In 1973, a record 10 boys celebrated their b’nai mitzvah in Oshawa. Now a docuseries has tracked them down to share their stories

Alan Schwarz celebrated his bar mitzvah in Oshawa in 1973. He was one of 10 boys who did—the small community's largest-ever cohort. (Supplied image)

Alan Schwarz was one of 10 Jewish boys in Oshawa who spent 1973 studying for their b’nai mitzvah. It was the biggest coming-of-age cohort the small Jewish community has ever seen. But in the subsequent 49 years, the Hebrew school pals, unsurprisingly, lost touch; many left the city to start careers and families elsewhere.

Schwarz, whose family members were seminal in Oshawa’s Jewish community, wound up in the production industry. During the pandemic, he found himself with enough time to follow a project close to his heart: tracking down his nine childhood friends. He pitched a documentary series to Bell Fibe TV that would follow his investigation and tell the stories of these 10 boys, their hometown and the cultural bonds that held them together.

Tracking the Ten premiered this month. Joining The CJN Daily to tell their tale and describe the filmmaking process are two of the series’ subjects—Evan Kalnitsky, a retired social services worker; and Dave Swartz, an emergency room doctor—as well as Schwarz himself.

What we talked about:


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