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Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Bibliography

The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program is proud to offer a variety of programming in Jewish Canadian history, literature, and culture as well as Yiddish that is open to the community at large. All of our events are open to the general public, and most are free of charge.

Upcoming Events

Thursday December 1, 2016 at 8 pm – MHN (Arts), 70 Laurier Ave East, Glenn Clever Room #301

The Department of English and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program present a literary evening with B. Glen Rotchin. B. Glen Rotchin has published poetry, short fiction, essays and reviews, and two novels: The Rent Collector (2006) which was a finalist for the Amazon.ca/Books In Canada First Novel Award, and Halbman Steals Home (2012). He lives in
Montreal with his wife and four daughters.

All Welcome – free admission.

Contact: Professor Seymour Mayne 613 562-5800 *1148

Past events

Sunday, March 13th, 2016 at 3pm - Desmarais building, room 1150, 55 Laurier East, University of Ottawa.
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program invite you to a screening and discussion of the documentary Tinghir - Jerusalem, Echoes from the Mellah, by Kamal Hachkar. In the film, filmmaker and historian Kamal Hachkar, a Berber Muslim born in Tinghir, Morocco and raised in France, goes in search of a Jewish community that has vanished - and confronts fundamental questions of his own identity in the process. Professor Boussad Berrichi of the Departement de Francais will be a guest speaker at the event.

Sunday, November 1st 2015 at 11:30am - Limmud Ottawa, Solway Jewish Community Centre, 21 Nadolny Sachs Private.
Come join Professor Seymour Mayne at the Solway Jewish Community Centre as he participates in in Limmud Ottawa, the annual festival of Jewish learning, culture and creativity. Come out for a firsthand introduction to Seymour’s trilingual book of humorous short stories: Soap and Homegrown Laughter. Readings in English, French, and Hebrew. Commentary and discussion with Joanne Desroches, Seymour Mayne and Sara Vered.

Wednesday, November 4th 2015 at 7:30pm - Hamelin Hall (Arts), University of Ottawa campus.
The Faculty of Arts, in collaboration with the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies, would like to welcome the internationally acclaimed poet, David Solway, to read from his newest collection: Installations, published by Signal Editions/Vehicule Press. David Soloway has received many honours for his work, including recognition by the Francophone literary community. He was awarded Le Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal for Franklin's Passage; Le prix Spirale for Le bon prof, and the Bourse de carrière from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. A new poetry book, The Herb Garden: from the Poems of Bartholomew the Englishman, is slated for 2017 with Guernica Editions.

Sunday, September 20th 2015 7:30pm – Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
In honour of Leonard Cohen’s 81st birthday, The University of Ottawa, in conjunction with the Vered Program,; the UESA and the Faculty of Arts English Department, would like to invite you to a night of poetry and  music. There will be many readings by local Ottawa poets of Cohen’s poetry in different language; the Ottawa group “Towers of Song,” led by Jerry Golland, will perform some of Cohen’s best-loved songs. As well, guest artist Mikhail Rykov will please the crowd with a Russian interpretation of Cohen’s songs.

Monday, November 17th, 2014 – 8:30 p.m. – Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
Come out for a night of poetry, music and food. The University of Ottawa’s own professor and poet Seymour Mayne reads from his latest book, Cusp: Word Sonnets, marking 50 years since his first collection was published in Montreal. Professor Mayne's collection of words sonnet offers delightful, moving, and thought-provoking images that are sure to entertain and inspire.
Troubadour Jerry Golland and accordionist Judy Jibb will provide an array of songs for this special occasion, and many local poets will also share some of their own work in honour of Professor Mayne’s book launch.  The evening is co-sponsored by the UESA and Ronald P. Frye & Co.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. – Café Nostalgica, 601 Cumberland, University of Ottawa Campus
The turn out for Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday was a huge success!  The Department of English invited students, staff and the community to a reading by Ottawa poets of Leonard Cohen’s poems in different languages.  The Ottawa group Tower of Song led by Jerry Golland performed Cohen’s best loved songs.  Guest artist Mikhail Rykov performed Cohen’s songs in Russian.  The MC for the evening was Professor Seymour Mayne.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 – 7:00 p.m. – Solway Jewish Community Centre
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa, in partnership with the Soloway JCC and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, presented the documentary film “The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest” (Lorry Salcedo, 2008), followed by a discussion with Dr. Ariel Segal, a professor from Lima, Peru, and author of the book “Jews of the Amazon: Self-Exile in Paradise”.
Jewish identity flourishes in the most remote of locations.  From China to Uganda, and many places in between, individuals with a strong Jewish connection have reached deeply to cultivate that connection, despite numerous challenges.  This was a unique oppportunity for the Jewish community of Ottawa to discover the story of one of these communities – a community deep in the Amazonian rainforest that struggled to maintain not just a connection to their Jewish identity, but also the traditions of Sephardi Jews.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 –  7:00 p.m. – University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, 120 University Private, Rm FSS2005
The Sephardi Association of Ottawa, the Research Group AEPI, and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program presented “From Judgment at Nuremberg to Life is Beautiful: The evolution of the narrative of Nazism and the Holocaust in films,” a lecture with Dr. Ariel Segal, Professor of Political Communication and International Affairs, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Lima, Peru).
Which were the first films about the Second World War and the Holocaust?  How was the Holocaust initially presented in fiction? How did the representations of topics such as the Aryan race myth, the decision of the “Final Solution”, the survival in death camps, the indifference of the world and the aid provided by the few people who helped Jews and other victims evolve? How can we explain that in recent years screenwriters and directors have utilized humor to approach such a tragedy as the Holocaust? Dr. Ariel Segal answered these questions by analyzing the evolution of genres that deal with Holocaust and Nazism in fiction films.  The lecture was sponsored by the Sephardi Association of Ottawa, the UOttawa Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Research group ÆPI (Æsthetic and Politics of the Image).

March 2014 – University of Ottawa Campus 
Dr. Freddie Rokem of Tel Aviv University is the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa. Professor Rokem’s visit is sponsored by University of Ottawa’s program of Distinguished Visiting Professor, the Faculty of Arts, Department of Theatre, and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program.
Information: Dr. Yana Meerzon.
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 2243
E-mail: ymeerzon@uOttawa.ca

Thursday, March 27, 10-11:30 a.m. – Department of Theatre, Room 309 “Publishing-not-Perishing,” a workshop on publishing.
Event for Graduate Students.
This event will be in English.

Thursday, March 27, 2:30-4:00 p.m. – Department of Theatre, Academic Hall “Possessed by Theatre: ‘The Dybbuk’ at Habima, 1922."
All welcome. Free of charge.
This event will be in English.

Friday, March 28, 1:00-2:30 p.m – Morriset Hall (MRT), Room 251 “The Use of Space in Chekhov’s Dramaturgy”
A dialogue with the students of THE 4123, Practice of Dramaturgy.
This event will be in English.

Monday January 27, 7:30 P.M. – University of Ottawa Campus, Arts 509, 70 Laurier Ave E.
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English hosted a reading by 2014 Department of English Writer-in-Residence Nancy Richler, author of The Imposter Bride (2012), Your Mouth is Lovely (2002), and Throwaway Angels (1996). Shortlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize. This event was sponsored by the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, the Department of English, the Faculty of Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Wednesday, November 20, 7:30 P.M. – Agudath Israel, 1400 Coldrey Ave., Ottawa
Agudath Israel Congregation invited the community to Where is it written? The Midrash of Poetry, an evening with poet and story writer Professor Seymour Mayne who took us on a literary excursion through biblically inspired texts.  For more information: http://www.agudath-israel.net.

Monday, November 4, 2013, 4:00-6:00 PM – University of Ottawa Campus, Arts 509, 70 Laurier Ave E.
The Department of English and the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program hosted Jerome Rothenberg (poet, translator, and anthologist) on Monday November 4. Mr. Rothenberg discussed his recent experience preparing and publishing Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader (Black Widow Press, 2013), focusing on the process of constructing a retrospective work. As the leading exponent of ethnopoetics, he has also shaped “an ancestral poetry of my own” drawing on the world of Jewish mystics and history. The event included a formal question and answer period. This event wasco-sponsored by The Department of English, The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program, University of Ottawa Food Services, The AB Series, and The Canada Council for the Arts. Masters of Ceremony: Seymour Mayne and margento.

October 23 to November 3, 2013 – Three Events from Ottawa Yiddishkayt
The following events were hosted by Ottawa Yiddishkayt, the student initiative to foster Yiddish culture in the national capital region. For more information:http://theottawayiddishkayt.weebly.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013– University of Ottawa Campus, Café Alt., 60 University Private, Ottawa, ON
A Yiddishe Maiseh – A Night of Yiddish Story and Poetry
Come listen to Yiddish poetry and stories read in both Yiddish and English!

Sunday, October 27, 2013, 2:30 PM – Soloway JCC Teen Lounge, 21 Nadolny Sachs Private, Ottawa, ON K2A 1R9
Urban Shtetl Ottawa – A monthly Yiddish Singalong group
Come to the launch of Ottawa's newest Yiddish singing group. No prior knowledge required!

Sunday, November 3, 2013, 4:00 PM – University of Ottawa, Desmarais 1160, 55 Laurier Avenue East Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
A Yiddish World Remembered – Documentary on Yiddish and the Holocaust. Ottawa Yiddishkayt opened Holocaust Education Week with a reflection on how the Holocaust affected Yiddish and its speakers.

October 19-20, 2013 – LIMMUD Ottawa – Congregation Beth Shalom
Professors Seymour Mayne and Rebecca Margolis participated in LIMMUD, the Jewish learningfest of culture and identity. From storytelling, music and meditation to Torah and Talmud, Limmud Ottawa offers inspiration and education – engaging all members of the public and scholars alike.

Saturday, October 19 – Congregation Beth Shalom
A music program of retrospective melodies from Chazzanut, Hebrew songs and from "Music We Love" througout the decades.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Congregation Beth Shalom
Sessions on Israel, pluralism, Talmud, documentaries, Yiddish and much more – all day long.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Congregation Beth Shalom
Yiddish Is Dead. Long live Yiddish! Although Yiddish has been designated as an endangered language by UNESCO, Orthodox Yiddish-speaking communities have multiplied at unprecedented rates. The media has painted Yiddish as a language breathing its last, but also notes its current revival. This session gave a brief history of the Yiddish language, an overview of who is using Yiddish today and ideas for keeping it vibrant well into the future. Speakers: Seymour Mayne and Rebecca Margolis. For more information :www.carleton.ca/limmud

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 – University of Ottawa Campus, Simard Hall, 165 Waller Street
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English presented a musical performance of the songs of the great troubadour Leonard Cohen. Performed in English by Jerry Golland and in Russian by Mikhail Rykov with Peter Crawley (bass), Judy Jibb (accordion) and Ric Kersey (flute and saxophone). Hosted by MC Professor Seymour Mayne. Free admission.

November 19, 2012 – University of Ottawa Campus
Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Atorney General of Canada, and Professor Emeritus of Law at McGill University, delivered a keynote address, "Canadian Human Rights Law, Freedom of Religion, and the Responsibility to Protect 67 Years after the Holocaust: How Far Have We Come?" as we reflect upon and remember the Holocaust during Holocaust Education Month.

March 11, 2012 – University of Ottawa Campus
The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and the Department of English sponsored "Irving Layton: A Centenary Celebration Poets and Members of Parliament celebrate Layton's legacy," a celebration of the writings and legacy of Irving Layton (1912-2006), with readings from his works by Ottawa poets and brief reminiscences from friends and associates who knew him. Participants included Members of Parliament, the Hon. Irwin Cotler who was one of Irving Layton's students and the Hon. Mauril Bélanger, a longtime admirer of Layton's work. This Centenary Celebration was hosted by Professor Seymour Mayne.

February 13, 2012 – University of Ottawa campus
The Azrieli Foundation and the University of Ottawa's Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program presented "Conversations with a Child Survivor of the Holocaust: A Lecture by Eva Marx." Eva Marx authored One of the Lucky Ones, as part of the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs. A child survivor of the Holocaust, Marx shared her experience of survival and the challenges of coming to a new country.

December 7, 2011 – University of Ottawa campus
Montreal novelist B. Glen Rotchin spoke about his debut novel and did a reading from his forthcoming second novel, Halbman Steals Home.

November 2011 – Beth Sholom Congregation
LIMMUD Ottawa: a learningfest for everyone in the Ottawa community featuring lectures and musical performances.

October 2011 – Soloway Jewish Community Centre
An afternoon devoted to the celebration of Yiddish in Ottawa
The awarding of the University of Ottawa’s Ethel Cooper Yiddish Studies Award of Excellence prize to Sarah Gisèle, followed by a musical program by performers from Montreal’s Dora Wasserman Yiddish theatre.

September 25, 2011 – University of Ottawa campus
Jewish Canadian Studies in the Community, featuring the presentation of the The Petigorsky Family Scholarship and guest Speaker, Anna Sheftel (Conflict Studies, Saint Paul University): “'The General Idea Was That We’d Never Make It’: Holocaust Survivors at the Periphery and Centre of Montreal Jewish Life.”

PhD dissertation: The Yuan Army (1271 – 1368)

The Mongol army played a major role in the conquest and unification of China after centuries of disunion. The Army was a heterogenous body that was accumulated throughout the long conquest and was comprised of units from different parts of Eurasia. The main aim of my dissertation is to explain what enabled the Mongol army, on the one hand to conquer and unify China and on the other hand, what caused it ninety years later to fail in suppressing the Chinese rebels, thereby bringing the end of the Yuan Dynasty. My research attempts to better understand the organization, administration and structure of the Yuan army, and the people who led it.

In terms of methodology, I am studying the biographies of Yuan commanders, using prosopographic tools to build a profile of these generals. Such a prosopographic analysis will assists me in gaining insights on various aspects of the army such as its functioning, focusing on topics such as logistics, tactics, guard units, navy and rebellions.

MA thesis: The Islamization of Ningxia under Mongol Rule: The Life and Times of Prince Ananda

Qubilai Khan's grandson, prince Ananda 阿难答 (d. 1307), was the ruler of the Anxi province and headed the Yuan garrison in the Hexi region (modern Gansu and Ningxia). The region was formerly under the rule of the Buddhist dynasty of the Xi Xia, (1038-1227). Ananda was born a Buddhist; however, in 1295 he chose to embrace Islam influenced, among others, by his Turkestani wet nurse. Ananda's conversion allegedly led to the conversion of most of his troops, estimated at 150,000 soldiers.

In spite of being a devoted Muslim, Ananda had a Korean Buddhist wifmself had a close relation with this monk. Yet in the long run, the region over which he ruled became one of the centers of the Chinese Muslims (the Hui).

My thesis examines the reasons for Ananda's Islamization and the impact of his conversion on this primarily Buddhist region. Among the questions I examine are the role of the former Muslim community in pre-Mongol Hexi; and the forced migration of Muslims to the regions in the United Mongol Empire period: after the conquest, many Muslims, especially artisans and soldiers, were transferred eastwards, while others, especially merchants, chose to migrate. I will also examine the role of the army in determining Ananda's religion. While Rashid al-Din presents his conversion as promoting that of his troops, the Yuanshi  gives the impression that most soldiers were Muslims before him. Their religious affiliation might have stimulated his conversion and not vice versa.

It is interesting to examine what role, if any, the simultaneous Ie and moreover, he summoned a Buddhist monk probably for his wife. Furthermore, Ananda hislamization of the Ilkhanate and of Ghazan Khan played in Ananda's conversion. How did his new religious identity affect his chances to gain the Yuan throne after the death of Temür Khan (d. 1307)? What was the importance of religion (Islam and Buddhism) during Ananda's life and what was the relationship between the Buddhists and Muslims in Ananda's time and afterwards?


  • 2014 – Present – PhD student at the Department of Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2012 – 2014 – Studies as a graduate student in the Asian Studies Department, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2011 – 2012 – Chinese studies at Tianjin Normal University, in Tianjin, People's Republic of   China.
  • 2010 – 2011 – Graduate student in the Asian Studies Department, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2007/8 – 2010 – B.A: East Asian Studies and International Relations, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2004 – Graduated the May Boyar High School in Jerusalem with honours – majoring in Biology and Arabic.

Forthcoming papers

  • “Prince Manggala – The Forgotten Prince of Anxi” forthcoming in Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques 71:4 (2017)


  • 2012-2013 – Working in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as Teaching Assistant in the course "Late Imperial China"; Working at "The Louis Frieberg Center for East-Asian Studies" 2011 – Working as a member of the Organizing Committee of the 10th Annual Conference of Asian Studies in Israel.
  • 2010 – 2011 – Working at "The Louis Frieberg Center for East-Asian Studies", the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2009 – 2010 – Internship in the office of the Mayor of Jerusalem, in the Foreign Relations Department, as part of the "New Spirit" Internship program.


  • 2017: “The Tanguts: A Non-Mongol Military and Civil Elite in Yuan China”, Migrations in Mongol Eurasia, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel on December.
  • 2017: “The War between the two Capitals Revisited”, 8th International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities, 第八屆數位典藏與數位人文國際研討會, Taipei, Taiwan, (panel organizer) on November-December.
  • 2017: “Traitors” and Conquerors: Reexamining Biographies of Commanders who Chose to Serve in the Yuan Army”, The Second Conference on Middle Period Chinese Humanities, Leiden, The Netherlands September.
  • 2017: “In the Service of Qa’an and the Ilkhan: Movements of Military Commanders in the Mongol Empire” (presented in Hebrew), The 41st conference of The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel (MEISAI), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel on June.
  • 2017: “From Conquest to Collapse: Reexamining Biographies of Yuan Commanders”, Mongol Warfare between Steppe and Sown: Military and Cultural Perspectives, Sofia, Bulgaria on May.
  • 2017: “Between the Yuan and the Ilkhanate: Exchanging Military Personnel and Its Impact”, 2017 Annual Conference of The Chinese Military History Society, Jacksonville Florida, USA on March.
  • 2017: “Naval Success – Reexamining the biography of Liu Zheng (劉整1213-1275)”, The 26th Columbia University Graduate Conference on East Asia, Columbia University, New York, USA on February.
  • 2016: “Muslims, Islam and the Local Mongol Elite in Northwest China during the Early Yuan Period”, AAS-in-Asia Conference 2016 on “Asia in Motion: “Horizons of Hope”, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.
  • 2016: “Studying the Yuan Army Using Digital Databases: A Prosopographic Perspective”, Stanford-Berkeley Graduate Student Conference On Premodern Chinese Humanities, Stanford University, California, USA.
  • 2015: “Expansion of Islam into Northwest China: The Court of Manggala and the conversion of Ananda”, The Second Biennial Graduate Conference on Iranian Studies, University of Cambridge, England.
  • 2014: “Conversion to Islam in Mongol-ruled Hexi (China):The Life and Times of Prince Ananda”, The tenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference, Montreal, Canada.
  • 2014: “Conversion to Islam in North West China under Mongol Rule”, The China and the Islamic World: Trade and Knowledge” Conference, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 2014: “Islam and Buddhism in Mongol-Rules Hexi” poster publication, part of the Poster Session: Mobility and Transformation, within the “Mobility and Transformation: New Directions in the Study of the Mongol Empire” Conference, Jerusalem, Israel.

Awards and Scholarships

  • 2016 The Aboulker Foundation Scholarship
  • 2015 - present: Hanban PhD Fellow, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2013 – Ida and Charles Wechslar scholarship for M.A Students [A part of the Gutwirth Scholarships].
  • 2012 – Chinese Government Scholarship to study Chinese in Tianjin Normal University.
  • 2011 – Ida and Charles Wechslar scholarship for M.A Students [A part of the Gutwirth Scholarships].
  • 2010 – A scholarship from the East Asian Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for academic achievements.


English, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and French.


  • 2012 – Present – "High School Project": Meetings with high school students, at their schools, and teaching them about China.
  • 2000 – 2003 – Worked and volunteered at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo as a volunteer – took care of small animals and was part of the Zoo’s Youth Program.

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