Review of Only Yesterday in B’nai Brith Tribune

Excerpts from Allen Manly’s review of ONLY YESTERDAY, from the B’nai Brith Tribune, May 7, 2013. For the full review, please visit Only Yesterday Captures Richness of Jewish Toronto

“I was particularly enthralled by the storied life of J.B. Salsberg, which in itself could be a complete book, [and] is indeed intriguing. . .

“Speisman takes us on a panoramic tour of historical synagogues and shtieblekh (a place used for prayer) from the very first synagogues such as Holy Blossom, Goel Tzedec, Shomrei Shabbos and the Chevrah Tehillim to our modern edifices of prayer . . . 

“Kayfetz speaks reverently of the various editors and publishers of the many [Yiddish] papers that existed. . . .  

“Speisman takes us on a journey of ‘the Ward.’ This was the first major area that Jews occupied starting in the early 1800s. Living conditions were, according to Speisman, ‘deplorable, yet not as bad as in immigrant districts in the United States’ . . . 

“We get a glimpse of the Yiddish Theatre in Toronto. Productions were varied. Imagine, Shakespeare in Yiddish, Jewish opera, comedies and dramas. . .

“This book will appeal not only to all who are interested in Toronto`s Jewish history but for anyone to gaze upon poignant photographs and meaningful vignettes of life of the Jewish community in the early years of the 20th century.

“There is so much more. Kudos to Bill Gladstone for publishing this gem of a resource.”

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