I have been most vociferous about Palestine. Go into the search engine (if you can get it on your device) type in Palestine and you shall find 59 entries. Also a Free Palestine in the menu will further enlighten you to a solution posed by King Said in 1943. Ignoring him has brought constant misery, millions of deaths and huge uproar. Anyone can see that it is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.
I am vociferous about Palestine.”What is vociferous?” you might ask. It is marked by or given to vehement insistent outcry. Used in a sentence: She was a vociferous spokesperson for human rights. Extremely powerful synonyms: outspoken, vehement, forthright, uninhibited, direct, vigorous, insistent, emphatic, demanding; clamorous, strident, loud-mouthed, raucous, noisy, rowdy. My personal favorites are loud-mouthed, raucous, vehement and outspoken. Antonyms are silent and quiet. I am neither silent nor quiet about Palestine. I hold much rancor towards those who are.
In other words, those who are silent and quiet about the atrocities in Palestine. Particularly those who inflict the atrocities upon the people of Palestine deserve my spite, resentment,, ill will, malevolence, malignancy, animosity, antipathy, enmity, venom, poison, vindictiveness, balefulness, vengefulness.
Many, if not most, of the people who commit atrocities (or are silent or quiet) on the issue of Palestine are Jews. Does that make me anti-Semitic?
My May 21, 2021 blog contained both strong and humorous comments about the topic of anti-Semitism The first defense of those who are accused of being anti-semitic Is to remind the accuser that “some of my best friends are Jews” This is what I said back then and then we will move onto what I say now, almost two years later.
“At this moment, I have no Jewish friends and so cannot say Some of My Best Friends are Jewish. I did have some, even many, when living in the Bay Area but lost touch when I left for London and Vancouver. To be perfectly clear, they lost touch with me, no one visited and emails scant and disappeared. One dearest friend, Alvin Goldstein, a highly respected attorney as was going to be Bobby Kennedy’s left hand man before the assassination. , Alvin Goldstein, whose father won the Pulitzer Prize for his journalistic exposure of Lerner and Lowe. My last words to him, he was sitting in a car outside our doctor’s office about three years ago.
Me: I love you Al!
He: I love you, Alexis”
You shall now see revealed before you living, undeniable proof that one of my best friends was Jewish. It is was, not is, because she died of breast cancer. I learned of it, actually by accident, years later.
We met, Judy and I, in Corte Madera, County of Marin, California, almost twenty years ago. I had retired from Marin County Counsel’s Office – deciding on a whim to work part time in a dress store – J.Jill’s in the Village Shopping Center. Judy was also working there part time. She had been a psychiatric nurse but was taking time away from the stress of it all. Almost immediately we became the closest and the best friends. We delighted shoppers with our enthusiasm and total improbability – we were an odd couple, to say the very least. We carried our shenanigan to the entire Bay Area. Judy was a baseball fan (not me) but we began going to Oakland A games because they were the underdogs, in a rather humdrum stadium but that did not bother us. We spent the first few innings sitting in the bar watching the game on the TV, eventually making our precarious way to our seats. She always drove – not sure why but I was most thankful. We did all everything together – laughing all the time. We also shared our sadness and our difficult times. We were both suffering, going through times of change. I had left my third husband, lived rather precariously. I had retirement income -because of spousal support Judy was not suffering economically either.
I stopped working at J.Jills, she continued but we saw one another constantly. Judy was a fabulous cook, her pride and joy – her unique creation was matzoh ball soup. It was the best in the entire world, I am convinced. One year, I was determined to learn the art and science of making matzoh ball soup – we travelled together in Judy’s SUV from San Francisco to Seattle for Seder. Judy’s precious son Aaron was a recently hatched chef in a great restaurant there. She and her family had lived in Seattle and she had close friends. The trip was most eventful – for some unknown reason rest stops played a huge role. We laughed the whole way there and the whole way back.
We saw one another, remaining fast friends. However, I decided to depart on a great adventure, applying to a creative writing graduate school, getting accepted, getting a student visa so that I could live in London for two a half years. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, tried to discourage me. But not Judy, she was incredibly supportive. She knew that somehow it was something I HAD to do.
Although it was only to be a short two year stint, it evolved into something bigger No return visits for many years, then residency in Vancouver. Judy and I lost touch. I do not bear the burden of guilt as (I guess) her busy life prevented her from taking the time to email – and I do not think she ever read my daily blogs.
I returned to San Francisco in 2019, one day going on a search to find friend Judy. Went to J Jill’s to inquire. The wonderful store manager, Tody, told me she had died from breast cancer. I was stunned, sort of went into shock. A sympathetic friend, who was with me, strove to reassure.
She: But in a way, perhaps this is better. You could have done nothing to help her. She probably suffered at the end. Your only memory of her was in her healthy and vital days.
Me: (tears running down my cheeks) Thank you that helps. Thank you.
My life continued in its mad cap hectic ways – back to Marin for months but then to the UAE and now home in Canada.
I knew that somewhere, some place was a story (with recipe) I had written. But in all the confusion of my moves, it seemed irretrievable. But something akin to magic occurred last week. I had an old beat up non functioning iPad. It contained snippets of value but it had proven impossible to access them. Sheer serendipity found me taking the tattered iPad to London Drug, asking Duane for assistance. He found the story, emailed it to this computer. I sent it to Computer Guru Chris – and now you can find it. It is complete with photos of the balls and photos of Judy. It is a treasure.
All you have to do is go to the Story section of this blog and download At the conclusion of reading it you will mourn and miss her too. I promise. It does not bring her back, of course, but such fond memories your shall have. I do hope that somehow word gets to her son, his wife and beloved grandchild because I would love for them to read it as well. Perhaps amongst my long list of email addresses there will be a familiar name and I can send word to those that knew her. Or perhaps one of my anonymous readers will know and remember with fondness, Judy Raff.
My life does blessedly continue to bring joy. Two photos follow with stories to match at a later time. One photo, taken on Mother’s Day, is me and my Nepal daughter. This was the caption written on Instagram. My glamorous Nepal daughter who gifted her Canadian mother (me) with hordes of gifts and a very special card. I am wearing one gift. A beautiful blouse. I am truly blessed, I truly am.
It is not necessary for me to choose between them actually. The second photo is my ‘Muslim family’ who magically appeared in my life last week. I was invited to their home for the best food I have eaten my whole life (and that is saying something). I am posing next to ‘’Mama’ who has been so privileged by doing the hajj three times. She has promised to teach me how to say Arabic words (I am hopeless). She speaks Arabic only, not English, I speak English only (not Arabic). But here is the absolutely amazing, could not be coincidence fact, . This wonderful family is Egyptian – their name, translated into English, is Abraham.
The Abrahamic religion includes Jews, Christians and Muslims. How could I be anti-Semitic when I am of the Abrahamic faith so I am one and I loved Judy and her matzoh ball soup recipe? Do read the story. You will weep.