VIDEO: How a Jewish soldier fought for religious freedom in the Canadian Army during WW2

Manny Rubinoff of Toronto served as a sapper after he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army in the Second World War. When he refused to attend Catholic or Protestant church services on his army base in Ontario, he was”paraded” or brought up in front of the colonel to be disciplined. Instead, Rubinoff unbuttoned his uniform, showed the officer the Jewish daily prayer garment known as “Arba Kanfot” that he wore under his clothes, and pulled out his pocket-sized prayer book, handed it to the colonel, and waited. He tells “Double Threat” author and journalist Ellin Bessner what happened next.

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Why the Rhine River town of Bacharach, Germany is a dark spot in Jewish history: more than Riesling and medieval castles

A moving van was blocking the narrow, cobblestone lane outside our hotel in the quaint town of Bacharach, Germany, on the banks of the Rhine River. A white-haired truck driver saw that I was struggling to squeeze between his parked truck and the walls of the building, trying to heave my suitcase over its giant wheels, in order to reach my car. He stopped what he was doing, smiled and helped me lift my bag. After stowing the luggage in the trunk, I headed back to the hotel to settle the bill. That’s when I noticed two brass plaques embedded in the street in front of the truck.

I got goosebumps.

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A real-life Double Threat: two Jewish WWII veterans meet at a tribute breakfast at Crestwood Preparatory College in Toronto

They both grew up in pre-war Toronto, although one came from the poor neighbourhood known as The Ward, while the other came from a nicer neighbourhood near the Beaches. Both served in the Second World War, and it isn’t hard to see why they’d never met: Lt.- Col. Norman Cohen served as a navigator in the RCAF and was posted to England and then to Burma, while Lorne Winer was with the Royal Canadian Artillery and served in England and then through Normandy and Northwestern Europe after D-Day until long after V-E Day.

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