We are a forever people, the Jewish people are. We gave justice to humankind through the Torah. We are the people who shared the oneness of God, then covered our own eyes protecting them from His illuminated countenance. We self-actualized our peoplehood through goodness.
That self -actualization? What is it?
It is the founding of Israel. It is the establishment of a Diaspora. These miracles are what I wrote about. I did, because they represent our greatness. That greatness is evident everywhere. It can be seen when one looks at the merchant ports of Haifa, at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, in the beit midrash of the Holy Land’s yeshivot and at the night life in Tel Aviv. It is seen in the labs of Hebrew University where an electroluminescent device is created with nanoparticles. It is evident when Israel’s IsraAID distributes solar lanterns to the victims of a cyclone in Dombe, Mozambique. Our Jewishness is similarly vibrant in Mississauga, Montreal, Windsor, Kitchener, Dartmouth, Vancouver, Sudbury, Regina and Keswick. It is seen in the alleys of Toronto, where Ve’ahavta shares sandwiches with those suffering from homeless.
We are the Jewish people and that is our gift. As my late mother would quote, “all this and heaven too.” And this is what I wrote about.
Being a Jew also hurts. It is like stepping on a razor-sharp nail when those who love to hate, hate us. It hurts knowing there are those who hide in sewage, who are cowardly and they shoot our children in a school and butcher our family in a shul, on Shabbos. I wrote about that.
I am so deeply honoured to have written 700 articles for The Canadian Jewish News since 2001. Doing so made me feel important, like I was doing something for the Jewish people and Israel. It allowed me to be heard. I needed that.
All of this could not have happened without the willingness of Mordechai “be well” Ben-Dat, The CJN’s former editor, to hire and encourage me to fly. My stint with this newspaper was highlighted by Yoni Goldstein’s appreciation to be free in my words. And I was supported by Jesse Kline’s fine and exact editing, and by all my editors who came before him.
Thank you, Joe Serge and all The CJN staff, past and present, for putting out one of the best Jewish newspapers in the world for a people barely able to agree about what’s better, shmaltz or marinated herring. Yashar koach to them for allowing me to be part of that, to be a member of the family of a newspaper I have adored since childhood.
Thank you to The CJN readership for making me feel like a star in the fruit and veggie aisle at Metro hearing, “aren’t you Avrum Rosensweig? You write for The Canadian Jewish News, right? I flip to your article first.” Man, I loved that.
As I take my final ‘writing’ bow, I have to say, my fellow Jews, of all the articles I’ve written, the most important pieces have been those where I tried to get you off your chairs and become Jewish activists fighting anti-Semitism. Many of you have not learned from Holocaust education that Israeli Jews cannot be the only ones on the frontline. You’re not getting that we are just way too comfortable. It’ll come though. I can sense it. It must. We said, “never again.”
So, I’m signing off and starting a new run – this time a CJN podcast called: “Kol Avrum.” Keep an eye out. It’ll be good. And in conclusion please know, having this chance to write a column for The CJN and being read by you, has been a gift, tied in my Jewishness. How lucky have I been. Thank God.
Am Yisra’el Chai.
With love and appreciation, Avrum.