00 PM – University of Ottawa, Desmarais 1160, 55 Laurier Avenue EastOttawa, ON K1N 6N5
A Yiddish World Remembered – Documentary on Yiddish and the Holocaust. Ottawa Yiddishkayt opened Holocaust Education Week with a reflection on how the Holocaust affected Yiddish and its speakers.

October 19-20, 2013 – LIMMUD Ottawa – Congregation Beth Shalom
Professors Seymour Mayne and Rebecca Margolis participated in LIMMUD, the Jewish learningfest of culture and identity. From storytelling, music and meditation to Torah and Talmud, Limmud Ottawa offers inspiration and education – engaging all members of the public and scholars alike.

Saturday, October 19 – Congregation Beth Shalom
A music program of retrospective melodies from Chazzanut, Hebrew songs and from "Music We Love" througout the decades.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Congregation Beth Shalom
Sessions on Israel, pluralism, Talmud, documentaries, Yiddish and much more – all day long.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Congregation Beth Shalom
Yiddish Is Dead. Long live Yiddish!Although Yiddish has been designated as an endangered language by UNESCO, Orthodox Yiddish-speaking communities have multiplied at unprecedented rates. The media has painted Yiddish as a language breathing its last, but also notes its current revival. This session gave a brief history of the Yiddish language, an overview of who is using Yiddish today and ideas for keeping it vibrant well into the future. Speakers: Seymour Mayne and Rebecca Margolis. For more information:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 – University of Ottawa Campus, Simard Hall, 165 Waller Street
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English presented a musical performance of the songs of the great troubadour Leonard Cohen. Performed in English by Jerry Golland and in Russian by Mikhail Rykov with Peter Crawley (bass), Judy Jibb (accordion) and Ric Kersey (flute and saxophone). Hosted by MC Professor Seymour Mayne. Free admission.

November 19, 2012 – University of Ottawa Campus
Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Atorney General of Canada, and Professor Emeritus of Law at McGill University, delivered a keynote address, "Canadian Human Rights Law, Freedom of Religion, and the Responsibility to Protect 67 Years after the Holocaust: How Far Have We Come?" as we reflect upon and remember the Holocaust during Holocaust Education Month.

March 11, 2012 – University of Ottawa Campus
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English sponsored "Irving Layton: A Centenary Celebration Poets and Members of Parliament celebrate Layton's legacy," a celebration of the writings and legacy of Irving Layton (1912-2006), with readings from his works by Ottawa poets and brief reminiscences from friends and associates who knew him. Participants included Members of Parliament, the Hon. Irwin Cotler who was one of Irving Layton's students and the Hon. Mauril Bélanger, a longtime admirer of Layton's work. This Centenary Celebration was hosted by Professor Seymour Mayne.


February 13, 2012 – University of Ottawa campus

The Azrieli Foundation and the University of Ottawa's Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program presented "Conversations with a Child Survivor of the Holocaust: A Lecture by Eva Marx." Eva Marx authoredOne of the Lucky Ones, as part of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs. A child survivor of the Holocaust, Marx shared her experience of survival and the challenges of coming to a new country.

December 7, 2011 – University of Ottawa campus
Montreal novelist B. Glen Rotchin spoke about his debut novel and did a reading from his forthcoming second novel,Halbman Steals Home.

November 2011 – Beth Sholom Congregation
LIMMUD Ottawa: a learningfest for everyone in the Ottawa community featuring lectures and musical performances.

October 2011 – Soloway Jewish Community Centre
An afternoon devoted to the celebration of Yiddish in Ottawa
The awarding of the University of Ottawa’s Ethel Cooper Yiddish Studies Award of Excellence prize to Sarah Gisèle, followed by a musical program by performers from Montreal’s Dora Wasserman Yiddish theatre.

September 25, 2011 – University of Ottawa campus
Jewish Canadian Studies in the Community, featuring the presentation of the The Petigorsky Family Scholarship and guest Speaker, Anna Sheftel (Conflict Studies, Saint Paul University): “'The General Idea Was That We’d Never Make It’: Holocaust Survivors at the Periphery and Centre of Montreal Jewish Life.”

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