Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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Slicing through ignorant anti-circumcision rhetoric

Every once in a while, the subject of circumcising male newborns and boys rears its ugly head – no pun intended – and the discussion rarely takes long to veer into ethnocentrism, if not outright intolerance.

Circumcision ceremony at wRanter.com

It’s a central rite in Judaism.

With the best of intentions, and without realizing it, many people who object to the practice end up making statements that belie their stated respect for the rights of others.

The debate – if we can call it that, since the word connotes a certain civility that’s mostly absent from all the shouting – is usually confined to the fringes, with so-called “intactivists” railing into an echo chamber until something happens to thrust the debate back into the mainstream.

The latest such event occurred earlier this summer when a German court in Cologne ruled that a child’s “fundamental right to bodily integrity” trumps his parents’ religious rights. It said those parental rights “would not be unduly impaired” if children were allowed to decide when they’re older whether or not to be circumcised.

The ruling came in the case of a four-year-old Muslim boy who experienced complications after being circumcised by a doctor. Continue reading

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Adventures in parenting, Part 3: Time flies

Baby and dad at wRanter.com

Seems like a long time ago

My wife and I sent our boys off to sleepover camp last week, and while we’re excited to have 3-1/2 weeks of kid-free alone time, the house is eerily quiet without them.

I woke up the other day thinking about how quickly time passes when you’re busy doing stuff like working, raising kids, making meals and doing laundry. For some reason, I thought about the piece below, which I wrote in 1998 when my eldest son was not even one year old. (It appeared in a slightly different form in the Ryersonian, the newspaper of Ryerson University’s journalism program.)

The baby in this little vignette – which I recently unearthed on an old 3.5-inch floppy disk buried on a shelf in our home office – is now a 5-8, 150-pound 14-year-old.

As I type this, he’s probably on a four-day camping trip in Algonquin Park with his bunkmates.

It almost makes me cry just thinking back to when he was just a little thing on my shoulder.

So, sure, my wife and I are having fun being kidless for a while, but we really do miss our guys, and we miss the smaller versions of themselves that they used to be even more.

Continue reading

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Adventures in parenting, Part 2: Longing for some sleep

I’m writing this post while in a bit of a haze.

Actually, I’ve written all the posts on this site while in a bit of a haze. So if you find any typos, please excuse them, because I’m a dad of longstanding.

Let me explain.

Boy sleeping at wRanter.com

At least someone is getting some rest.

All the books and advice on parenting emphasize that the first year of parenthood can be as hellish as it is joyful, mainly because of the rest you’re not going to get enough of.

Newborns sleep at odd times, and you and your spouse will be at their beck and call at all hours. After a few months of this, you become addled and paranoid. And if you’re still married by the end, you deserve a medal. (Where can I pick that up, by the way? Never mind.)

It tends to get a bit better after about 12 months or so, when kids begin to develop sleep patterns you can count on. In the meantime, nap time – blessed nap time – gives parents the opportunity to either grab some sleep themselves or to do grownup stuff, like read the newspaper or watch a movie that’s neither animated nor involves puppets.

But the torture continues after their first birthdays, so that by the time your child is three of four, your intellectual capacity is probably 70 or 80 per cent of what it once was, and your brain may never be the same again.

That’s the bad news. Continue reading

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Adventures in parenting, Part 1: Care and feeding of Teen Wolf

It happens almost every time. (OK, not that often, but way too much.)

A 14-year-old boy in a foul mood does something that drives his fortysomething dad bananas, and his fortysomething dad sleepwalks into the trap of allowing himself to be driven bananas.

Before you pass judgment, let me explain.

Wolfman at wRanter.com

Het gets ornery when he's hungry

Primo is 14 and Secondo is 11, well past the stage when they need to have all of their bodily needs attended to by mom and dad. One of the advantages of having older kids is that on the weekend, if you still remember how, you can sleep in until 9, 10, 11 or even – with permission from your middle-age bladder – all the way to noon, the holy grail of loafdom.

This is only possible, however, if your kids take responsibility for feeding themselves. It doesn’t work nearly as well when they don’t, or won’t, because you’ll wake up to hungry, cranky creatures whose meal times have been thrown way off schedule, leaving you (or your payback-demanding spouse) to sort out the mess.

The problem is compounded if one or more of them turns into a complete werewolf when they don’t eat.

We’ve got one of those. Continue reading

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