Articles written by: Irwin Block

Trench Patterns at Bain St. Michel: Good intentions clash with ideology
Reviews & Previews

Trench Patterns at Bain St. Michel: Good intentions clash with ideology

The audience walks into the intimate confines of Infinitheatre and sees her, the central figure in Trench Patterns, lying on a hospital bed. The backlit screen showing the cross on Mount Royal above a mound of trees and hospital sounds suggest it’s the Royal Vic. Scenes of combat fill the […]

Reviews & Previews

Author Peter Beinart critiques settlements, calls for boycott

It was one of the most electric moments in the years I spent as a student at McGill University. On January 31, 1961, Hillel House on Peel St. was packed with students and professors who were sitting on tables and stairs to hear controversial British historian Sir Arnold Toynbee debate […]

Remembrance Day: Younger veterans carry the torch
Features

Remembrance Day: Younger veterans carry the torch

Bravery, love of country, willingness to defend Canadian values and confront tyranny—all are qualities that accompany our soldiers who serve overseas. On November 11, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those who came back injured physically or emotionally from combat. We also pay tribute to […]

Slavoj Zizek’s Year of Dreaming Dangerously: Wave of revolts predicted
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Slavoj Zizek’s Year of Dreaming Dangerously: Wave of revolts predicted

A year ago, North America was in the throes of the Occupy movement, Quebec’s student boycott was being mapped out, and the Arab Spring was reaching a crescendo. What to make of it all? One of the most perceptive analyses comes from the brilliant and voracious mind of Slovenian philosopher […]

First female senior rabbi installed at Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom
Features

First female senior rabbi installed at Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom

The scene: a crowded Friday night at the Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom in Westmount. Excitement is in the air as the huge main sanctuary fills up. This is no ordinary Sabbath service. The archbishop of Montreal, Most Rev. Christian Lépine, is in the audience, as are Protestant clergy and U.S. consul-general […]

Montreal city councillor Alex Norris has a reporter's eye and a politician's ear.
Features

Montreal city councillor Alex Norris fights for a cleaner, greener city

What the heck is going on at city hall? In Montreal, Laval, Boisbriand, Mascouche—just about everywhere that big money is being spent on infrastructure—it appears that inflated prices, as much as double the market value, kickbacks to civil servants and elected officials and payoffs to political parties and the Mafia […]

Reviews & Previews

Review: Ishmael’s House had its genesis in Canada

by Irwin Block Sir Martin Gilbert is a most prolific historian with more than 50 books to his credit, an established and popular writer whose work is crafted for and marketed to the general reader. Ishmael’s House, A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (McLelland & Stewart, 424 p., $35) […]

Lower-cost housing in Montreal’s west end sets higher standard
Features

Lower-cost housing in Montreal’s west end sets higher standard

by Irwin Block If you’re old enough to remember Monkland High School on West Hill, you’re probably eligible to rent an apartment there. Since 1987, when it was converted into apartments for autonomous seniors, it has been known as Résidence Monkland—one of several affordable, accessible and attractive not-for-profit places to […]

Jewish Renewal rabbi Sherrill Gilbert brings Sabbath joy to a simple setting
Features

Jewish Renewal rabbi Sherrill Gilbert brings Sabbath joy to a simple setting

It’s a dark Friday evening in the Snowdon area and the lights are out at the YM-YWHA on Westbury Ave., in respect of the Jewish Sabbath. Only one door is unlocked. When I enter and tell a security guard I’ve come for the Jewish Renewal service, he points left and […]

Quebec voters fear a reignited sovereignty debate, Kathleen Weil says.
Features

Kathleen Weil gears up to fight for diversity and individual rights

The evening before the September 4 Quebec election, Kathleen Weil could be seen strolling along Monkland, enjoying a dish of ice cream and appearing confident of personal victory in N.D.G. Schmoozing in outdoor cafés, she and her constituents were concerned about a PQ return to power, as predicted in the […]