Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Yes…BUT, What Anti-Semitism Is Like

I’ve written about my experiences with Anti-Semitism before, but just gave a little peak into what my world is like. I didn’t give you the whole story because it’s a difficult one to tell. Part of being Jewish is Anti-Semitism. It’s a fact. Part of being Jewish is also the BUTs that come along with the justification for Anti-Semitism. For example:

“I don’t hate all Jews BUT why does Israel insist on…”

“I support Jewish people – I have Jewish friends (always love that one) BUT what Israel is doing.”

“Oh – I didn’t think Jews had their own charities BUT why would they? All Jews are rich!”

“I’m not an Anti-Semite, I love Jews, BUT I am an Anti-Zionist. It’s not the same thing.”

Well, I’m afraid it is, and I’m tired of the buts and qualifications. When I support Black Lives Matter, I do it knowing that they are definitely not Pro-Israel because there are no buts with racism. It’s a because. I support Black Lives Matter, want to stop Asian hate, want Indigenous people to feel honoured and not held back BECAUSE it’s the right thing to do. People comment time and time again on the Israeli-Palestinian issue which is their absolute right. BUT understand that because I am a Zionist doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Palestinian. I am pro-Palestinian, but anti-Hamas and anti-Fatah. And yes, one can be a Zionist and be pro-Palestinian and feel a tremendous amount of sadness for innocent people on both sides. Zionism simply means the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in our indigenous homeland – Israel. It isn’t more complicated than that. I also believe having spoken to both Palestinians and Israelis, there is nothing that both want more than peace.

This is not an essay on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is about what I see happening closer to home. There is too much history on the Middle East conflict for me to get into that now. What I see right now in Canada, though disturbs me to the core and the saddest part is that is largely going unreported or it is hidden below the fold on websites. In my lifetime, I have never seen Antisemitism to this extent. I’ve never heard so many BUTs about it. I’ve never seen so many people post anti-Jewish propaganda.

To give you some context – lets look at the TOTAL population of Jews around the world – it’s approximately 15.8 million – that is out of 7.64 billion people. Then let’s look at Canada where I live – it’s 392,000. Jewish Canadians are the most targeted religious group for hate crimes in the country, from a new study from Statistics Canada. Yes, that’s right, Statistics Canada is the source. A group that makes up around 1% of the population is targeted for more hate crimes than any other. Now let that settle in. Remember, your friend, neighbour or family member is a target.

For the first time in my lifetime, I’m seeing Jews beaten in the streets in Canada (again not speaking about the Middle East – I’m speaking about the True North Strong and Free?). A pregnant woman on Bathurst Street in Toronto had rocks thrown at her because she is Jewish. Residents of Thornhill were told not to walk alone after dark if they are Jewish. An older man was beaten up because he is Jewish. This isn’t right and it’s not being covered to the same extent as any other targeted group. If Jews truly owned the media, like we are accused of, don’t you think that there would be better coverage?

Personally, I’ve had people on Instagram where I have an open account send me direct messages that say things like “You play your Holocaust card to Justify the brutality you daily commit in Palestine.” Excuse me? My IG account is not that political. I’ve been called a Jew bitch for sharing Mayor John Tory’s post about Antisemitism not being tolerated. Several people started populating my Instagram page with Palestinian flags under posts of my late mother and sister. I asked one person what a photo for Mother’s Day had to do with anything and instead of a response, they deleted the comment. I will not have the memory of my mother and sister used in a political argument. EVER. And from now on, you want to leave me a trollish comment, I am not going to delete it.

This isn’t about Jews whining (which I’ve seen over and over again on social media and on online news reports). The fact is that it is an incredibly scary time to be a Jew. The statements coming out should be Antisemitism is wrong. No BUTs – no qualifying statements. There is no moral equivalence for racism of any kind. I want you to imagine if you aren’t Jewish, and you know me – really know me. You know that I cared for my mother and sister. You know that my mother, sister and father are all at the very same cemetery. Imagine how you would feel if graves at the very same cemetery were desecrated. I would be devastated. Completely devastated. And before you think I’m an alarmist, think about what I am saying – and know that this is a common happening at Jewish cemeteries. There are no buts.

I will continue to speak out against racism of any sort. BUT all I’m asking you to do for me is to include Antisemitism, the oldest form of racism in there too.


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I Know What I Know

The days go by slow, but the years go by fast…my “frousin” Margo says and it is so true. Every day feels long, but somehow the weeks slip by so quickly. I wake up, and it’s Monday, and I blink and somehow it’s Friday. Day after day, I wake up, and I get out of bed, and shower and get dressed and go on with my life, because that is what I have to do. My mother and sister didn’t fight so hard to live, so that I just lay down and die. That’s what I tell myself every single day. People say, oh you can move on with your life now – but it was never a burden before. I went from caregiver to estate gatekeeper. I went from a daughter and sister to being an orphan. People expect life to go on, and I think that is really their hope. What you are as a mourner is a window to future grief for others. And it’s scary – I know. It is part of life. I know. Sometimes, in the most profound way, moving on with your life is much harder than the high alert situation of being a caregiver.

If you ever have been a caregiver, you know what I mean by this statement. You look at your loved one’s colour. You ask, expectantly, and with a tiny bit of dread and fear, how they are feeling. You take temperatures, listen to breathing, hope that they’ll eat. You listen for coughing. You tiptoe into a room at night to make sure that they are breathing and sleeping peacefully. Sleeping becomes fitful (yours of course). You live in fear daily of what that day may bring or breathe a sigh of relief if the day was a good one.

You learn things that stay with you. Many don’t know this, but here is a sample of what I can do:

-I can give injections, both subcutaneous (yes, under the skin) or through a port

-I can hook up a portable oxygen tank

-I can inject morphine into someone’s mouth through a syringe without wasting a drop

-I can take a pulse

-I can tell you, in detail, what the difference is between HER2+ and HER2- breast cancer

-I can deal with vomit – lots and lots of vomit, get a bag to the person before they throw up and deal with cleanup after

-I can dress weeping wounds gently and carefully, keeping them clean and look out for infection

-I can turn an IV on and off

-I can lift a patient from their bed without hurting them

-I can move them in their bed by myself if I have to, but it is so much easier with help. It is a struggle though

-I can pay attention to details and advocate for a patient with a doctor or nurse if I have to

-I can tell you what a number of different chemo/immunotherapy drugs are, and what side effects my sister and mother had from them

-I can make a person’s final wishes happen and speak to doctors and nurses about what was in their living will

-The hardest thing that I can and have done is tell someone that it’s ok to go – that I’ll be ok and they will too. I’ve had to do this twice, and each time, it cost me so much more than I can explain

I’m not telling you this so that you’ll admire me or pity me. I’m telling you this so that if you are a caregiver too, that you know that there are people that understand. You will never be the person that you were before, and that’s ok. Take your time. You will still have plenty to deal with after – mentally and physically. Think about what you have had to learn to do. It’s a lot isn’t it? It’s even harder during a pandemic with less help available. But you will find a way. All I know is that taking care of the two women in the photo was the greatest thing that I will ever do in my life.