About Me

“Du Bist a Yid”
My Father to Me

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Albert Einstein [1879–1955],
quoted in LIFE magazine, May 2, 1955

©2017. Perry J. Greenbaum

I have been thinking about my father lately; he died of colon cancer in 1980; he was 69. My father spoke little of his experiences during the Second World War, what in Yiddish is called the Khurbn Eyrope (חורבן אײראָפּע; “Destruction of Europe”). My father spoke to us in Yiddish, the mameloshn (“mother tongue;” language) of Eastern Europe Jews for a thousand years. My father often took great pains to remind me who I was and where I came from.

I often ignored his advice, his views, his thinking and his feelings, generally deciding that assimilation was important while growing up in Montreal, in Canada. How else could one fit in? Is this not the best way? For some, perhaps, but not for me. Not now. (I was born in 1957, and lived during a certain time in history, different than today, with a different kind of questioning and yearning.)

You see, strange things begin to happen when you get married and have children, and they are growing up, and you once again think of your parents. And you see and read what is taking place around the world, so much meshugas. Then, you begin to decide what’s really important now is stability and continuity. So, after seven years and almost 2,500 posts, I have decided to slightly change the focus of this blog—a focus on Yiddishkeit (or Yiddishkayt, as it is now spelled in accordance to the orthographic standards of YIVO).

Therefore, I will continue to add more in the way of Yiddish language, music, culture and art. The whole basis of Judaic culture is learning, debating, arguing (even with God) and coming to an understanding, where we can apply moral knowledge to our world, with the purpose of making it better and in particular more humane. Einstein is right about the need to keep on questioning; this is the only way to find answers, the only way to change the bad to good. 

This is why I am a Jew. This is my way of saying that my father was right. As a Jew, I celebrate life, and all things Jewish in its various forms of expression. Even so, I am also cognizant that no man (or culture) is an island, and thus I also celebrate what we share as humans and what makes the world more humane. This is why I am a democratic socialist and believe in its virtues, as my father did. On this account, I think of the Yiddish song, Un Mir Zaynen Ale Brider (“And We are All Brothers”). 

I will continue to write to promote such ideas and ideals, and although the times have changed, the universality of these values have not. Ikh bin a shrayber (“I am a writer”), which is what I do. I enjoy writing, which is why I have been writing professionally for more than 20 years. I have posted some of my professional published work on my site [see “My Other Journalistic Writing]

As for you, the reader, I hope that you will keep on reading.

“Seeing the world as I do” /
“Gezen di velt vi es zol zeyn”

Perry J. Greenbaum
Toronto, Ontario