David Greaves
Let My People Slide

Brigadoon – The invisible Jew

Throughout history and more specifically over the past 10 weeks, Jews have felt an eerie connection to the past. A connection that no people should be connected to but for Jews around the world it is yet another reminder of who’s got our back… no one, with a few exceptions. 

Jews have wondered where the %^&*@@ our friends are. This IS a real thing. Our community is getting restless, even those that are not typically vocal in sharing their deepest and darkest but this darkest is different, quite undeniably, something we are not familiar with… The people of Israel and Jews worldwide have endured so much. We have overcome everything that history has thrown at us so many might say that this is ‘just another Middle East skirmish’ or hey, those Jews are resilient or ‘honey change the channel’. We too might have felt that initially, but when the incomprehensible acts of terror on October 7th became clear, followed by the corresponding rise of global Antisemitism, it has left us heartbroken, grieving, terrified and feeling alone. 

Quite frankly 10/7 left most people in horror and many of us thought, finally! the world will see what all the fuss has been about, it is finally undeniable. And they did…for about 3 days and then it vanished. It is the Brigadoon of terror that Israel has lived for 75 years. Like Brigadoon, a musical about a mythical Scottish village that appears for one-day every 100 years and then disappears, so to do the brief moments of bandwagon leaders, the generally civilized, in their support of Israel and the Jewish people. Capitals all over the world were lit up Kachol v’lavan – Blue and white – The Eifel Tower, the white house, the Canadian House of Commons. Heads of State after Heads of State addressed their respective nations and the world with disgust over the abhorrent acts against innocent civilians on that day, and in most cases before the worst of the evil had even been revealed. It shook most people worldwide to the core… AND THEN, Dr. Jekyl arrived right on time. 

The response has been that Am Yisrael, the nation of Israel, has come together to face this new scourge of hate and evil and will fight it with ‘bare knuckles’ and alone if need be – whether on the ground in Israel or in the Diaspora – We are one! And the reason we are one and defiant is because throughout history we have had to be. And sadly, we have this question again, a question that I am embarrassed to share, not embarrassed for me but for the many that have remained silent – Have we, your friends, soccer coaches, business partners, golf buddies, book clubbers or car poolers become invisible? Have our friends missed their one day in 100 years to send their love, support, even just a ‘kiss emoji’? I’m afraid that if they have, then when Brigadoon returns in another 100 years, it will be too late. So, pick up the phone, send a text, remind your jewish friends that you love them. Maybe you don’t know what to say or can’t make sense of what you are seeing, we understand but please don’t remain silent, what we do not understand is the silence. 

To the ordinary reader this may sound dramatic and even as I write this it feels a little so, but in reality, this is our reality – our truth – our fear.  There are only a few left from the darkest time in our history and who could blame them for wondering what the empty words ‘Never Again’ meant when first uttered. Jewish businesses are today being branded, boycotted, vandalized – Jewish homes are being vandalized and families have gone to the extreme of removing the mezuzot from their doorposts to hide who they are. Jews and Jewish communities are scared – Plain and effing simple. And, what is most terrifying is these stories are not from some lawless part of the world, this is in CANADA and it is 2023!  

Resilience Rally, Winnipeg Canada Tuesday, October 10

But, there is, in all this darkness, a little bit of light; something that gives me hope and a place where I do not feel invisible – my community; Among my friends, Jewish or not, my loved ones and those that see the pain in my eyes – the fear in my eyes – the horror in my eyes. We share this common horror, and like the past, it has brought a nation together. A nation that for many times through history, while lost or hiding amongst communities and countries of the world, always found each other, took care of each other and although lost, we always maintained who we were. Even when in hiding we always silently gazed eastward, to Jerusalem, the flame, the light and The Hope of the Jewish people. There is no greater story than that of the perseverance and survival of the Jewish people. The resilience and the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland, the reviving of a lost language, the Startup Nation and for this we should all be proud. Proud of everything but mostly, Proud To Be a Jew! 

There is also this, a reminder of the goodness of people and a source of light in the darkness. Uplifting moments that have also broken the silence, helping us feel a little less alone. To the few friends and colleagues who have reached out to say ‘I am thinking about you’, calls that have been made to some in our community, there are no words to express how deeply that sentiment is felt. That simple text or call has offered hope and warmth. We know that it takes courage to stand alone, to do the unpopular thing – to kneel down on the side of the road and tend to someone in need, it is a Jewish value, especially while others avoid him by crossing that road. To those few, we thank you for not crossing that road.

David, laying cornerstone of the Bervin JNF Canada House with Mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi

I love being Jewish. Not a day goes by when I am not keenly aware of my connection to the traditions our forefathers and mothers and Moses, Aaron and Joshua. I will stand tall with my community and those who support our community, those who stand against all forms of hate, those who stand against antisemitism. We invite you to stand with us?

About the Author
David is a dual Canadian/Israeli and spent 10 years as a development director for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. In 2014 David established his own fundraising consulting firm, Protexia, for the not for profit sector and charities of all sizes. In 2020, David accepted the position of Executive Director of JNF Canada, Manitoba/Saskatchewan region where he works to enhance the State of Israel by supporting the many meaningful projects committed to by JNF Canada. David also competed internationally as a founding member of the Israeli Bobsled Team. David is now President of the Israeli Olympic Bobsleigh Skeleton Federation who's athlete competed in the Olympic Winter Games in 20218 in PyeongChang, South Korea. David was recently voted in as a member of the National Olympic Committee of Israel's Plenum. David has two beautiful and brilliant kids: Nesya and Aaron.