YOM HASHOAH . . . The Hebrew words for Holocaust Remembrance.
I was planning on writing an editorial on an event that was to be this coming Sunday (April 27, 2014), to commemorate the end of the Holocaust.
Anne and I live about twenty minutes from Cornwall Ontario, which is on the St Lawrence River, just across from Massena New York, where we do just about all of our grocery shopping.
The event was (is) being sponsored by a group of people in Cornwall, in a Church, under the guise of Yom Hashoah, which intrigued me, since Cornwall is a very poor, blue-collar town on the St Lawrence River with a population of less than fifty thousand, whose average HOUSEHOLD income is under $40,000.
In terms of Jewish population, it is doubtful that there are more than a few Jewish families anywhere within a sixty-mile proximity in all Canadian directions, even though there used to be a vibrant Jewish Community in Cornwall.
Over the years, the Cornwall Jewish Community grew old by age, and the children moved to bigger cities and better opportunities, effectively ending any meaningful Jewish population. The last Synagogue closed in Cornwall about half a dozen years ago. But there is still a tiny Jewish Cemetery in the area, which is beautifully maintained by a Christian Cemetery, both located side by side on the North Shore of the St Lawrence River.
I was born and raised in Montreal, and had never realized until after moving to this area in the year 2000, that I actually had direct family roots here. It seems that after WWII, when my dad came home from fighting overseas for five years, he and my mother made this region home.
As a matter of fact, in the very late 1940’s, perhaps as late as 1948, my parents were involved in a train/car collision at the Lancaster Crossing . . . that literally decimated the car, virtually making it a miracle that they both escaped with barely a scratch.
I have a newspaper photo of the mangled car on the tracks, but never knew that the accident happened no further than ten miles from where Anne and I currently live.
Anne and I also didn’t know until recently, that an Aunt and Uncle of mine owned a dry-goods store in Lancaster, only several hundred feet from the same tracks where the accident happened.
So, as it turns out . . . not only do I have roots in the area. I have skin in the game.
So, when a local journalist informed me of this Christian inspired tribute and commemoration to the victims of the Holocaust, I really wanted to be a part of it, and contacted one of the organizers.
The woman I spoke to was thrilled that not only was I going to participate, but was going to invite members of our Montreal Jewish Motorcycle Club to accompany me. And when I asked her, if she would want one of our Members to delver the Kaddish in Hebrew, which is the ancient Jewish prayer for the dead, she was extremely pleased.
I sent the invitation out to the President of the Motorcycle group who immediately said yes, who also agreed to deliver the Kaddish. And as word spread, other BIKERS, most of whom are not Jewish, but care about things that are important, also wanted to attend.
To just say that I was pleased . . . would have been a gross understatement. I was THRILLED to be a part of this, in a town where Judaism is nothing more than a rumor, and where my newly discovered family history had been unknown to me for more than fifty years.
During the 14 years that Anne and I have lived in this area, we have heard no shortage of anti-Semitic remarks at restaurants, and even at one upper-class grocery store that caters to a better-heeled clientele.
About 4 years ago, a high school student in Williamstown, where Anne and I live, wrote using another student’s email account, who worked for me on the farm when he wasn’t in school, how Jews were filthy. And it was just too bad that Hitler didn’t finish the job.
Since it came from the school email address of the young man who worked for me, I responded with an email to him demanding an explanation. And to the great credit of the young man’s parents, they called the police and confronted the high school where the email originated.
The young anti-Semite, who was 15 years old at the time, was found and brought to the Principal’s office along with his mother, a sergeant with the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) and myself.
When I asked the young Jew-Hater if he had ever met a Jew before meeting me then and there, his answer was no.
When I asked him why he said such hateful things in his email, he just shrugged his shoulders and wept.
And when I asked the OPP Officer what would happen to him if I pressed charges, we were told that he would face criminal charges for a Hate Crime, which in Canada is a very serious offence.
It was hard to tell between the boy and the mother, whom of the two was sobbing the most; I suspect far more out of fear of the consequences, than for what the boy had done.
I told the boy in front of his mother, the principal and the police officer, that I was going to give him the biggest break he ever had in his 15-year life.
I told him that even though I didn’t believe that he was repentant, that I was not going to press charges, not because I didn’t think he should be punished, but because sending him into the court system would have made him even more of an anti-Semite than he already was.
And if there was just a one percent chance that he would learn anything positive from this, that one percent was worth it.
Anne and I came home relatively late Tuesday night (April 22nd) from a supper in Montreal. And after feeding the horses and bedding down the farm, I listened to a message on our home phone, which asked me to return the call, even though it was after 10pm.
The caller was John Towndrow of the Cornwall Interfaith Partnership, who is also an organizer of the Cornwall Holocaust Remembrance event, who had grave concerns about our extreme position on our unabashed BATTLE CRY of NEVER AGAIN.
He was very concerned that we, Pledge Riders, have an extreme aversion to Islamo/Fascism, and stand unapologetically for Israel’s RIGHT to exist in peace and security.
As mater of FACT, he was far more concerned with Islamo/Phobia, than he was in preventing a Second Holocaust, and during our very unpleasant conversation, I had to correct him when he said that there had been several Holocausts, when in FACT, there has only been ONE Holocaust amongst many Genocides.
I asked him . . . that if he was he was so supportive of Islam, was he also supportive of Sharia? To which he answered: “We should respect the traditions of all faiths.”
To which I responded by saying . . . I guess you support the subjugation of women. That women should have no rights. That women should not be able to drive in many countries, or even show their faces.
“Oh no” he said . . . I don’t support stuff like that.”
I have to wonder where he stands on the BRUTAL practice of Islam’s female genital circumcision, stoning of women for infidelity, and honor killings of girls and women who in the opinion of husbands, sons and brothers have somehow disgraced the family, by being in their minds sexually promiscuous.
In our conversation that was making me sick, he said that there was going to be young people in attendance, where everyone would participate in DIALOGUE, but what we had to say was really not in keeping with their concept of KUMBAYA (my word).
This guy is indeed the EPITOME of the LEFT that I so much detest. He and his kind have been throughout history the BLIGHT that has caused more grief upon humanity than anything else.
I received several queries from friends and groups, asking me why a Jewish University like Brandeis University in LEFTIST Massachusetts, would revoke an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the world’s FOREMOST courageous woman, who took the worst that Islam could throw at her because she was a woman, yet never stopped fighting back.
The answer lies in my very unpleasant experience with John Downtrow.
Being a LEFTIST has nothing to do with religion and/or gender, and everything to do with a very flawed and sick idea of values.
I’m sorry that the Sunday Event will not happen as I had hoped it would. But I’d rather stand alone against the evils of the world, than be surrounded amongst useless and ignorant apologists, who like to build bridges, live in big tents, and sit around a fire singing Kumbaya, while all hell is breaking loose around them.
PS . . . Please know that I read all the COMMENTS. And from time to time I will ask people who submit COMMENTS, whose full name or City does not properly appear in the WRITER’S identification, to send me the corrected information.
Your COMMENTS are very much appreciated.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov