April 2020
Switzer Family News - The Spring Edition
Family Reunion Going Virtual!
We need your input

By now we have all done at least one Zoom meeting, FaceTime catch-up, WhatsApp Video chat or Skype call.

So why not add Family Reunion to the list of things. Yes, you read that correctly - Switzer Family Reunion is going to meet in Cyberspace!

We need your help to do this, as it is an experiment and, while we anticipate some glitches, we want to try to plan as smooth an experience as possible. To that end, please answer this survey to help us plan things out.

Questions about the VIRTUAL reunion? Please email Mike Sommers - switzerfamilyreunion@yahoo.com
Family Tree Updates
Mel & Deanna Fishman sent out the Family Tree. They need a few more bits of information, if you can please email them with your updates, pictures, etc. they would be most appreciative.

If you have questions or want to update the family tree, please email Mel and Deanna directly - switzer@reps.ca .
Such Nachos! Celebrating Successes!
Lola Pawer is quite thrilled with the achievements of her grandson, Jordan Borditsky who recently was awarded the Jana Lyn Elise Award for top student in Kinesiology at Western University. This is an award recognizing leadership.
Allan Switzer recog for art
Switzers in "Hollywood"... Or Not...
Thanks to Mel for digitizing our Family Reunion memories. You can view our 1990 Reunion on YouTube!

The movie is 2 hours and has the film quality of the 90's. If you would like the original file with better quality colour please email Mel directly.

In Memory...
Lou Flam - Husband to Sydney Flam (Aizenman) of Montreal passed away on Dec. 18, 2019. Son of the late Miriam and the late William Flamenbaum. Devoted husband and best friend of Sydney Flam for forty years. Adored and devoted father and father-in-law of Elizabeth, Jason and Sheri, Audra and Mike, Kayla and Rafik. Special father and father-in-law of Steven and Janice. Proud and treasured Zaida of Natasha, Cassidy, Jamie, Sam, Max and Elijah. Loving "Zoo" of Val, Andrew and Ainsley Grove. Cherished brother and brother-in-law of Shirley and the late Jerry Kushner, Roslyn and Jerry Convoy. Lou will be missed by his many nieces, nephews and lifelong friends. The family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to Lou's dedicated caregivers, Nancy and Patsy and to the CLSC and Nova teams. A special thanks to Dr. April Shamy and Dr. Peter Lipes for their many years of compassionate and exceptional care.  (From the Montreal Gazette)
Byron Aceman - Byron passed away peacefully after a short illness.

He will be missed by his children Arlene and Richard Leibtag, Scott Aceman, sisters, brother and brother in laws Lola and Norm Pawer, Shelley and David Ail, Pesach Aceman. Grandchildren Aily and Ben Goodis, Noah Leibtag, Jonah Leibtag, Ryan Aceman, and his many nieces, nephews.

Born in Calgary and raised in Vancouver, Byron was involved in many organizations, loved the art world. The YMCA was his home to keep exercising as a part of his daily regime. His Joie de Vivre of seeing and traveling the world as well as meeting Michelin star chefs was achieved.  (From the Vancouver Sun)
Noel Jampolsky - Husband to Dianne Cohen Jampolsky.
Toto Levitt - Ruth "Toto" Levitt (nee Cohen), known to those who knew her best as "The Boss," was the eldest daughter of Lily and Morris Cohen, of blessed memory. She was a devoted sister to Dianne "Pessy" Jampolsky (Noel), and was predeceased by her three brothers Bernie (Clarice), William (Bernice) and Myer (Anita). Toto was Bubby to Dori Gomez, Savtah to Mickaela, Jordana (Alex), Manny and Tevi Corenblum and Bubby Toto to her great-granddaughter Raeya Bittante. Toto had a special place in her heart for her daughters Sandra (Bernie) Corenblum and Natalie Levitt (Steve Elman). She was treasured by her many nieces, nephews and cousins. Toto was predeceased by the great love of her life, her husband Mortimer Levitt. They danced through life together for nearly 70 years of marriage.

Toto often said that "growing old ain't for sissies'" and The Boss was no sissy. (From the Calgary Herald).
Morris Belzberg -
When I shared the news out with a few "younger" cousins memories were shared of visiting Moishe in California. Some of the comments were about Moishe's lifestyle and antics, others were about his business acumen. At the core of it all was his love of family and people. I am not sure how many of us have a Wikipedia page , but Morris does.
Switzer Family Updates
Celebrating Passover -
A few cousins and "adopted family" got together for the Second Night of Pescah from across North America (literally Coast to Coast).
A message from Mel & Bonnie Borins (See image to the right of the Borins Clan). Bonnie is the Switzer in the family, but it was Mel who shared a connection between the Old Country and Canada on our Pesach Seder Zoom. The story is below and it highlights why these family ties are so important, and our shared history (directly or through marriage).

Although my parents were lucky to come to Canada in the 1920’s, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins died in Nazi concentration camps in Europe. I was haunted by terrible dreams of Nazis when I was a child. Yet I grew up to believe that this sort of thing could never happen again. Then I watched events in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Sudan and now in Africa and the Middle East and I realize little has changed. I am frightened by the increase in anti-Semitism worldwide and especially here in Canada.

My father lost his parents and all of his brothers and sisters except for one sister named Cesia who miraculously survived the concentration camps to come to Canada. She arrived in Toronto around the time I was born. She married my dear Uncle Motel who himself was a concentration camp survivor. At the end of the War when the Nazis took most of the Jews on a death march, my uncle who weighed about 90 pounds was left to die in Auschwitz. He was saved when the Allies liberated the camp. They had a beautiful amazing daughter Susan who is my precious cousin. 

Con't in the next column
Coming Soon...
Sarah Bleviss (daughter of Alan Bleviss z"l by way of the Mindell Switzer branch) and her spouse Katherine Nilson of New York City are expecting their first child this August. The Bleviss-Nilson family looks forward to sharing their bundle of joy later this summer with friends and family near and far via Zoom and eventually in person as well.
My aunt Cesia was a special woman who was very kind, very bright and very loving. She adored me and my family. She kept a diary of her experiences during the war.  Unfortunately she died many years ago. After her death, her daughter Susan had her mother Cesia's diary, translated from Polish to English by our cousin Helena Isenberg.

I believe that if you take a moment to read her words you would get a sense of what it must have been like to live through those terrible days.

In honour of my Aunt Cesia and the people who died under the Nazis I have decided to send her story out again to my friends so you can get a glimpse of the horror of genocide. In order to avoid a repetition of history we must educate our children about the lessons of the past. Through education and remembrance of the Holocaust, I believe we can fight prejudice and racism. My aunt felt strongly that if Israel had existed during WWII then six million Jews would not have perished in Europe and our family would be alive today.

Thank you for taking the time to read this note. I do hope you will read my Aunt Cesia’s diary and share it with others. I am hoping to get her diary published and I would like to get any feedback you might have after reading her amazing story. I am planning to send your feedback to future publishers so they might be convinced to publish her memoir.
Mazel Tov!
Joel & Toby Yan are grandparents... again! Born on March 14th, 2020, Ruby Willow Yan is the daughter of Avi and Gladys Yan in Vancouver.

A bit about her name: Batya Paulina is her Hebrew name honouring Betty Switzer (Avi's Bubby). Paulina is Gladys' mother.
From the Family Archive
Honouring Alberta's History
From Mel Fishman - As I was going through my videos and photos last week, I came across the video of the dedication for the Little Chicago monument in 2004, which was the culmination of a project conceived and completed by Helen (Mom), (Aunty) and her band of volunteers.  Little Chicago Revisited  was produced and is a testimony to the dedication of the monument, and her memory.
For those who were there, we will never forget the honors and recognition the were given to Helen Goldenberg and how all the attendees and officials shared their memories of the growth and history of Little Chicago which was officially known as Royalties.(If you watch the videos you will discover why)
For those that could not be there in person and those that were, I have posted the video on line for the family to enjoy like we did as we watched it again last week.
I also joyously discovered in my collection, and uploaded a short video “ Living in Little Chicago ” that shows how life was experienced by those that lived there. It features a round table discussion with Helen and the others.

Keep in Touch!
Do you have news to share?
Please send your stories along with pictures. In order to help us share your news, please make sure you provide the first AND last names of the people in the photos, the dates and relevant info to share. We will do our best to pass along your stories.

Email all pictures and stories to Gena Rotstein . Any family tree updates can be sent to Mel & Deanna Fishman .

One last reminder to please take the survey to help us plan a Virtual Family Renunion.