radical jewish adventures abroad

by anzya

On my recent trip to the States I decided to hop over the border to visit Canada, and our fellow radical Jewish friends from radio 613 in Kingston, Ontario. I’ve spent the past few days getting back into work and Melbourne mode and de-jetlagging, but have been meaning to give a shout out to the awesome radio 613 folk and thank them for their lovely and warm hospitality during my stay.

I stayed in Kingston for shabbes over sukkot and had plenty of opportunities to chat with radio presenters Avi and Malcah, the rest of the radio 613 collective, and their friends about what it means to be Jewish, differences and similarities in the mainstream Jewish communities in Canada and Australia, the shortage of left-wing Jews who challenge Zionism, facebook vs twitter, Indigenous struggles in our respective countries, politicians, activism, books and writers, and Regina Spektor’s dodgy politics… amongst other things.

I was pretty awed by the small but strong alternative Jewish community over there. Avi and Malcah put on a delicious vego shabbes meal on Friday night, and around 10 people slowly popped round and squeezed into the little sukkah overhung with dried sunflowers and corn stalks donated by local farmers. The sukkah was tiny and struggled to kept out the rain, but it was one of the most lovely and memorable experiences of sukkot I’ve had. I love so many of the ideas and rituals around sukkot: the idea of being closer to nature and the elements, or staying grounded; the sense of community inherent in the ritual of inviting family and friends around to share meals under the sukkah. And the couple of days of sukkot I spent in Kingston left me with the impression of a combination of close community, grounded-ness, and spirituality which was pretty inspiring.

Avi and Malcah were also so supportive of our blog which really gave me some confidence to put more time and energy into this little space on the internet my fellow bloggers and I have created. With all the pros and cons of our gen y internet age considered, I was pretty chuffed that we were able to use the somewhat bland powers of wordpress, twitter, etc to make connections with this exciting community which, though on the other side of the world, and in many ways so different from the community I find myself in here, felt also somewhat recognisable and familiar.

There is apparently a radio interview with me out there in internet land which I did with the radio 613 folks while I was up there, chatting about a whole range of tangential topics, and which you might want to listen to at your own peril (radio has never been my strong point!) But if you haven’t checked out radio 613’s show and accompanying blog, do so! Most of their past shows are available for download and have a lot in common with the topics and themes we’re interested in on this little blog.

I’m looking forward to keeping up the conversations!