October 6th, 2019

5780: The year so far.

Germany: 'A 23-year-old Syrian armed with a knife on Friday ran into a Berlin synagogue, and was arrested at the entrance. According to eyewitnesses, the Syrian yelled "Allahu akhbar" and anti-Israel statements. ...' He was questioned and released.

France: 'A staffer at Paris police headquarters who stabbed four colleagues to death on Thursday adhered to "a radical vision of Islam", an anti-terror prosecutor said Saturday, according to AFP. The 45-year-old computer expert had been in contact with members of Salafism, an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, and defended "atrocities committed in the name of that religion", Jean-Francois Ricard was quoted as having told reporters. ... The assailant, named as Mickael Harpon, was shot dead by a policeman, who was a trainee at the police headquarters. ... Harpon held a high-level "defense secrets" security clearance, which authorized him to handle sensitive information of national defense importance and would have subjected him to regular, stringent security checks.'

Australia: Twelve-year-old Jewish boy harassed, beaten, forced to kiss feet of Muslim boy. 'AFTER term two began, so did the antisemitic name-calling. “Jewish ape”, “Jewish n****r” and “Jewish gimp” were just some of the slurs hurled towards Taylor. He silently took the verbal abuse. ... BUT it was the reaction of the school – both immediately and in the ensuing weeks – that left Karen bemused and ultimately, devastated. They refused to label the incidents as antisemitic. ...'

Canada: 'On 29 Sept., 2019, antifa and allied left-wing protesters rioted outside an event in Hamilton, Ontario featuring Dave Rubin and conservative politician Maxime Bernier. "She was crying, hands were shaking," queer activist Jackson Gates tells me. "She was petrified."' Via my friend Andy Ngo.

2019-10-06 Sun: Sunny Sunday, back to books.

I promised myself I was going to get away from the computer keyboard and spend some time outdoors today, and that's what I did. In addition to a quick grocery run, I took a low-key run/walk around the block. It was sunny and cool, temperatures around 64 to 69F during the day.

I want to get back on one of my reading/writing projects this year - my series of Toni Morrison reviews - after a long hiatus. I'm working on TM's sixth novel, 'Jazz', right now. It's set in Harlem in 1926/27; the story was inspired in part by a photograph of a young dead woman at her funeral, and in part by Morrison's discovery of her mother's trunk of memorabilia. The language is magical, mysterious, and mystical, even by Toni Morrison standards. The voice of the unidentified, omniscient narrator is powerful and hypnotic, and you get drawn deep into the characters and their inner lives, their secret loves and obsessions.

Also been reading 'A City In Its Fullness' by S. Y. Agnon. The English edition I'm reading is a selection of tales from the original Hebrew edition (which comprised over 140 stories). It took me a while to warm to Agnon at first but he is definitely growing on me. There is so much going on beneath the surface. (I feel certain that the final comment at the end of 'The Hazzanim [cantors]' is intentionally humorous, since in fact the story is not mainly about the [male] cantors but rather about two women, Miriam Devora and Rivka Henya.)

Tonight, early to bed; tomorrow, back to work.