Today I went to Cheskie’s Bakery in the Plateau neighborhood of Montreal. Given that it was a Friday, the slow moving line was out the door. The people standing in line were a diverse representation of both Montreal’s Jewish community, including the local hipsters and hassids who live in the neighborhood. Payes and tats were both waiting in line patiently for Cheskie’s famous chocolate Babka as well as for Challahs for the evening’s Shabbat meal.
Suddenly several people’s smart phone’s pinged simultaneously – enough for the whole bakery to hear. I recognized the sound immediately as an alert from my Red Alert app – the one that tells me whenever a rocket is fired from the Gaza Strip at an Israeli city. Several people pulled out their phones to see where the rockets were headed, while others in the bakery looked on wondering what was going on. One curious hipster asked me and I showed him my screen with the list of all the rockets that had been fired that day. He seemed impressed that such an app existed and that so many Jews had it on their phones. I was less impressed because it seemed that everyone, including myself, left the default ping sound on instead of choosing something different.
So yeah, I am in Montreal visiting my folks and have thus missed all the hullabaloo that began with the kidnapping of our three boys Gil-Ad, Eyal, and Naphtali, the heartbreaking discovery of their bodies, the horrific revenge murder of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the beginning of Hamas’s rocket barrage against Israel’s civilian population and the IDF’s subsequent campaign against Hamas in Gaza. I guess that’s a good thing I suppose, but I do miss and fear for all my people in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel, and I am saddened by the unnecessary loss of life in Gaza, occasioned by a leadership safely ensconced in their underground bunkers while instigating a war that will only bring ruin and suffering to their people.
It is heartening however, to know that even in Canada, in a busy bakery on a Friday, Jews feel a solidarity with the citizens of Israel and all the civilians under attack. Do feel free to go to the app store and get your hands on Red Alert. If you are in Israel it’s an absolute necessity, and if you are in exile you’ll be both saddened and amazed at how many times the app goes off. And if you’re in Montreal, get a chocolate babka. It’s delicious!
Stay safe Israel. I’ll be back soon.