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Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done

I am in a barber-shop to get a shave. Speaking with the owner, I find out he is originally from Fiji. I am at a playground, with Ayan, who plays with a girl his age. I start speaking with her father, who tells me that he came from Morocco about 10 years ago. My wife is at a drop-in center for parents and children, where she befriends a woman, who is there with her son. Her slavic accent discloses her – she is from Serbia. One of the assistants working in that center is from Argentina. The other one from Poland. This isn’t a promotional UN campaign. These are typical scenes from a daily life, here in Vancouver. Continue reading “Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done”

Les Voyageurs

How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years

Last Saturday, as usual for Saturdays, I took my son to my parents home. We had lunch consisting of mashed potatoes and meat cutlets – the staple dishes in my parents’ Russian cuisine. My dad read a couple of children books to Ayan. My mom reminded me of my commitments the next week and worried that I don’t exercise enough. All as usual. The same familial ritual that occurred hundreds of time before. But something was different. I wasn’t in a hurry. As a matter of fact, I wanted to stay longer. Continue reading “How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years”

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Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow

A six-hour night bus to Eilat, crossing the border with Jordan, another two hours from Akaba to Wadi Musa. After a sleepless night, tired and preoccupied with life, I was hardly in a mood to be impressed with anything. But when after walking the great Siq (canyon) of Petra, I registered a glimpse of the famous Treasury facade among the high rocks, I couldn’t stay indifferent. This is was the most impressive thing I saw in the Middle East. Continue reading “Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow”

Niagara Falls city

What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity

The main street of the city of Niagara Falls, the one on the Canadian side of the famous falls, may seem as a scaled-down version of Las Vegas. A sparkling hub of neon signs, flashing lights, 3D, 4D and even 6D (!) entertainment complexes, diners and franchise restaurants that offer combo meals with supersizing options. Basically, everything that American entertainment industry is good at, condensed into one street. Affordable and accessible, no-nonsense, mass entertainment, packaged and sold to anyone who needs to lose his troubles away for a couple of hours. Continue reading “What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity”

patriotism

I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine

One could say that I live in a country-free bubble. I don’t really care about Jewish holidays, I don’t observe Jewish traditions, I don’t listen to Israeli music, I don’t watch Israeli TV (or any TV at all for that matter). I have my family, my friends, my job, my volunteering. I watch Game of Thrones, read non-fiction in English and prose in Russian, get most of my news from Facebook, listen to electronic music on the Internet. Almost none of it is connected specifically to Israel. Continue reading “I Want To Love My Country Because It’s Great, Not Because It’s Mine”

wedding

Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me

My wife and I have lived most of our lives 6,000 kilometers away from each other. Our meeting, unlikely as it was, has led to a close friendship which turned into a marriage. We are what you may call an interracial couple – I’m Ashkenazi Jewish and Oxanna is Buryat-Mongolian. But while many interracial couples have to cope with cultural differences, for us it isn’t the case. Continue reading “Why Marrying a Non-Jewish Woman Is The Best Thing That Happened To Me”