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No Air Canada, I don’t want a Russian flag on my face

March 12, 2018 / 4 Comments
Canadian Soviet flag mash-up symbolizing Canadian diversity advertising

Readers! I took a blogging break and it accidentally stretched into too many years (with a few exceptions here and here). Dipping my toe back in more officially now. On my mind this week is Canadian diversity advertising, brought to you by this Only-in-Canada spot from Air Canada that aired during the Olympics, called “Our Time.”…

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Stumbling into Syrian cuisine while searching for a Soviet-Russian seder tradition

April 7, 2017 / 1 Comment
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Soviet-Russian seder traditions - Syrian Roasted Lamb Shanks recipe

It starts, as these things so often do, with food. My (non-Jewish) partner and I, recently reunited after a short separation, in the sad bachelor apartment where he had temporarily landed. Where familiar, lonely kitchen things still glared at me woefully, bereft of their mates that had landed up in my kitchen. Where we bumped into each…

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First Limmud FSU Canada is coming in October

March 19, 2014 / 4 Comments
First ever Limmud FSU Canada organizing committee 2013

I’ve mentioned this before, but now there’s a website, so it’s real – the first Limmud FSU Canada is coming in October. Of course you’ll be there, right? The organizing committee went on a planning retreat in January (that’d be the one where I yakked about my bukvar and other awkward childhood moments), and I…

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The loneliness of crossing oceans

March 2, 2012 / 1 Comment
Umbrellas on the Spanish Steps

I’ve been writing about a trip I took to Rome with my parents a few years ago. We tried to find the apartment we’d lived in while we were waiting for our Canadian paperwork, but then didn’t. We did eat a lot of gelato and drink a lot of wine. But one of the things…

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Hiding out in the ‘burbs

September 21, 2011 / 7 Comments
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Film still representing the lives of immigrants in the suburbs

Surprisingly to some, many of the people living in the suburbs – places like Peel or Scarborough – do so voluntarily—almost as if they like it or something. Moreover, a very significant chunk of those suburbanites aren’t white and weren’t born in Canada, a fact that raises some rather sticky questions. To wit, as downtown…

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When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)

August 4, 2011 / Comments Off on When all is fleeting anyway, food becomes everything (Immigrant Decor Part 5)
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Russian Salad Olivier - Russian version of potato salad

If I had a Russian food blog, it would be something like The Gastronomical Me, by Katrina K., a transplanted Russian who lives in London. And, if I loved in London, I would be crashing her monthly Soviet brunch club. As it is, I may have to start my own version in Toronto. In the…

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The weight of an English chesterfield (Immigrant Decor Part 4)

July 27, 2011 / Comments Off on The weight of an English chesterfield (Immigrant Decor Part 4)

This next post is from Navneet Alang, a tech-culture writer and PhD student. You can catch his always thoughtful commentary in This Magazine and the Toronto Standard, among others. Nav’s memorable item is slightly bigger than your average tchotchke, but what I really appreciate is how neatly it upends expectations of what, or where, home…

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The faux Persian rug, crowning glory of every Russian home (Immigrant Decor Part 1)

July 13, 2011 / 1 Comment

A couple weeks ago I asked for people to send in their stories about immigrant household decor, an extension of my own musings on the question of whether what’s on your walls impacts your immigrant identity. I got some great responses, and I’m excited to be sharing them over the coming days! Today’s contribution is…

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Do Russian and Soviet memorabilia an immigrant make?

June 23, 2011 / 4 Comments
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Anna Sui makeup display representing Russian tchotchkes

I talked about Russian tchotchkes a few weeks ago. And then recently, I spotted this make-up collection from Anna Sui, and though it’s called “Dolly Girl” and references wind mills, it has an unmistakable waft of the Slavo-folksy to me. $27 worth, no less. I’m not a fan of the Russian “look”—tchotchkes, nostalgia, kitsch, call…

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Still keeping your coffee in the freezer? Tut, tut

April 10, 2011 / 2 Comments
Map of Tim Hortons in Toronto

Breaking news, people. That coffee you’ve been storing in your freezer is really what’s wrong with society today. According to Coffee Common, a coalition of coffee roasters and farmers, based out of the US: Once more consumers understand that coffee shouldn’t be stored in their freezer like a bag of corn; it opens up the…

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