Being Jewish in Toronto

Norwegian Cruise Lines Takes a Stand Against Racism. Tunisia No Longer a Port of Call.


Hats off to Norwegian Cruise Lines for their swift condemnation of the Tunisian Government for their last-minute decision to ban 20 Israeli travellers from disembarking the ship and entering Tunisia during a port of call.

Not was Norwegian Cruise Lines quick in their verbal condemnation, but they also notified the Tunisian government that they would no longer bring tourists to Tunisia on their cruises, as punishment for this narrow-minded clearly anti-Semitic decision.

Digging further, I discovered that they might be a visa situation in play here where visas are needed – or were needed – to allow Israelis to visit Tunisia and visa-versa, however, in this day and age, we are talking about 20 human beings who wanted to visit a country, shop in that country, and contribute to the economy of that country and if the government there can only see them as “Israeli” (and they could be Christian, Jewish or Arab Israeli) then they deserve the world’s scorn.

I do, however, wonder if this calls for a flotilla to Tunisia, or maybe the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant church in Canada, who launched an official boycott of Israeli products because, “With these efforts, we join with many others striving to bring peace with justice to the Holy Land,” said United Church of Canada Moderator Gary Paterson. Maybe they want to boycott Tunisian products now because what’s fair is fair, right?

It’s not about the “Jewish people” but it’s about what is “fair”.

Here is a link to one of the many articles on this story.

Thursday Thirteen – My 13 Most Memorable Posts of my first 900 Posts.

So this is my 900th blog post here at The Urban Daddy.  

A lot has happened in the time it has taken me to write 900 posts here.  3 children, 8 years of marriage, a lot of education and thankfully, my writing has improved too.  I’ve noticed that people actually read stuff I have written and I’ve started a professional tax / management / social media blog which has just over 100 posts on it, so I won’t bore all of you with that kind of yucky stuff here.

This post was actually ready last Monday, but I decided to wait until Thursday so I could capitalize on the Thursday Thirteen theme, but along the way I got my ass thoroughly kicked by a flu which has been slowly rolling through our household.  My son Stewie started with it - received an anti-biotic – and still 5 weeks later coughs like a chain-smoker.  Then my wife and daughter got hit around the same time, Boo had horribly goopy and runny eyes and had trouble sleeping at night.  My wife, the woman who laughs off strep throat, had it and tried to rest where possible but both of them still cough and sniffle 4 weeks later.  

As for me… It killed me.  I’m on day 8, 5 of those days without a voice which has never happened to me before, and for three of those days my head is stuffed and I cannot hear out of my left ear.  It throws off my balance.  But the coughing is the worst and at times I felt like I was going to herniate another disc in my back.  I think my abs might be in better shape after this, to be honest, but I’ve been pretty useless for over a week – fever, chills, sweats, exhausted… I’m so done with being sick.

So instead of letting another day fly by, I am tossing up this post, which is a list of the 13 most memorable posts to me, on this blog.  I hope you will take some time and check back to some of the earlier ones to see how much has changed along the way.

So please sit back, turn the calendar back to 2004, and be prepared to read the 13 most memorable posts to this Urban Daddy of his first 900 posts.

1) This is my first post on this blog.  Have to start somewhere, right.

2) Linus was born and we missed a major world tragedy in the process.  Had to write about it.

3)  The re-birth of my blog and my first angry rant at the TTC and other stupidities.  I got great feedback on this post and it gave me confidence to be myself online, to blog smartly and continue to point out how much I detest stupidity.

4) My first Thursday Thirteen from way back in 2006.  (Loved the templates back then).

5) Owie!!!  Our kitten arrived and back then it seemed like a great introduction to the family.  Now my kids look at that kitten, then look over at the adult-sized cat on the couch and wonder how that happened.  “Did Owie eat that little kitten?”

6) I reposted this speech from the United Nations, an organization I believe is corrupt, useless and anti-Israel and by doing this I pretty much came out as being Jewish – something I had not really done before just because I didn’t feel like fielding comments from bigots and racists.  Since that powerful post, and I hope that you do read this post, I have posted more and more as a means to educate people and to continue to stand up for what is right, just and fair.

7) Child #2 Arrives!  Hello Stewie.

8) First post about me…  I guess in always hiding behind a name, it was easy to never post about myself, but this post changed everything.  Since this post, I even got a name; Warren.

9) I posted about the day I completed my graduate school for my MBA which I started 3 days after Linus was born.  Work… School… Children.  Exhaustion.  It was a great ride, a ton of work and an opportunity to finally leave the government for the private sector.  I owe my wife and family a ton of gratitude for putting up with me studying while at the cottage, late nights at the kitchen table and for being downright cranky and surely during the process.  I also got a ton of A’s and a couple A+’s which I had never achieved before so that was sweet too.

10) This was my first “overheard on a Monday” post where I realized after a couple years that if I arrived at the office before 7:30am, that I could listen to my two neighbours talk about their weekends.  I used to tune them out and get right to work until one day I realized they were talking nonsense, something about double-reverse osmosis, so I called them on it – brought in my wife the chemistry teacher to back me up, and from there I had gems for my blog like no one else.  These are must read posts, as well.

11) The First Urban Daddy Official Canadian Coffee Shop Rankings.  I’m on year 4 currently and have received feedback and Twitter love from all the main chains, Country Style, Starbucks Canada, Java Joes, Tim Hortons and Timothy’s.

12) Boo is born!  Insert huge sigh of relief that this one is a girl, and please book the vasectomy appointment…

13) My absolutely most popular post ever.  On the Ontario election.  My views on this post were 10000% more than any other post, and some of my comments were tweeted along the live election feed of CP24.  I felt engaged.  Now, however, that total mocks me, as I get closer and closer to it, but it will be a long time before I can reach it again.

Thank you for being along for the first 900, and I look forward to many more posts and some great comments and contributions from all of you.

Honourable mentions:

My many posts on the Canadian Live-in Caregiver Program.

My series of posts on IVF, highlighted below for their critical importance in this day and age;

A little about Yom Kippur: Wishing you an easy fast.

Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur

Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur.

If you are observing Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy fast, and if you are seeing this after the day has finished, then may you be inscribed in the book of life for another year.

Note:  This is a scheduled post done before the day… I’m probably still in synagogue starting to get hungry while asking for forgiveness.

So what does this all mean???

Let’s start with the traditional greeting for Yom Kippur;

gamar hatimah tovah” — “A good completion to your inscription (in the book of life).”

gamar tov,” – “A good completion.”

shanah tovah” – “A good year.”

tzom kal” – ” Have an easy fast.”

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year, and not a happy one, so saying Happy Yom Kippur is not applicable.

A little more about Yom Kippur:  This holiday is observed by the most amount of Jewish people, even those who do not observe the other customs or holidays and during this day, we refrain from work, we fast and attend synagogue services for the day.

The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and on this holiday we atone for the sins of the past year.  On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which arrives just before this holiday, G-d inscribes all of our names in the book of life and on Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.  Yom Kippur is, essentially, the last appeal, or last chance to change G-d’s judgment, and to demonstrate repentance and make amends with those you have knowingly or unknowingly hurt or offended during the year.

Yom Kippur is a complete 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur - called Kol Nidre - and ending after the sun goes down on the day of Yom Kippur. There are some lesser known restrictions on this day aside from work and eating / drinking, such as wearing cosmetics or deodorants, wearing leather shoes - canvas sneakers are very common - and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.

As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of 13 and women who are in childbirth or are breastfeeding are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so.

Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer.  Services begin early in the morning and continue until about 3pm. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5pm for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until sundown.  After sundown families and friends get together to break the fast and enjoy a meal together.

Brotherly Advice: Don’t Piss off G-d.

This conversation was overheard by myself when my boys Linus, aged 7 and Stewie, aged 5 were having breakfast last week;

Stewie: “Did you know G-d is everywhere?”

Linus: “Yup.”

Stewie: “He’s killing you right now.”

Linus: “Why?”

Stewie: “It’s his job.  He’s killing everyone right now.”

… Pausing for chewing of food…

Stewie: “Linus.  Put your fist in the air.”

Linus puts his fist in the air.

Stewie: “Oh, great!  You just punched G-d.  Now he’s killing your more!!!”