Keeping up

I love this insight from Etty Hillesum’s diary in which she reflects: “I must make sure I keep up with my writing, that is, with myself, or else things will start to go wrong for me: I shall run the risk of losing my way.” There is so much there.

“Pick one shoe.”

A short reflection upon reading the preface of Tima Kurdi’s book The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home: It’s so important and helpful to have these particular stories of individuals, sometimes with photos – memoirs written that are so descriptive and that completely endear a personContinue reading ““Pick one shoe.””

Ten years since the March of Remembrance & Hope

Today marks ten years since one of the most pivotal experiences of my entire life — the March of Remembrance and Hope Holocaust Study Trip to Germany and Poland.  Travelling on the trip with two Holocaust survivors and sixty young Canadians was transformative. My grandfather had practically dared me to go — thinking that itContinue reading “Ten years since the March of Remembrance & Hope”

“Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld

It might seem that Aharon Appelfeld’s novels are mystical. Yet, with the enchanting characters – whose blindness, deafness, muteness, psychic unrest, vulnerabilities of age, and moral defects serve to “exaggerate purposely, to make things visible” (as a character says in a different one of his novels) – there is the splendorous reality of the humanContinue reading ““Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld”

“Be a Jew, forever!”

On this date in 1977, Shimon Peres became the 8th Prime Minister of Israel. As Shmuel Rosner wrote in this New York Times article, “Mr. Peres began his life in Vishneva, a village on the border of modern-day Poland and Belarus. When he left for Palestine in 1934, under his original name, Shimon Persky, hisContinue reading ““Be a Jew, forever!””

Ethics is not the science of happiness

Today I find myself thinking about Janusz Korczak. A Polish-Jewish author, teacher, pediatrician, and orphanage director, he refused to leave the orphans during the Second World War even though he was offered refuge. The Nazis murdered him, together with the children, at the death camp called Treblinka.

“There near this wall Nazis shot and burned people in 1943-1944”

Having lived in Europe for a couple years and spent time in Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Lithuania, I’ve had the opportunity to see Holocaust memorials in several different countries.

“Blooms of Darkness” by Aharon Appelfeld

Tonight I am remembering standing in a forest surrounding the Nazi extermination camp called Treblinka. Why? Because I just finished reading Aharon Appelfeld’s novel Blooms of Darkness and, upon finishing it, am feeling somewhat like I did after going to Treblinka.

“For Every Sin” by Aharon Appelfeld

Today I finished reading a novel by Aharon Appelfeld titled For Every Sin. In it, the protagonist, Theo, is a young adult who has survived the Holocaust and is trying to walk all the way back to his hometown. En route, he continually encounters “refugees” – other Jews like him who have survived the campsContinue reading ““For Every Sin” by Aharon Appelfeld”

We keep celebrating

“Most Jews throughout history have not been free, whether from murderous regimes or famines or pandemics. What we have been is devoted to the idea that we deserve to be.” – Alana Newhouse This article from which I quoted above is one of my favourites I’ve read recently. In it, Alana Newhouse reflects: “The PassoverContinue reading “We keep celebrating”