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This Year In Jerusalem

by Mordecai Richler

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list price: $16.00
edition:Paperback
published: 1995
ISBN:9780394281247
publisher: Knopf Canada
imprint: Vintage Canada
Description

"In 1944, I was aware of three youth groups committed to the compelling idea of an independent Jewish state: Hashomer Hatza'ir (The Young Guard), Young Judaea, and Habonim (The Builders).

Hashomer Hatza'ir was resolutely Marxist. According to intriguing reports I had heard, it was the custom, on their kibbutzim already established in Palestine, for boys and girls under the age of eighteen to shower together. Hashomer Hatza'ir members in Montreal included a boy I shall call Shloime Schneiderman, a high-school classmate of mine. In 1944, when we were still in eighth grade, Schloime enjoyed a brief celebrity after his photo appeared on the front page of the Montreal Herald. Following a two-cent rise in the price of chocolate bars, he had been a leader in a demonstration, holding high a placard that read: down with the 7cents chocolate bar. Hashomer Hatza'ir members wore uniforms at their meetings: blue shirts and neckerchiefs. "They had real court martials," wrote Marion Magid in a memoir about her days in Habonim in the Bronx in the early fifties, "group analysis, the girls were not allowed to wear lipstick." Whereas, in my experience, the sweetly scented girls who belonged to Young Judaea favored pearls and cashmere twinsets. They lived on leafy streets in the suburb of Outremont, in detached cottages that had heated towel racks, basement playrooms, and a plaque hanging on the wall behind the wet bar testifying to the number of trees their parents had paid to have planted in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel.

I joined Habonim -- the youth group of a Zionist political party, rooted in socialist doctrine -- shortly after my bar mitzvah, during my first year at Baron Byng High School. I had been recruited by a Room 41 classmate whom I shall call Jerry Greenfeld..."

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Contributor notes

Mordecai Richler is the author of ten successful novels-including Barney's Version (1997), Solomon Gursky Was Here (1989), Cocksure (1968) and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959)-as well as numerous screenplays, essays, children's books and several works of non-fiction. His most recent book is On Snooker (July 28th, 2001). He is the recipient of dozens of literary awards, among them two Governor General's Awards, The Giller Prize and The Commonwealth Writers Prize. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001, only several months before his death on July 3rd, 2001.

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About the Author

Mordecai Richler

Mordecai Richler, CC was a Canadian writer. His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Barney's Version. His 1970 novel St Urbain's Horseman and 1989 novel Solomon Gursky Was Here were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is also well known for the Jacob Two-Two children's fantasy series.

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