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, his grandfather told him, ‘Be a Jew, forever!’ The grandfather, along with much of his family, perished in the Holocaust.” Continue reading ““Be a Jew, forever!””
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. Continue reading “Ethics is not the science of happiness”
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. Continue reading ““Blooms of Darkness” by Aharon Appelfeld”
On this date last year, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was ablaze in a serious fire.
Three months prior to the fire, my friend Jacqueline and I were visiting the church. Here are my reflections from then: Continue reading “Before Notre-Dame burned into flames”
On this date, 34 years ago, John Paul II made a historic visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome where he greeted Chief Rabbi, Prof. Elio Toaff.
“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 Passover Seder centers on the experience of being thrust out of our homes, but these days we feel trapped inside of them. The story involves miraculous plagues that saved us; today we pray for the end of one. There’s the commandment to clean our homes of all non-Passover food, which we just spent innumerable hours and dollars hoarding.” Continue reading “We keep celebrating”
Today marks the anniversary of the fascinating conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne that occurred on Thursday, January 20, 1842. I have been learning his story gradually, throughout my travels to Rome and Jerusalem. Continue reading “On the anniversary the Virgin Mary Appeared to a Jewish Atheist who became a Catholic priest”
This evening I read for my first time John Henry Newman’s Sermon 15 on “The Principle of Continuity between the Jewish and Christian Churches.” Continue reading “Newman: “The Jewish Church and the Christian Church are one””
“I, Richard Marceau, 11th generation Quebecker, long-time agnostic, son of a practicing Catholic family, educated by priests in Quebec City, firmly rooted sovereignist, Bloc Québécois MP, was preparing, in good conscience and after deliberate consideration, to become a Jew.”
I just finished reading A Quebec Jew: From Bloc Québécois MP to Jewish Activist by Richard Marceau, which I found to be an enjoyable and engaging read. Continue reading “Book Review: A Quebec Jew”