The Schmooze

Jewish DNA of Rue Bernard

Call it the world’s most local travel magazine. Every issue, Berlin-based Flaneur profiles one iconic street. And its latest issue — the first to look outside Germany — delves deep into Rue Bernard, the Montreal thoroughfare whose Jewish DNA stretches back a century. “It represents Montreal in a hyperlocal microcosm, meaning the street reflects the Franco- and Anglophone identities at the same time as well as the Jewish community,” founder/publisher Ricarda Messner told the Forward. “The stark contrast between the street’s Outremont and Mile End side” — ultra-Orthodox and hipster, respectively — “was really the vital aspect of our choice.”

The magazine’s first issue covered Kantstrasse in Berlin; #2 surveyed Leipzig’s Georg-Schwarz-Strasse. “The magazine embraces the street’s complexity, its layers and fragmented nature with a literary approach,” says its web site. “The reader is challenged to become a Flaneur himself, wandering the pages of the magazine as if discovering the street.” Editor-in-chief Fabian Saul talked to the Forward from Rome, where he and Messner are scouting subjects for issue #4.

Michael Kaminer: There’s been a lot of tension between Orthodox Jews and everyone else in Outremont. Did you sense that as you got immersed in daily life on Bernard?

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