Tuesday, April 19, 2005
white smoke = new pope
I'm actually kinda sad they picked a pope so soon because I was enjoying the absurdity of the "Vatican Cam" (or Vaticam, as I like to call it) that was doing some crazy 24 hour surveillance and reporting on the colour of the smoke wafting out of the chimney. I loved the serious tone that reporters took when discussing the fact that the smoke (at the time) was black... a "grim" sign that the cardinals were in a voting deadlock. Would we ever see white smoke? Could an agreement be reached? Would there be a new pope??? dun DUN DUN!!! The whole thing was gripping and I had hoped for a few more days of these hilarious reports. But, as it turns out, a German has stepped up to bat and Benedict is now the chief. Mazal Tov!

Meanwhile.... in other religions.....

Last night I was walking through my local grocery store when I saw their obligatory Passover section set up for the coming holiday (it gets moved to a more prominent section for the weeks before and after and then the kosher section is greatly reduced and moved to the back). What made me stop in my tracks and back up to have a look were the toys I saw in the section. My personal favourite was the 10 Plague finger puppets, followed closely by the Bag O' Plagues. Coz nothing says fun quite like re-enacting a plague! :-D For those who find that a little too dark perhaps you'd like to get the Four Questions of Passover finger puppets (a useful tool for reminding you of what the four questions are!). Mazta and karpas and charoset, oh my!

Speaking of Jews, I watched a documentary on Sunday called "One is too Many". It was about the growing anti-semitism in France and how Jews are leaving in greater and greater numbers. The interesting part was that many of them are heading here, to Canada, instead of Israel. Not surprising since there is a large French speaking population in Canada (read: Quebec) but still, I thought it was odd that Israel wouldn't be their first choice. Since that link might not be accurate in a week's time let me quote what the site says about the film:

"A new wave of anti-semitism is sweeping Europe, creating a climate of fear for Jews. Every day, there are more reports of Jews being physically attacked on the streets, rabbis harassed, synagogues fire-bombed and cemeteries desecrated.

The problem has been most acute in France, the country with the largest Jewish population on the continent. Jews have an historical affinity for France: it was the first country to offer the Jews of Europe full citizenship. Jews who survived the Nazi death camps went to France after the war. They have enjoyed what many French writers describe as a love affair with France. But now the Jews of France fear the republic is not protecting them from this latest threat to their security. Thousands have decided to leave the country. Many are going to Israel. But a surprising number have found another place to go - Quebec.

Reporter Carol Off and producer Alex Shprintsen tell this story through two French families, deeply conflicted about leaving France for Canada. Retired French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil and Nobel Peace Prize-winning author Elie Wiesel also appear in this 1-hour long documentary."

Anyway, it was very interesting if not sad and disturbing. It was heartbreaking having to watch a teacher in a Jewish school chastise a student for wearing his kippah outside of the school when he had been told to take it off when he leaves (for his own safety). Once again, Jews have to hide their identity in order to survive...

In lighter news... I was amused by this headline I saw: Tel Avivians face 'mosquito attack'. Seems that when a swarm of mosquitos descend on Tel Aviv it's news worthy! Boy, if we reported mosquito problems in the news here in Canada there's be no time for any other news! Mosquitoes?? you don't say! Pfft.... I'll show you mosquitoes!

Btw, like how I stuck in a pic of me that was completely unrelated to anything in the post? I had actually taken it to show a certain Israeli (*couGILgh*) that there's no snow here anymore, and in fact it's warm enough to run around outside without a jacket on! Not bad for April in Toronto!