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 Picks
"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."
"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."
"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."
"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."
"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."
"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."
"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."
"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."