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Adventures in Jerusalem

n the large foyer of Canada House is a little snack shop called Yad LaKashish. The pastries and sweets are surprisingly low priced. The treat for me was to learn that this woman, Simmy Cohen, with a name very similar to mine, and her son, have been residents in the area all their lives and…..get this…..the family had owned a butcher shop/grocery store for several generations, which had been housed in the building next door, the very place where the Yad LaKashish shop is now. I think we’ve come full circle.

By SIMONE COHEN SCOTT
Jerusalem
When I call this piece ‘Adventures’, you have to realize who I am. I’m an elderly Jewish woman. Even before this happened to me though, I was not into bungee jumping, mountain climbing, deep sea diving (not even light scuba diving), canoe trips, stock car racing, or anything like that. Buying myself an apartment in Jerusalem is as adventurous as I’ve ever been. That’s a long story, and it’s not one that I’m going to tell today. But, I was gradually beginning to travel here more than once in twelve months, and I wanted to stop feeling like the meter is running and you have to keep doing something because otherwise money is going down the drain.

 

 

 

What would it be like to live right here? I would think – wherever in Israel I was. Looking out the windows of the tour buses, seeing people in the villages and countryside, wondering who they were and what they were doing, would set my imagination in motion. So I bit the bullet and bought. Now, for five months a year, (the winter months of course), I live here.
“What do you do when you’re in Jerusalem?” I am frequently asked. Well, here’s what: I explore! Hey, that sounds a little like an ‘adventurey’ activity, eh? In my meanderings I come across places not on tourist guide lists, though they ought to be. For instance, one day I was wandering along Helena HaMalka Street, contemplating its name. It is not named after Constantine’s mother, Saint Helena (circa. 300 CE), but an earlier Queen Helena (circa. 30 CE), ruler of an area partly in today’s Iraq. This Queen Helena and her two sons converted to Judaism and brought generous gifts to the 2nd Temple, as well as food during famine for the destitute Jewish community. Remains of her palace have been excavated in the City of David, and she also built a mausoleum that was named Tomb of the Kings. That is where she and her sons are believed to be now buried.

Anyway, I turned onto Shivtei Israel Street, which would bring me along behind City Hall, and on it I found the darlingest gift shop, named Yad LaKashish, meaning ‘lifeline for the old’. This has an interesting back story too. Early in the 1960s a small group of bookbinders were set up in a little shop, in an attempt to give them back a sense of usefulness. They began to do a lively business restoring old books, and very soon the skills of other destitute elderly were reawakened and put to use. This endeavour has grown to 10 workshops and 300 elderly artisans. Every item in the shop at the front of their refurbished building is an original, handmade item, lovingly crafted like your grandparents used to do, but with a modern flair. I now make an annual beeline to pick up one or a few gifts, and of course I take out-of-townees there. They’re always delighted and thank me profusely. Say, if interesting shopping isn’t an adventure, I don’t know what is!

Last year I was encouraged to go and see Canada House! What? There’s a Canada House in Jerusalem? Much to my surprise, it was next door to the Yad LaKashish gift shop. It seemed like a construction site, and I had trouble finding the entrance (always a challenge in Israel leading to many conversations with strangers). I was shown around inside and immediately fell in love with the concept. It was a state-of-the-art centre of every kind of supportive activity (except for an outdoor sports and entertainment area, which is what was going on behind the construction barrier). The building itself, formerly the Morasha District Community Centre was named Canada House at a dedication in 2013, and renovated in 2014. What struck me the most, besides the beauty of the design, was the unity of the vision, rising from what could have remained a seriously troubled community. (Consider this, that the street itself is the old Jordan occupation border, where Jews and Arabs lived cheek by jowl, battling from building to building during the years culminating in 1967, and afterwards, as the newspapers of the 1970s indicate.) Yet here they are, from the littlest children, through high school, waiting, needing encouragement in their gap year before the IDF experience, then, after IDF, on to career development, trauma assistance, working through issues in group and individual counseling, raising families in troubled times, evolving to seniors, who have passionately stayed, and many who have joined, this unique community. The vision is now so strengthened that it is reaching out to the youth and young adults of the entire city. How fitting that it is tucked in right behind City Hall.

This year I rushed back to see what had gone on behind the construction fence. A thousand words would take too much space, so instead I’m using pictures.

 

This Inukshuk (a manmade stone landmark or cairn built for use by the Inuit, and other peoples of the Arctic region of Canada), stands in front of Canada House in Jerusalem.
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Israel

Hamas murdered their friend. Now, they help Israeli soldiers to keep his memory alive

David Newman (right): David died helping to save the lives of others who were at the music festival on October 7 when Hamas massacred hundreds of attendees

By VIRGINIA ALLEN (The Daily Signal) David Newman sent a text to a friend the morning of Saturday, Oct. 7. Something terrible had happened. Word quickly spread among Newman’s group of friends, who had known each other since high school.
Newman, 25, had traveled the night before to the music festival in southern Israel, close to the border with the Gaza Strip. It was supposed to be a fun weekend with his girlfriend “celebrating life,” something Newman, who served with the Israel Defense Forces, was good at and loved to do, friend Gidon Hazony recalls.
When Hazony learned that Newman, his longtime friend, was in danger, he and another friend decided they were “going to go down and try and save him.” Trained as a medic and armed with a handgun and bulletproof vest, Hazony started driving south from Jerusalem.
Hazony and his friend ended up joining with other medical personnel and “treated probably around 50 soldiers and civilians in total that day,” Hazony recalls, but they kept trying to make it south to rescue Newman.

But the two “never made it down to the party, and that’s probably for the best,” Hazony says, “because that area was completely taken over by terrorists. And if we had gone down there, I think we would’ve been killed.”
Hazony later learned that Hamas terrorists had murdered Newman on Oct. 7, but not before Newman had saved nearly 300 lives, including the life of his girlfriend.
When the terrorists began their attack on the music festival, many attendees began running to their cars. But Newman and his girlfriend encountered a police officer who warned them to run the opposite direction because the terrorists were near the vehicles, says David Gani, another friend of Newman’s.
Newman “ran in the opposite direction with his girlfriend and whoever else he could kind of corral with him,” Gani explains during an interview on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
“They saw two industrial garbage cans, big containers, and so David told everyone, ‘Hide, hide in those containers,’” Gani says. “And so what he did over the course of the next few hours is, he would take people and … he was this big guy, and he would just chuck them in that container. And then he would go in, wait, wait till the coast is clear, and then he’d go back out, find more people, put them in there.”
Newman’s actions that day, and the atrocities Hazony and so many others in Israel witnessed Oct. 7, led Hazony, Gani, and several friends to quit their jobs and set up a nonprofit called Soldiers Save Lives. The organization is working to collect tactical and humanitarian aid for the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF.
According to the group’s website, Soldiers Save Lives has supplied over 20 IDF units and civilian response teams “with protective and self-defense gear.”
Gani, board chairman, chief financial officer, and chief technology officer of Soldiers Save Lives, and Hazony, president of the organization, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to raise support and awareness for their mission to provide IDF troops with needed supplies.
If you would like to find out more about Soldiers Save Lives or donate to them, go to https://www.soldierssavelives.org/
Reprinted with permission.

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Israel

Our New Jewish Reality

Indigo bookstore in Toronto defaced

By HENRY SREBRNIK Since Oct. 7, we Jews have been witnessing an ongoing political and psychological pogrom. True, there have been no deaths (so far), but we’ve seen the very real threat of mobs advocating violence and extensive property damage of Jewish-owned businesses, and all this with little forceful reaction from the authorities.
The very day after the carnage, Canadians awoke to the news that the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust had inspired sustained celebrations in its major cities. And they have continued ever since. I’d go so far as to say the Trudeau government has, objectively, been more interested in preventing harm to Gazans than caring about the atrocities against Israelis and their state.
For diaspora Jews, the attacks of Oct. 7 were not distant overseas events and in this country since then they have inspired anti-Semitism, pure and simple, which any Jew can recognize. Even though it happened in Israel, it brought back the centuries-old memories of defenseless Jews being slaughtered in a vicious pogrom by wild anti-Semites.
I think this has shocked, deeply, most Jews, even those completely “secular” and not all that interested in Judaism, Israel or “Zionism.” Jewish parents, especially, now fear for their children in schools and universities. The statements universities are making to Jewish students across the country could not be clearer: We will not protect you, they all but scream. You’re on your own.
But all this has happened before, as we know from Jewish history. Long before Alfred Dreyfus and Theodor Herzl, the 1881 pogroms in tsarist Russia led to an awakening of proto-Zionist activity there, with an emphasis on the land of Israel. There were soon new Jewish settlements in Palestine.
The average Jew in Canada now knows that his or her friend at a university, his co-worker in an office, and the people he or she socializes with, may in fact approve, or at least not disapprove, of what happened that day in Israel. Acquaintances or even close friends may care far more about Israel killing Palestinians in Gaza. Such people may even believe what we may call “Hamas pogrom denial,” already being spread. Many people have now gone so far in accepting the demonization of Israel and Jews that they see no penalty attached to public expressions of Jew-hatred. Indeed, many academics scream their hatred of Israel and Jews as loud as possible.
One example: On Nov. 10, Toronto officers responded to a call at an Indigo bookstore located in the downtown. It had been defaced with red paint splashed on its windows and the sidewalk, and posters plastered to its windows.
The eleven suspects later arrested claimed that Indigo founder Heather Reisman (who is Jewish) was “funding genocide” because of her financial support of the HESEG Foundation for Lone Soldiers, which provides scholarships to foreign nationals who study in Israel after serving in the Israeli armed forces. By this logic, then, most Jewish properties and organizations could be targeted, since the vast majority of Jews are solidly on Israel’s side.
Were these vandals right-wing thugs or people recently arrived from the Middle East? No, those charged were mostly white middle-class professionals. Among them are figures from academia, the legal community, and the public education sector. Four are academics connected to York University (one of them a former chair of the Sociology Department) and a fifth at the University of Toronto; two are elementary school teachers; another a paralegal at a law firm.
Were their students and colleagues dismayed by this behaviour? On the contrary. Some faculty members, staff and students at the university staged a rally in their support. These revelations have triggered discussions about the role and responsibilities of educators, given their influential positions in society.
You’ve heard the term “quiet quitting.” I think many Jews will withdraw from various clubs and organizations and we will begin to see, in a sense like in the 1930s, a reversal of assimilation, at least in the social sphere. (Of course none of this applies to Orthodox Jews, who already live this way.)
Women in various feminist organizations may form their own groups or join already existing Jewish women’s groups. There may be an increase in attendance in K-12 Jewish schools. In universities, “progressive” Jewish students will have to opt out of organizations whose members, including people they considered friends, have been marching to the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and similar eliminationist rhetoric, while waving Palestinian flags.
This will mostly affect Jews on the left, who may be supporters of organizations which have become carriers of anti-Semitism, though ostensibly dealing with “human rights,” “social justice,” and even “climate change.”
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took part in a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm on Oct. 22 in which she chanted “crush Zionism” along with hundreds of other anti-Israel protesters. Israel is now unthinkingly condemned as a genocidal apartheid settler-colonialist state, indeed, the single most malevolent country in the world and the root of all evil.
New York Times Columnist Bret Stephens expressed it well in his Nov. 7 article. “Knowing who our friends aren’t isn’t pleasant, particularly after so many Jews have sought to be personal friends and political allies to people and movements that, as we grieved, turned their backs on us. But it’s also clarifying.”
Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.

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Former Winnipegger Vivian Silver, at first thought to have been taken hostage, has now been confirmed dead

Jewish Post & News file photo

Former Winnipegger and well-known Israeli peace activist Vivian Silver has now been confirmed as having been killed during the massacre of Israelis and foreign nationals perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Vivian, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri was originally thought to be among the more than 1200 individuals who were taken hostage by Hamas.

To read the full story on the CBC website, go to https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/israel-gaza-vivian-silver-1.7027333

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