I feel like I am betraying them, the millions of Jews that travelled, what little they owned literally strapped to their backs, from the hostile countryside across a desolate ocean, to the promise of an unknown city.

Beckoned by a brother or an uncle who had journeyed before them, the Jews moved into the smallest, most cramped and least wanted areas of the city, toiling in the windowless basements of the shmatte district, or on the bloody floors of the kosher butcher or by the sweltering ovens of the bakers.

They swept the floors of the dry goods stores, telling the shopkeeper their name was Saul, but answering only to the whispers of Shmulie from their wives once they finally crawled into bed at night.

They worked tirelessly, the women too, at home with children or in the backs of shops, or dressmakers’ basements, never speaking to customers but to the other women in their common language. Yiddish and laughter and shared secrets the goyim didn’t understand were merely the survival tips of the displaced hopeful.

They left the old country one step ahead of force or confinement, or maybe two steps behind, entire families or the tattered remains of families that once were, flocking to new cities in new countries, entering gates with entirely new lives or the tattered remains of lives that once were.

The parents worked in the laundrymats and the children went to high school. Then the children bought the laundrymats and the grandchildren went to university. Then the grandchildren became lawyers or doctors and pointed to the condos that used to be the laundrymats they practically grew up in. Every corner in the city holds a piece of a Jewish child’s history.

I have pointed to my own historic corners to my own husband; the synagogue in Kensington Market that my great-grandparents attended. The stretch of College Street that the bakery was on. The store on Parliament that my Zidy worked in. The house on Major Street that is practically mythologized in my family’s history.

And the city holds a triptych to my own more recent history as well; the houses I lived in with roommates; the apartments I shared with the boy that would become the man I would marry. The places I have worked; the places I have played; the places I have cried.

All those places, almost a century’s worth of my family’s places, and I have walked away from them.

The Jews, my people, came to the city where being a Jew was not always easy, but it was better. Where community would always exist, where shared understanding, shared tolerance and shared history were at least present, regardless of what else was also present.

And I have left it, in a fit of idealism and practicality and what I sometimes consider spiritual evolution and I sometimes consider treachery.

And I hope only that my children are happy here, that the choice I made to bring them here will prove to be the right one. And that if I had the chance to talk to my great-grandparents about it, to my grandfather or even my dad, that they would tell me that the sad miles they crossed to bring us to the city were for this very thing; for the ability, almost 100 years later, to head out of the city, freely and happily, in whatever direction each of us chooses.



Love Is...

hot coffee * how beautiful my daughters look when they are asleep * birds on my birdfeeder * an unexpected package in the mail * laughing with my husband at jokes only we get * the first day in spring that you don’t have to put a coat on * the light in my sunroom at 2pm * that I get to be home to see the light in my sunroom at 2pm * anything turquoise or watermelon colour * good gossip * bbm * the girls I bbm with * the big Mr. Peanut jar on my counter * the warm spot on the couch after the cat has been lying there * newly washed floors * tea and cookies * the feel of my daughter’s bum against my back as we nap together * knowing that I’m going to love the book after only 1 page * when ice cubes crack * sitting in the living room with a good book and a fire going * making up the words * 2 good songs in a row on the radio * hearing strangers speaking Hebrew * sweaters * hot showers * mint chocolate chip ice cream * the tips of the cat’s ears * soft leather purses * riding my bike at the perfect speed * green grapes * a daughter’s hand in each of mine * road trips * the big crossword puzzle on boxing day * bare feet on soft carpets * finding a show we both want to watch * discovering that it’s warmer than you thought it would be outside * not having to go to work anymore * weekends with friends * my yellow deer lamp * pictures of my dad * games night * walls the colour of the sky after it rains * butterflies on the butterfly bush * my sisters and brother * comfortable silences * the perfect title * pink melamine bowls * the weight of my favourite mug  in my hand * jeans that fit * laughing in a changeroom with a friend when they don’t * getting carded * pocket doors * hydrangea * after-dinner walks * looking at the stamps in my passport * remembering our honeymoon scooter trip * pedal boats on Lake Nipissing * campfires * teaching my girls my favourite songs * finding a great movie on tv * being inspired to cook

This post was inspired by Schmutzie's 400 Words About Things I Love. What do you love right now? 



Who Wants To Win A Coffee Maker? I Do! I Do!

Well, it's the holiday season, and we all know what that means - we're T I R E D. And probably sick of shopping and maybe even broke.


Well, maybe not all of it, because I'm not parting with any of my husband's hard earned cash, but I can at least help maybe two out of three of those things.

So -

I am very excited to announce that I am giving away a TASSIMO T46 brewer as well as 2 sets of T-Discs to one of my lucky readers!

Isn't she a beaut? Keep it for yourself or give it to a coffee lover on your list. The Tassimo T46 brewer features cool bar code technology, Mavea(r) MAXTRA water filtration system and one-touch brewing   ensuring a perfect cup every time.

Aren't I pretty? I could be yours, all yours. Or maybe someone else's.

To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know who this lovely thing would be for, and why you/he/she needs it so badly.

Winner will be randomly drawn on December 15, 2011. Canadian participants only. sorry :(

Good luck!

Full disclosure, of course: I am hosting this giveaway because I love you and also because I get a free Tassimo T46 as well.