Prairie Kaddish

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Coteau Books, 2008 - Poetry - 122 pages
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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.

 

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