After fleeing Toronto, this artist found inspiration in the Canadian woods—and Israel

Alan Glicksman left Toronto to become a painter and musician in Owen Sound, Ont. (Supplied photos)

Alan Glicksman grew up moving around the Toronto area. But even after graduating from high school, he kept moving around—he took up stints as a dishwasher, garbage collector and postal worker over a period of years that saw him bounce from affordable studio apartments in Toronto to an Israeli kibbutz to the small rural town of Flesherton, Ont.

Knowing he was sick of the pollution and chaos of the big city, he finally settled in Owen Sound and dug into his passion for painting. Now with gallery exhibits across the country, including in his hometown’s acclaimed Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Glicksman has lived a unique kind of Jewish life, blending kabbalistic practice with artistic expression in snowy solitude. Except he’s also lived next door to possible Nazis. (Nobody said living the small-town Jewish life was easy.)

Glicksman joins his former high school classmate Ralph Benmergui on Yehupetzville, The CJN’s podcast about Jews living in small-town Canada. Listen and subscribe above.


Yehupetzville is hosted by Ralph Benmergui. Michael Fraiman is the producer and editor. Our music was arranged by Louis Simão and performed by Louis Simão and Jacob Gorzhaltsan. Our sponsor is PearTree Canada, which you can learn more about at This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, watch this video.