Copies made for Bess' son Michael on four 90 minute tapes
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Bess was born in the Ukraine in 1920. She immigrated to Montreal in 1925 with her parents and two brothers. She married Barry Shockett in 1952 and had three children. As an adolescent, Bess became very active in the Jewish community and joined the United Jewish People's Order. She helped organize a union for workers in the knitting industry and later did the same for fur workers. She also travelled to Winnipeg to organize a laundry workers union. She helped found the New Fraternal Jewish Association in 1960 and was actively involved in the organization. She became very active in the Toronto Jewish community, particularly in regards to supporting and launching several innovative Yiddish programs. She staffed the office of the Canadian Jewish Congress' Committee for Yiddish in its early years and was director from 1974 to 1989.
United Jewish People's Order
New Fraternal Jewish Association
Committee for Yiddish
Bess became President of the Youth Division of the United Jewish People’s Order in Montreal in 1946. In this clip, Bess shares some of her memories and experiences as a representative to the First International Conference of Youth held in Prague in 1947.
In this clip, Bess discusses the events that led up to the formation of a new left-leaning organization, the New Fraternal Jewish Association, which broke away from the United Jewish People’s Order in 1960.