Montreal's Jewish neighbourhood of Papineau
Bar Mitzvahs, intermarriage, divorce, food
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Q: What about things like, uh, did anybody marry someone who wasn't Jewish?
A: You asked me about the Herman family. Somebody that married who wasn't Jewish,
and it was Really bad.
Q: "Really bad" meaning people would..?
A: Like, "would you believe that?" That kind of thing. And I know Archie Cohen, who was a friend
of mine, he lived on De La Roche St., his mother was French-Canadian and his father Jewish,
and everybody knew it, I mean, nothing, y'know, but...
Q: Had she converted?
A: I think so.
Q: ...but it was a big deal. What about divorces? Are they around then?
A: (Pause) I dont think I know of one divorce.
Q: What about people getting pregnant?
A: Well, uh, Madeleine, an Italian girl on Cartier street, got pregnant before
she got married, it's Madeleine or Margaret, I think Madeleine. Margaret was the one that Dave
Kunigas had a picture of.
Q: You said there were Bar Mitzvahs?
A: Oh, well, Bar Mitzvahs were like a, a religious thing... (pause) there's no such thing
as non-bar mitzvah.
Q: They had a big celebration or not as big?
A: Not, nothing like now... myself i just went up and said my thing.
Q: And was that common?
A: Particularly, in my case i think more than others, because my mother gave birth to judy about the same time.
Q: What about your friends?
A: No, they're all small, yeah, small things.
Q: Was there such thing as klezmer music going on? Recognizable as that ?
A: When i hear some klezmer music now, there's some of it that my mother used to sing and dance to.
Q: At a wedding - did you go to any weddings? While you were a kid, before you were marrigeable age yourself?
A: (Pause) Would you believe, I don't think I ever went to a wedding.
Q: Ok, weddings for your friends: what music would people play? What would they listen to? Was it
Jewish stuff or stuff on the radio?
A: I think Jewish stuff, yeah.
Q: You don't know of any tunes?
Q: And food. what was, like, what did you usually get? Boiled chicken, like we used to get from Muriel?
A: Boiled chicken, gefilte fish, flanken, uh, borscht, um, halashkes, particularly us because we were
Russian, you know, we were immigrants. So... all of that.
Q: At klezklamp they're constantly making jokes about chullent. Did you get that?
A: Chullent, yeah. What did they say about that?
Q: How bad it is, you have to make it well ahead of time, I don't know why it's the butt of jokes.
A: ...and my mother would make cherry jam that i flipped over, and apple pie, and when we were up in the
country we'd pick chokecherries, they make wonderful jam.
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