23 April, 2007

Books, boxes, bags and bookings

Filed under: Montreal,Tanakh by Joel @ 7:34 pm, 23 April 2007.

So here I am, six days from finally leaving Montreal. The return trip begins. I’m still putting in order some of the things I’ll be doing in Europe (London, Amsterdam, Paris, London) not to mention all the things I have to do here before leaving. And all the people I have to farewell, possibly till next time they hit our southern shores.

This morning I finished the largest piece of written work I have ever done. I may have once or twice written pieces of software of similar length, but this paper just kept growing. I’m not certain it’s my best piece of literary work, and I keep findingpoints where I forgot to edit, so there might be some more. Anyway, if you’re bored and feel like looking at my 24,000 word paper on the history of Jewish interpretation of Psalms 62:12, you’re welcome to. Printed it looks more like a book than an essay. I’ve decided I’ll start putting up some of my essays for university courses online in general. So feel free to check them out, even though, again, I don’t promise an exciting read.

So now I have a take-home exam to do, and a linguistics exam tomorrow… Then a whole pile of errands, and one evening I’ll suddenly find myself in an airport, leaving the city I’ve called home for eight months. Weird.

14 April, 2007

Tuesday’s Trauma

Filed under: Family,Montreal by Joel @ 9:09 pm, 14 April 2007.

I was going to write about all eight days of Pesach, but I won’t have the time for at least another week. There is too much to do for uni, and to see that I make it through Europe without a hitch after I leave Montreal on the 29th of the month. But at least one story I want to relate sooner. (more…)

5 April, 2007

Freedom of Religion

Filed under: Current affairs,Jewish community,Montreal,Religion,Society and culture by Joel @ 8:07 pm, 5 April 2007.

In March 2005, McGill closed its Muslim prayer room. In 2006 the Canadian Supreme Court overruled a Québec school’s ban on carrying a Sikh ceremonial weapon. In January 2007, Canada was inflamed with discussions of “reasonable accommodation” after the release of a “Code of Conduct” for newcomers to Hérouxville. It seems as if Québec again wants to copy France in a strong stand on Laïcité.

Chapel up the stairs to the leftMcGill Chapel wiped out of existence Suddenly in these last few days, University administration has decided the chapel in the McGill “Birks” Religious Studies building no longer exists. Signs that once indicated its presence are now gone. The room that the rest of the building is centred around no longer has any official purpose or title. (more…)

9 March, 2007

Leaving the cleaning to someone else

Filed under: Montreal by Joel @ 2:35 pm, 9 March 2007.

One of the possible advantages of staying at a place like Hillel is that I don’t need to do things like clean the bathrooms and corridoors. George the caretaker does that, and empties the garbage bin… and people even (rightly or wrongly) leave him dirty dishes for the morning.

This is not always an advantage. Such as today when I needed to go to the toilet but my reading material (which I leave beside it) had disappeared. I went to ask George about it, but he only knew of a comic book and a magazine that were there but he had moved. It seems the importants at Hillel had asked him to clean the area as we are having a few guests staying with us for the weekend. (more…)

8 March, 2007

Purim with the Ghetto Shul

Filed under: Montreal by Joel @ 6:56 pm, 8 March 2007.

Avrumi The holiday of purim is the silliest day of the Jewish calendar, filled with drinking, partying, dressing up in silly costumes, and (not unlike most other Jewish festivals) eating lots of food. As such, there were numerous Megillah (Book of Esther) readings and purim parties on Saturday night, and many afternoon feasts on Sunday, across the Jewish communities of Montreal. (more…)

7 March, 2007

Is it spring yet?

Filed under: Montreal,Weather by Joel @ 9:30 am, 7 March 2007.

Just when I thought we were about to hit melting point (and the streets would soon be covered with the slush of melting snow), the temperature dipped right back down to the -30s (and everything froze). If only I knew this before going for a 30 minute walk without my tuque (beanie) or long johns on. In fact, just the day before I had washed my long underwear and put it away, hoping not to need them again for some time.

They are finally predicting highs of 9 degrees by the end of the week…

Update: they bureau changed its mind: the best we’ve got now till Sunday is 1 degree.

1 March, 2007

One person’s rubbish is another person’s…

Filed under: Montreal,Student life by Joel @ 2:35 am, 1 March 2007.

I’ve been catching up slowly on the blog of Simon Holloway and was loathingly jealous of his—as a postgraduate—being able to grab as he wished from the USyd Library Undergraduate Collection, as he described, “Like a child in a candy store…“, collecting 31 titles.

IMG_2710out This was redeemed only a little by McGill’s library going back to their Wednesday night practice of leaving recycling bins full of books outside in the cool air, waiting for people to come and rifle through them for anything of use. (more…)

16 February, 2007

Don’t forget your passport

Filed under: Montreal,Travels by Joel @ 12:27 am, 16 February 2007.

I was beginning to pack for a Hillel trip to Boston which would be leaving this Friday morning at 5:30am when I realised that I needed my passport. So I took out my passport folder and added it to the packing pile, before opening it to realise that there wasn’t actually a passport inside it! (more…)

7 February, 2007

Activist campus

Filed under: Montreal,Student life by Joel @ 5:00 pm, 7 February 2007.

Today was a National Day of Action for students across Canada to demonstrate their longing for “high-quality, accessible post-secondary education.” Students were meant to meet at 1:30pm at the Roddick Gates and march out to the Premier’s office, before a gay afternoon of “food, drinks (of all kinds), and festivities” alongside a screening of the movie “My Student Loan”.

Wow. It’s a little different here from what I’m used to back home. (more…)

5 February, 2007


Filed under: Montreal by Joel @ 11:42 pm, 5 February 2007.

I came up to our residence level of the Hillel house this evening to find my roommate Emmanuel incredulously looking over two boxes of groceries on the kitchen table that had obviously been delivered sometime in the evening. There was something wrong here: we had already received our groceries earlier that day from the people Hillel charges with the task (the restaurant-owners); they had never been delivered like that before; and on inspection, not everything was kosher. But some of the contents needed refrigerating so we knew we had to do something quickly. And one of the boxes was leaving a dark liquid on our kitchen table. (more…)

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