Meet the Canadian Jewish teen telling his family’s Holocaust story on CBC Gem

A screenshot from "Sophie and Jacob" by Max Shoham.

Max Shoham has been making movies since he was a little boy growing up in Toronto. This month, the 18-year-old’s most ambitious project—an animated short called Sophie and Jacob—debuts on CBC Gem, after screening at numerous international film festivals.

The short is based on the true story of his great-grandparents’ escape from Romania in 1939 and their perilous voyage to Palestine. Shoham started making the film while he was in Grade 11. He drew every frame, and coloured, shot and edited the whole picture. His goal is to bring attention to the plight of refugees today—Jewish or not—while also telling a personal story about his great-grandparents, since he never got the chance to speak with them about their journey before they passed away.  

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily podcast, Shoham joins host Ellin Bessner to talk about how his great-grandparents endured their odyssey and what he hopes this film can teach us about the refugee crisis today. Listen and subscribe above.

What we talked about:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at

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