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Prairie Kaddish

by Isa Milman

Prairie Kaddish

Uses historical and personal awakening to create a kaddish -- a Jewish prayer -- to commemorate and mourn a vanished prairie community that exists only through remembrance.

Isa Milman uses historical and personal awakening, and archival sleuthing, to create a "kaddish" - a Jewish prayer of mourning and commemoration - for a prairie community that now exists only through remembrance.

Prairie Kaddish begins with the author's serendipitous discovery of the Jewish graveyard at Lipton, Saskatchewan, a community whose existence she'd previously been unaware of.The incident triggers an exploration both archival and personal, for information about these people, and what their lives must have been like, and the resulting work of remembrance, which makes up this book.

Kaddish is the Jewish prayer for the dead, recited at the burial, during the seven days of mourning, and every year on the anniversary of the death. Every Jew knows Kaddish, it is the universal prayer.

There are no more Jewish colonies, no more Jewish farmers on the prairies. Prairie Kaddish is an elegy for all that no longer exists, except through remembrance.


5.5" x 8.5" 144 pages
16.95 CDN; 16.95 USD
E-Book Price
Poetry Tradepaper Adult
Isa Milman
Author Photo

About the Author

Isa Milman is a poet, visual artist and occupational therapist who has lived in Canada for the past 30 years. Her first poetry collection, Between the Doorposts, won the 2005 Poetry Prize at the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. She has also published a chapbook, Seven Fat Years, and her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies.

A daughter of Holocaust survivors, Isa Milman was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany before immigrating to Boston. She graduated from Tufts University, then lived in San Francisco and Paris, involving herself in improvisational dance and theatre activities. She obtained her masters degree in rehabilitation science, and secured a job teaching occupational therapy at McGill University. She currently works as a program coordinator at the Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson's Centre.

From the author:I was born into a family that lost almost everything. Our inheritance was a few photographs, an ancient tradition, and memory. My mother kept our family history and tradition alive - and though she passed this on through stories, teachings and songs, she didn't write it down. From a very early age, I felt that it was my mission to do so. How else to acknowledge my parents\s and grandparents's lives? It's hard to explain how precious and deep is this impulse to insist that existence matters. It's a comfort to me to think that in my small way, during my time on earth, I can contribute to the discourse, add my few pages to the astonishing history of human letters, and hope that here and there, a spark flies, a heart opens, souls meet. We're here but for an instant, but we've left a memento of ourselves behind. That's why I write.


Finalist, Award for Publishing, 2008 Saskatchewan Book Awards
Winner, 2009 Canadian Jewish Awards, The Samuel and Rose Cohen Award for Poetry

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