“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 human condition on full display. Continue reading ““Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld”

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

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 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”

It’s weird for Jews to be at the forefront of euthanasia advocacy in Canada

There were times when my atheist-Jewish-Polish grandfather was in such excruciating pain near the end of his 96-year-long life that he told me he wanted to be euthanized.

Zaida was my intellectual sparing partner, the one who took me on dinner dates to our favourite Italian restaurant where I would always order him a Shirley Temple with extra cherries, and the one who looked forward to reading every term paper I wrote. Continue reading “It’s weird for Jews to be at the forefront of euthanasia advocacy in Canada”