The Defining Decade: Identity, Politics, and the Canadian Jewish Community in the 1960s
Published: September 2010© 2010
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 384 Pages
Illustrations: 24 photos
Dimensions: 5.98 x 9.05
384 Pages, 5.98 x 9.05 x 0.89 in, 24 photos
The 1960s witnessed a radical transformation in the Canadian Jewish community. The erosion of longstanding barriers of anti-Semitism resulted in increased access for Jews to the economic, political, and social Canadian mainstream. Arguing paradoxically that even as Canada became more accepting, Canadian Jews became more focused on Jewish identity, The Defining Decade examines how the 1960s redefined what it meant to be a Canadian Jew and a Jewish Canadian.
Domestic events such as the Quiet Revolution, the eruption of Neo-Nazi activity, the election of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and the promise of multiculturalism combined with international affairs such as the Six Day War, Arab rejectionism with regards to Israel, and the explosion of Soviet Jewish activisim to radically reshape Canadian Jewish priorities. In tracing the rapid changes of this tumultuous decade, Harold Troper draws upon a wealth of historical documentation, including more than eighty interviews, to demonstrate that the expression of Canadian Jewishness was an increasingly public - and political - commitment.
1. Of Faith and Thanksgiving
2. A Third Solitude
3. Second City
4. The Last Torah in the Fire
5. Prestige Pride
6. 'The Maddest and Most Passionate Fling'
7. 'Let Them Have It'
‘This is no dry academic tome and, as in his previous books, Troper is a fine raconteur. The book caps extensive research into previously untold stories of individuals and institutions that populated the Jewish community’s landscape in the 1960s and is replete with colourful anecdotes and quotes from literary and news publications of the time… This volume should appeal especially to the current generation of Jewish leaders and activists, who know little of how what they now take for granted came about.’ Shira Herzog: Literary Review of Canada, May 2011
‘The Defining Decade is a thoroughly researched, well written account of Canadian Jewish community's emergence from the shadows into daylight… The author's obvious scholarship is embellished with incisive observations, telling statistics, crisp anecdotes and occasional splashes of humour. This book should appeal to readers who have a hearty interest in Canadian and Toronto Jewish history.’ Bill Gladstone, The Canadian Jewish News, March 22, 2012
'Canadian Jewry during the 1960s underwent major transformations as the community grew in size, diversified, and asserted itself in new ways. A nuanced portrait of one ethnic community's evolving self-perception, The Defining Decade tells this compelling story with energy, clarity, and purpose.' Gerald Tulchinsky, Department of History, Queen's University, and author of Canada's Jews: A People's History
'This wonderfully written and well-researched book adds an important facet to our evolving understanding of the sixties, firmly and passionately planting the Jewish "third solitude" experience of the period within its Canadian and international contexts. Troper shows how the Canadian Jewish identity was jolted not only by the activism and not-so-quiet revolutions of sixties North America, but also by the dramatic politics of Israel and the Middle East, especially the 1967 Six Day War. Essential reading for anyone who wants to truly understand the full sixties experience in Canada.' Dimitry Anastakis, Department of History, Trent University, and editor, The Sixties: Passion, Politics, and Style
'Harold Troper has written the definitive book about what he calls the Defining Decade. This insightful, well-written, lively work not only tells the story of Canadian Jewry during the 1960s, but it illuminates important changes that were occurring throughout Canadian society and among Canadian Jewry's prominent next-door neighbour, the American Jewish community.' Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University
- Winner - Jewish Public Library J.I. Segal Canadian Jewish Studies Award
- Winner - Helen & Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Scholarship from the Koffler Centre of the Arts