Best Of The Web
“My great-grandmother Sarah Feinstein was murdered on Aug. 1, 1913, in Winnipeg’s “Hebrew Colony.” The city’s only unsolved homicide that year, it made the Canadian newspapers from Toronto to Vancouver, in English and Yiddish. The Winnipeg Tribune called it “without doubt one of the most mysterious occurrences ever recorded in the annals of this city.”
A century later, when I set out to investigate this piece of my family’s history for a book I am writing about the murder, I knew almost nothing about my great-grandmother. I had just one photograph of her, taken on her wedding day. She is standing tall, stern-faced, her hair swept up, pendants hanging from her necklaces, her elbow resting on the back of a chair.
While I didn’t think much about it at first, this was also the only photograph I had of my great-grandfather David Feinstein, sitting in that chair with a trim mustache and neatly parted hair, wearing a stiff-collared shirt under a jacket and tie.
Sarah was just 26 when she was killed. Although she’d had a relatively full life in the seven years since she’d immigrated to Canada from Russia—she’d gotten married and had four children—her story was cut dramatically short by her assassin, leaving precious little of her for me to discover; there were no more photographs to find.
But David lived almost six more decades after the murder, finally dying of a stroke in 1971, a few months after I was born. So what began as an investigation into my great-grandmother’s death soon turned into an investigation into my great-grandfather’s life, years of research that revealed many more photographs, and tales I’d never heard, and relatives I’d never met. The things I learned about him as I collected these images and stories changed how I thought about not just my own family history, but the story of Jewish immigrants more broadly—a story that I thought I already knew.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."
"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."
"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."
""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""
"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."
"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."
"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."
"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."
"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."