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Authority record

Chelm Cultural Club

  • Corporate body
  • 1978-1986

The Chelm Cultural Club initiated a Jewish film festival in Vancouver and maintained it for nine years (1978-1986), with screenings at Langara Community College and Pacific Cinematheque.

The Chelm Cultural Club was created by a group of Jewish friends who wanted to fill what they experienced as a cultural void in Vancouver, both for themselves and for the community at large. Primarily they wanted to see Jewish and Israeli films, and to that end they formed the club in 1978. In addition to films, they also organized other cultural events (ex. "Megila Lider," a Yiddish musical event and a number of lectures), but above all the Chelm Cultural Club was a Jewish film society. In 1980 they incorporated as a non-profit society (see constitution of 1980). The society disbanded in 1986.

From the point of view of their internal organization, all members of the Chelm Cultural Club participated equally and democratically. There was no bureaucracy or hierarchy. Hence the name "Chelm." Amusing as this may sound, it was basic and important because it assured the vitality of the society. In this way, the Chelm Cultural Club was an ideal model of a democratic community organization.

They chose to be independent and not to be restricted by official agencies of the Jewish community, though they did network with some Jewish (ex. Canadian Jewish Congress, Hillel, Louis Brier Home and Hospital) and non-Jewish (ex. Vancouver Community College/Langara, Pacific Cinematheque) agencies.

The Chelm Cultural Club was a volunteer-run enterprise whose operating budget came from donations at the door at film screenings and other events, occasional membership donations, as well as small contributions from other organizations when they co-sponsored a film.

The founding and core members of the Chelm Cultural Club included: Avi Dolgin, Ruth Hess-Dolgin, Shaya Kirman, Shanie Levin, and Seymour Levitan. Other active participants over the years included: Ned Glick, Alex Kliner, Edna Oberman, Barry Rabinowitz, Abe Schwartzman.

Chelm Cultural Club - list of films screened:
• Fall 1978: Miraleh Efros, Salah, Got, Mentsch un Tayvl, House on Cherrlouche Street, Let My People Go, This is Sholem Aleychem, The Dybbuk, Garden of the Finzi-Continis.
• Fall 1979: Grine Felder, The Big Day, The Martyr, Jacob the Liar, Jew of Winnipeg, A People Chosen/Who is a Jew?, The Falashas.
• Fall 1980: Yidl Mitn Fidl, Daughters Daughters, Number Our Days, The Fifth Horseman is Fear, Free Voice of Labor, Music of Auschwitz.
• Fall 1981: Der Purimshpiler, The Dreamer, Bye Bye Braverman, Jerusalem File, Journey to Heritage, 20 Years Later, A Brivele Der Mamen.
• Fall 1982: Mamele, Image Before Our Eyes, Kazablan, The Dybbuk.
• Fall 1983: One Hundred and Two Mature, The Golden Age of Second Avenue, Memorandum, 20 Years Later, Routes of Exile: A Moroccan Jewish Odyssey, The Wooden Gun/Rove Huliot.
• Fall 1984: Tevye, Jacob the Liar, Kaddish, Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?.
• Fall 1985: Routes of Exile, Catskill Honeymoon, Ra'ananah, Dark Lullabies.

Chelm Cultural Club - other activities:
• January 1979: Professor Eugene Orenstein, Moshe Leib Halpern: A Great American Yiddish Writer and His Times.
• March 1979: A Purim Celebration.
• Fall 1985: Concert with Michael Alpert.

Chertkow Family

  • A.2020.003
  • Family
  • 1955 - 1984

Gloria Gutman and Carol Gutman were born to Rachelle and David Chertkow and were two of four sisters; Patsy and Judy being the remaining two. Their mother Rachelle was a concert pianist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra until she married David Chertkow and moved to Drumheller, Alberta, where David was a lawyer. During her childhood, Gloria lived in Seattle, Drumheller, Calgary, and lastly, she and her family moved to Vancouver in 1945.

Gloria Gutman (née Chertkow)
Gloria Gutman was very involved with the B’nai B’rith youth organization where she served as Intergroup Chairman, Sentinel, Treasurer, Vice-President and lastly, District President. Gloria graduated from Prince of Wales High School and afterwards received a BA in Psychology from UBC, an MA in the Psychology of Aging from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. in Developmental and Social Psychology from UBC. As quoted on SFU’s website; “Gloria Gutman, Ph.D., developed the Gerontology Research Centre and Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and was Director of both from 1982–2005. She is currently a Research Associate and Professor Emerita at SFU. Dr. Gutman is the author/editor of 23 books”. In 2012, she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, by the Government of Canada, and in 2016, she was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.

Carol Herbert (née Chertkow)
Carol Herbert graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 1966 alongside first-year Medicine when she was 19 years old. Carol became a family practitioner which combined her passion for the sciences, arts, and humanities. After dedicating herself to family practice research and teaching at UBC and chairing the department for ten years, Carol moved to London, Ontario. At the University of Western Ontario, she was appointed Dean of Medicine & Dentistry. Here, Carol was able to find a generous donor, renaming the faculty to the “Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry”. The school expanded and under Carol’s supervision, a campus in Windsor, Ontario, was opened. This doubled student enrolment and doubled research funding and introduced an undergraduate medical sciences degree. After retiring from her position as Dean, Carol returned to Vancouver where she became a visiting professor at UBC.

Congregation Beth Israel

  • Congregation Beth Israel
  • Corporate body
  • 1932-

Congregation Beth Israel was formed August 2, 1932 as a Conservative synagogue in cooperation with United Synagogue of America. It was first housed in the then existing Jewish Community Centre at 11th and Oak Street. Services were held there from 1932 to 1948. Mr. Nathan Bell was the first President of the Congregation, Mrs. Etta Koenisberg the first Sisterhood President. Rabbi Benzion Bokser was hired September 1, 1932 as the Congregation’s first Rabbi. The School was established in 1933, and the choir was formed shortly thereafter. As the Congregation grew, it required more space, especially for High Holyday series, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. A building fund was established in 1937. Land at the present site was purchased in 1944 and consecrated in 1946. The first High Holyday services were held in the present sanctuary in 1948 and the synagogue dedication was held September 11, 1949. In 1945 the cemetery grounds were purchased.

In 1965 Congregation Beth Israel’s constitution was amended to give women membership and voting rights with two women elected to the Board of Directors. The role of women’s participation was first raised in 1969, while the issue of aliyot for women began in the early 1980’s, gained momentum after Yom Kippur 1986 and settled in its present form in 1995. Today women are full participants at all services and in all roles.

Today the mission of Congregation Beth Israel, member of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, is dedicated to the strengthening of all aspects of Jewish life, including worship and Torah study, religious, educational and social activities for all ages, and the observance of life cycle events.

Further Dates of Note:
• In 1970 the Groberman Chapel was renovated and refurnished.
• In 1982 the Koch Memorial Chapel at the Beth Israel Cemetery was dedicated.
• In 1992 the Beth Israel Cemetery Refurbishment project was completed.
• In 1993 the renovation of the entire synagogue was completed.
• 2007 was the 75th anniversary.
• 2012 was the 80th anniversary.
• In 2012 a major renovation and expansion was undertaken which was completed in 2014.

For a more in-depth history on Beth Israel, please see the "Beth Israel 80th Anniversary History Presentation", written by Yale M. Chernoff December 15, 2012.

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