22 August 2014

I Got Tagged

... by my lovely cousin Amy, to take part in the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge.

The Challenge has its detractors, some of whom think it's a stunt and others of whom worry that other organizations will see a drop in donations, but by and large I think it's a positive thing.

Nevertheless, I've decided to respond in my own way.  

Later today, I'm going to the pool, and I guess I'll go ahead and dump a bucket of ice water over my head, or let someone else do it.

I've also made a donation to the ALS Assocation.  And to the American Cancer Society, and to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.

ALS has, I supposed, touched my life; I once had a fitful, fearful, fretful night, after being told I needed to be tested for it, and then an hour or so on a gurney given electrical shocks to make sure all my nerves were working right. They were. Eventually, I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, and thankfully, a week of antibiotics took care of it.

Cancer and Crohn's Disease have also touched my life. I have several family members who have lived with, or died from, either disease, and typing that sentence opens a hole in my heart. But those are not my stories to tell, so I'll leave it at that.

Finally, I've reached out to the local synagogue to ask about volunteer activities. I'm on sabbatical and this is a good opportunity to spend some time giving back. 

There are other organizations I could volunteer through, but volunteering as a Jew feels important and right at a time when antisemitism is on the rise again in Europe. Here in England, a store recently removed kosher goods (produced in Poland and the UK) from its shelves in response to "anti-Israel" protests: Judaism in general conflated with protests against Israeli actions in Gaza. And at a protest on the market square in Cambridge the other weekend, a man carried a sign reading "Israel = Nazis."

Made me sick.

And so I feel it's important to identify with Jews and Judaism in a public way.

Thank you, Amy, for tagging me, and thank you for getting me to think about these things, and getting me to make a commitment to volunteer work in the year to come.