Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.  What does this Jew know about Christmas? Not much, but there are no movies I want to see and the kosher Chinese restaurant is not delivering today so instead I thought I would do something different and start an online journal. At least, it’s a beginning.  I have been on twitter for a few months.  Most people assume I am a man, cause of my handle – BitterCdn. Or maybe it is my profile – Jack Black Swan.

It’s been rather liberating being presumed to be a man on twitter.  I get called all kinds of new names, and my dick size and balls get challenged regularly.  My son tells me I have all the makings of a great troll.  I have been blocked by professional journalists – okay, just one at The Toronto Star. I’m not sure how professional that makes him, since The Toronto Star is a horrible newspaper but presumably the act of being ‘paid’ makes one a professional. Although, I am not sure that really should be the metric. I’ve been paid by magazines, and have columnists steal my best one-liners but I hardly think that qualifies to call myself a journalist. I have even published a few books. The first was a truly horrendous memoir on an Israeli military hero from the War of Independence and the others were technical trade school manuals. It paid the rent after a fashion, and offered up learning experiences.  One day, I may write a book for me – or not.

I live in Toronto but born in the Maritimes from old stock Cdn on one side. The picture on my masthead was my first home. My ancestors were from a proscribed clan who were brought to the new world in chains and sentenced to a life of indentured servitude. Quite a generous fate for the times since their men had lost a rebellion, so Mary “Black” MacGregor and her children could have been killed on sight.  Of course, it was only a matter of time before Mary and her son John fled their chains and moved to the deep woods of central New Brunswick. That house started as a log cabin, and each generation built up. My mother lives there now; the last homey house on the road to the woods. G-d willing, I will live their next.

On the other side, I am a  granddaughter of DPs and the progeny of a mixed marriage but raised by chassidic Jews who lost their way in this new land. It’s okay though, I picked up the link in the chain my father could not wait to drop. Whenever he insults me, he calls me a Jew.  Personally, I always thought it said more about him than any deficiencies of character on my part.

I am a modern orthodox Jew who holds a membership and walks to a Conservative shul.  My favourite very liberal Rav reminds me, I remain orthodox in my thinking.   He tells me there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that but he maintains I will never be a liberal Jew. Ehyeh aser ehyeh; I am what I am.  I could go to the Orthodox shul, there are a few in walking distance, but it’s for the daughter’s sake that I don’t. I don’t want her to fall off the derech like the others.  I love my orthodox brethren but they need to lighten up and find a place for women other than behind a barricade in the corner.

So back to what I know about Christmas, isn’t very much but what I do know is about family. The family we are born to, the family we create, the family we aspire to be, and the family we come to adopt along the way.

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