Under the leadership of Laurie Sheff, Book of Life Chair, community members are invited to attend an evening recognizing the 24 honourees of the 16th annual Book of Life Celebration. The Book of Life is a program dedicated to the celebration of Jewish lives and values through the inspiring stories of our donors who have left a legacy for the future through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.
The evening will include a cocktail reception and program with guest speaker, Ellin Bessner, author of "Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWll". Her book is about the contribution of Canada's Jewish servicemen and women to WW2.
Ellin Bessner is a professor of journalism at Centennial College in Toronto, and the author of a new book about Canada’s Jewish servicemen and women who fought in the Second World War. The book is called “Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military and WWll” and was published by the University of Toronto Press’ New Jewish Press. It is available from fine booksellers including Chapters, Amazon, Israel’s Judaica, and Target.
For the Jews of Canada, the Second World War was what the Prime Minister of the day, Mackenzie King, called a “Double Threat”: he said Hitler was not only dangerous to freedom and democracy, but was a threat to the very survival of the Jewish people as a race.
For her new book, she spent six years researching and traveling, and interviewed over 300 veterans and their families, to tell the untold stories of how and why Canada’s Jewish community sent 17,000+ men and women in uniform to defeat Hitler and rescue the survivors of the Holocaust. It is a story that has never been comprehensively told before.
Ellin was born in Montreal and graduated with a degree in journalism and political science from Carleton University. Her career as a journalist took her from Canada and around the world, working for CTV News and CBC News, and also for The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press and other organizations. As a foreign correspondent based in Italy during the 1990s, aside from reporting on the Vatican, the Mafia, Italian food, fashion, and the Opera, and of course, on Italian soccer --- Ellin also covered several brutal civil wars in Africa. She’s interviewed Prince Phillip and the Dalai Lama.
Ellin has also taught hundreds of budding young journalists, in her capacity as a professor at Centennial College Journalism School in Toronto. In her spare time, she plays Mahjongg, gardens, and loves the “Outlander” series.
She is married to John Friedlan, an accounting professor, and they have two hockey-playing sons. One is currently studying engineering physics university; the other is in high school. Ellin lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario.