Muriel was born in Cape Town in 1945 to Ellie and Malkah (“Queenie”) Goldblatt. Her mother was a staunch Zionist who, as a youth, had belonged to the Young Israel organization. Growing up, Queenie told her daughter that Jews could walk tall once a bona fide Jewish homeland was established in Israel and, indeed, she and Ellie would make aliyah once Muriel had grown up and immigrated to Canada with her family.
Though Muriel enjoyed life in South Africa, she regarded apartheid as “an iniquitous, divisive, elitist, and cruel concept” and once she and her husband, Stephen, started a family, they begin considering different countries as destinations for immigration.
Immigration was not a straightforward experience by any means. Stephen’s credentials as a paediatrician were not recognized initially while Muriel had to raise three children—aged five years old, three years old, and twenty-two months old respectively—with no parents to help with babysitting. Weather proved to be the biggest adjustment, however, with Muriel soon discovering that Canada was “a country of coats.” Despite these challenges, the family made a success of their immigration, Muriel working as a special needs teacher and Stephen practicing as a doctor.
Upon retiring in her mid-40s, Muriel took up horseback riding—a passion from her childhood—and competed in dressage. She gave up competing with the arrival of grandchildren, but continues to ride recreationally.