Most Canadians have never heard of Fanny “Bobbie” Rosenfeld, a woman who left early 20th century Russia and wound up in Barrie, Ont., where she cultivated her love of sports into Olympic glory—including a gold medal.
In some ways, hers is a standard turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrant story, portraying a woman who succeeded by sheer force of will in a new country against her traditional parents’ wishes. On the other hand, it’s an unconventional tale, given her pioneering feminist attitude and how few people today even know Bobbie’s story—including in her hometown of Barrie.
But if you’re in the city this week, you can catch a new biographical play about her life, simply titled Bobbie. The goal of the show, its creators say, is not just to raise awareness about this forgotten Canadian Jewish icon, but also to analyze how antisemitism seeps into mainstream culture and ask what Canadians—Jewish or not—can do about it. Director Lynn Weintraub and playwright Trudee Romanek join Culturally Jewish, The CJN’s podcast about Canadian Jewish arts and culture, to share Bobbie’s life story and describe how, and why, they made this creative new theatre production.
Culturally Jewish is hosted by Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Our producer is Michael Fraiman, and our theme music is by Sarah Segal-Lazar. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.