A Stranger in Alberta

In my recent article on 12 November, “Change of Habit. Change of Hobby”, I remarked that when I reach my goal of 1,200 published articles I would take a long “furlough” and search for a new hobby to become my habit.

This is article # 1,198. Only two more until the goal is reached.

Whereas in the past 6 years many readers have shared comments with me, responses lately have dwindled.

But there is one reader in particular who warms my heart by the nature of his frequent remarks. Sometimes he agrees with thoughts I have expressed and at other times he corrects me by sharing his own welcome views.

I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. But what a delight if good friends we could be.

The person to whom I refer is an Israeli man living and working in Canada, in the province of Alberta and its capital city of Edmonton, to be precise.

There he is a brilliant lecturer in mathematics at MacEwan University which was founded in 1795. But the Griffins who guard the gates of the university have assured me that Avi was not listed as a member of the faculty in 1795. He is too young in mind, body and spirit.

So he remains for me a stranger in Alberta… some delightful person I have come to know only by way of his comments on my articles which he shares and which I welcome.

My many visits to Canada over the years have included only the two provinces of the French-speaking Quebec and the large province of Ontario whose city of Toronto overlooking Niagara Falls is stunning.

Alberta is bordered by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Northwest Territories and is frequently referred to as the “Gateway to the North”, or so the frightening griffins tell me.

Seriously, Avi, a daily reader, commentator and writer for the TIMES OF ISRAEL has been graciously welcomed by me for sharing his well-thought observances by way of adding them to the section for comments which appears at the end of each published article.

In past years it was common for me to read replies written by readers in 11 different countries. It made me feel like an ambassador of Israel to the world. People read, thought, replied, and shared ideas and facts with me which I might have overlooked. Their comments, positive or not, were an inspiration to me. I was pleased that people cared enough to share their opinions with me. Avi, a stranger in Alberta, is one of them.

Several readers have shared opinions with me by contacting me in my personal e-mail address. Those replies are usually longer than ones sent in the small comment space at the end of an article.

Sometimes I have printed out a reply from here and there and re-read it at different times. Most of the readers who reply to me are from Israel, the USA, Brazil, France, Germany, Holland, Canada and occasionally a few from Poland.

I glance at an atlas of the world to find their location. It gives me something more to do in my hobby.

But as I wrote on 12 November, I am running out of ideas to share and I am more tired with less energy.

So my almost daily writing must give way to a more leisurely and tranquil hobby to sustain me in my not-so-youthful almost 88 years of life if, hopefully, I make it to my March birthday, four months away.

In the meantime I look forward to the end of the “seger” miseries when one can be free to travel again and I can call a taxi to take me from my apartment in Rishon Lezion to the apartment of my beloved family in Ramat HaSharon where the visits are the highlight of our lives.

The stranger in Alberta is very fortunate. He is not in lockdown and is free to go, with the permission of his Griffin friends, to the open spaces in his Oh, Canada

I await his next response. Always welcome with a “Baruch ha ba”.

Meanwhile he must remember that while Canada is glorious and free he must take the pledge of allegiance “I stand on guard for thee”.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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