The Mystery of San Nicandro, a film by executive producer Vanessa Dylyn, is based on a book by Professor John Davis about a group of Italian Roman Catholics in a small village. The group underwent a mass conversion to Judaism in fascist Italy, and over a period of 20 years of observing Jewish practices, they left Italy and emigrated to the new state of Israel in 1949.
In the making of the film, the producer discovered a bigger story — that of the powerful revival of Judaism in Southern Italy. About 10 years ago, Rabbi Barbara Aiello, Italy’s first female rabbi, opened the first synagogue in Serrastreta, Italy in 500 years. She serves the new communities of Jewish presence in Calabria and Sicily, and more recently Pugalia and Sardinia, all areas with an ancient Jewish population before the Spanish Inquisition forced Jews to flee.
The spirit that called the converts of San Nicandro back to Judaism has also been stirring in North America, where many people of Italian origin are discovering links to a Jewish past.
Date: Sunday, April 2, 2017
Time: 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:15 p.m.)
Location: Lodzer Centre, 12 Heaton St. (Bathurst & Sheppard), Toronto
Admission: $10.00 per adult, $5.00 for students
Today is the official launch of the new Bookclub-in-a-Box guide to Canadian author André Alexis’s Fifteen Dogs, which won the $100,000 Giller Prize in 2015. What’s more, just this week, the novel was chosen as a finalist in this year’s Canada Reads — the CBC’s annual literary competition about the country’s most important books. Fifteen Dogs is a short but impactful read that will make you laugh, think, and change the way you look at your furry companions.
Buy the PDF discussion guide on our website today for just $6.95 (CDN), and the digital file will be emailed to you immediately upon purchase. The Bookclub-in-a-Box guide (53 pages) includes complete coverage of the characters, themes, writing style, quotes from the novel, author information, and book club discussion questions.
About the novel: A bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto veterinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks. André Alexis’s contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness.
From our hearts to yours, here’s wishing that your 2017 is filled with warmth, happiness, and good books.
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Wrestling Jerusalem, playing Nov. 23-27 at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre, is a solo show from playwright and actor Aaron Davidman. The play, which just finished an off-Broadway run in New York this spring and has been made into a feature film, follows one man’s journey to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Giving voice to 17 different characters — men and women, Jews and Muslims, soldiers and farmers, intellectuals and ordinary citizens — Davidman paints a portrait of the people that live in and around Jerusalem embattled by fear and mistrust. Impassioned and deeply personal, the play explores universal questions about identity and human connection, shedding light on one of the most divisive issues of our time. The critically acclaimed play, directed by Michael John Garces, has toured throughout the U.S. and has been made into a feature film.
Want to see the play in Toronto? Nov. 27 is book club day, and you can get tickets to a matinee or evening performance — usually $36-$48 — for only $33 each. Just visit the play’s website, use the promo code BOOKCLUBINABOX, select your seats, and pay!
As an added bonus, each performance will include a post-show conversation. And if you’re interested in reading the script for Wrestling Jerusalem as well, it’s available for purchase from Amazon.ca.