Ralph Yorsh: Jewish Education in Ituna, Saskatchewan
Date:Thursday, February 24, 2011
ID:Digital audio recording #: 20.11-03
RY: So I was very lucky and both my parents were crackerjack communicators, so we moved out to a village called Ituna in Saskatchewan, population four hundred, and one of the conditions of my parents’ employment was that my mother would run a school…
BB: In English?
RY: No, no, not in English, teaching the kids Jewish and Hebrew so every day after school from four to six she ran a school, there were eight Jewish children in the village and they all attended school and of course the pride of all these parents was for the rest of their lives was the kids would write home in Yiddish. Her least successful student was yours truly, there was no time for me because come six o’clock she had to make dinner for my father, but I picked up everybody’s lessons along the way but my way of rebelling was “So I don’t read Yiddish,” that was my way of rebelling. But I found it very interesting when I was out in Ituna, the Anglican minister came to my mother one day and he said to her, “I understand you are teaching Jewish and Hebrew.”He says, “I would like to read the bible in the original Hebrew, I’ll make a deal with you…you teach me Hebrew, I’ll help you with your English.” So every Saturday noon they had an appointment where they would get together and exchange language skills. So I had a very interesting childhood and luckily picked up good communication skills, my mother was also a poet, used to write poetry and it was published in the Jewish paper in Winnipeg and I think she once submitted something to [The Torgen], New York.