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$2.00 • 44 PAGES • WWW.CJNEWS.COM
december 18, 2014 • 26 kislev, 5775 Inside
More funds for survivors
Claims Conference will
triple 2015 allocation for 11
Canadian agencies that help
Holocaust victims. PAGE 12
The politics of conversion
For some, joining the Jewish People involves pitfalls and heartache. How can we get it right? page 8
CUPW sues for defamation
Postal workers target
Wiesenthal CEO Avi Benlolo
and Sun Media for segment on
Gaza war protest. PAGE 14
Miketz
Jewish students
New beit din vows
mobilize against BDS to help agunot
Play takes on
Quebec nationalism
Activists fight anti-Israel
motions on three Montreal
campuses. PAGE 23
Court pledges to be aggressive
and transparent, rabbi says.
DeliMax explores experience of
Jewish community in the 1980s.
PAGE 24
PAGE 31
Candlelighting, Havdalah TIMES
Halifax
Montreal Toronto Winnipeg
Calgary
Vancouver
4:17 p.m. 3:54 p.m. 4:24 p.m. 4:10 p.m. 4:12 p.m. 3:57 p.m. 5:26 p.m.
5:04 p.m.
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5:26 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
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GIFT CERTIFICATES
AVAILABLE AT
MIRVISH.COM
2
Trending
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An electric menorah outside the Chabad
centre in Waterloo, Ont., was repaired after
it was vandalized last month. Rabbi Moshe
Goldman told CTV News the main stem was
snapped and some branches were broken
off, but he doesn’t blame anti-Semitism. “I
think it was… a very stupid drunk person
who shouldn’t have had that last beer.”
He said repairs plus new security cameras
would cost $10,000, which he hopes to pay
for with donations. But he said the fact the
menorah, like the one in the time of the
Maccabees, would be ready for the holiday,
was for him a “tremendous personal reexperience of the Chanukah story.”
Swastika gift wrap flap
Hallmark Cards Inc. apologized and
ordered wrapping paper with a pattern
resembling a swastika removed from
U.S. stores last week. “As soon as we were
vessel and any embedded swastika design
was unintended. The drugstore chain
Walgreens said Dec. 15 it would remove
the paper from its shelves after a Los
Angeles woman complained. “I couldn’t
believe my eyes, I had no idea what to do,”
distressed shopper Cheryl Shapiro told
KNBC in Los Angeles. “I came home and
spoke to my rabbi. He couldn’t believe it.”
They don’t like neo-Nazis, either
Can you spot the Nazi imagery in an L.A.
shopper’s photo of the offending paper?
made aware of the situation, we began
taking steps to remove the gift wrap from
all store shelves,” Hallmark said. “We
sincerely apologize for this oversight and
for any unintended offence.” Hallmark
said the silver and blue paper’s intricate
design was meant to represent a type of
A 45-year-old neo-Nazi activist dressed in
a full military-style uniform was mauled
by three lions at the Barcelona Zoo Dec. 14
after climbing into their enclosure. Justo
Jose was taken to hospital with serious
but non-life-threatening injuries after
firefighters used hoses to distance the
animals from him. Zookeepers said the
lions were just trying to play with him.
It’s unclear if Jose was staging a political
protests similar to others he’d held this fall,
during which he was arrested by police. n
Inside today’s edition
Rabbi2Rabbi 4
Perspectives 7
Cover Story 8
Comment 10
News 12
International 27
Jewish Life 31
What’s New 36
Social Scene 38
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
Gematria
Waterloo menorah vandalized, and lions make political statement
Chanukah story comes to life
Parshah 39
Q&A 42
Backstory 43
5
The number of men arrested last week for
making online threats against a shul in
Herault in southern France. Five people
were also arrested in France last week in
connection with the killing of four people
at Brussels’ Jewish museum last May. One
man was extradited to Belgium to face
murder charges.
78
The age of former Israeli Labor party leader Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who resigned
from the Knesset last week, citing a medical condition.
Quotable
We are just continuing what we
have been doing for generations,
which is buying the Land of Israel.
— Jerusalem city councillor Arieh King, the
director and founder of the Israel Land Fund.
See full interview on page 42.
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
3
T
Letters
to the Editor
Israel and democracy
In the article “What you need to know
about Jewish state bill,” (Nov. 27) there is
one item that needs to be addressed. The
article states that “Israel’s declaration of
independence defines it as a Jewish and
democratic state.”
No, it does not. The declaration of independence does not contain the word
democracy or democratic at all. It does
state the following:
“The State of Israel will be open for
Jewish immigration and for the ingathering of the exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit
of all its inhabitants; it will be based on
freedom, justice and peace as envisaged
by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure
complete equality of social and political
rights to all its inhabitants irrespective
of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee
freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and
it will be faithful to the principles of the
Charter of the United Nations.”
To be sure, these are understood as
democratic principles by most people.
There is nothing in the proposed Basic
Law that reduces or negates any of these
principles, without mentioning the word
democracy.
Alas, some of these principles are being
violated by the same people who oppose
the bill. A pending bill, referred to as the
Israel Hayom law, aims at shutting down
the widest circulation Israeli newspaper.
It seems the word democracy has different meanings to different people.
the police officer, Darren Wilson. That
was confirmed beyond any reasonable
doubt by Michael Brown’s autopsy, and
finally put to rest by the grand jury from
which no testimony or evidence was held
back.
Those who ignore all this are actually
perpetuating against Wilson what they
claim to care about: a social injustice.
The cause was right, but the case was
wrong.
Steve Mitchell
Toronto
Michael Salamon
Toronto
Rescue vs collaboration
Right cause, wrong case
In our rush to judgment, it behooves us
all to reflect on the difficult choices Reszo
Kasztner faced in negotiating with Adolf
Eichmann (“When rescue is not collaboration,” Dec. 4). Yes, he did rescue many
Jews, but his conduct still raises many
questions.
The Nazis did not want another messy
Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Kasztner’s job
was to lull most Hungarian Jews destined for extermination into a false sense
of security. In return, Kasztner could pick
Jewish groups rushing in to the Ferguson, Mo., situation in a misguided drive
for social justice bring shame upon our
community (“Are Jews and blacks still allies?” Dec. 4).
Our tradition teaches that we must
judge fairly and blindly based on the facts,
which very early in this case showed the
angry mob in the streets and on the airwaves to be bearing false witness against
For more letters this week, please see
www.cjnews.com.
50 world-class scientists +
4 countries
300 million stem cells +
4 years of research =
a handful of Jews for safe passage out
of Nazi-occupied Europe. Could he not
have been a little more ambiguous about
the perils and the fate that awaited most
Hungarian Jews?
And why did he feel compelled to testify in favour of SS Col. Kurt Becher and
other Nazi officers at Nuremberg after
the war?
It is not true that Jews judge their own
kind to a harsher standard than the Righteous Gentiles, as Gaylen Ross would have
us believe.
Moshe Kraus worked with Carl Lutz, the
Christian Swiss diplomat, to save tens of
thousands of Hungarian Jews. He was
probably one of many unsung Jewish
heroes who laboured tirelessly to save
their fellow Jews and at much greater personal risk than Kasztner.
If Gaylen Ross sees Kasztner suspended
in limbo between the desperate Jew and
Lutz, the guardian angel, then place
Moshe Kraus, a real Jewish hero, standing
right next to Carl Lutz.
Joe Ronn
Outremont, Que.
Letters to the editor are welcome if they are brief and in English or French. Mail letters to our
address or to [email protected] We reserve the right to edit and condense letters, which
must bear the sender’s name, address and phone number.
Congratulations,
Dr. Andras Nagy,
on defining a
new paradigm in
medical research.
Global Impact
A worldwide team of stem cell researchers,
led by Dr. Andras Nagy of Mount Sinai’s
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute,
has broken new ground by creating a complete
molecular directory of the pathways by which
stem cells reprogram.
This breakthrough will change the way we treat
some of the most challenging health conditions
like diabetes, arthritis, and heart and kidney
disease, with the potential to save an untold
number of lives each year worldwide.
At Mount Sinai’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research
Institute we are focused on improving lives from
discovery to recovery. We thank our funding
partners, the Province of Ontario and the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum
Research Institute
You can help us unlock
the mysteries of the
diseases of our time.
Please donate at
13966-Nagy-CJN.indd 1
13966 - Nagy - Canadian Jewish News - 10.25 x 6
supportsinai.ca
12/8/14 4:00 PM
4
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
RABBI•2•RABBI
Bad behaviour and lashon hara
OBSERVANCE
Where do we draw the line between gossip and slander, and calling out misdeeds?
Perhaps the answer lies in a return to the fundamentals of humility.
Rabbi AVI Finegold
FOUNDER, THE JEWISH LEARNING LIBRARY, MONTREAL
Rabbi PHILIP Scheim
BETH DAVID B’NAI ISRAEL BETH AM CONGREGATION, TORONTO
W
e are an Orthodox family,
so when our father died,
it was important to have a
service that strictly observed
Jewish law. We chose Benjamin’s
because of their superior care.
They helped us fulfil every
sacred rite, from Shmira to
Shiva. Our father was never
left alone, and neither were
we. Thank you Benjamin’s
for keeping the light alive.
“They
thought of
everything.”
Rabbi Scheim: We are currently confronting an
over-abundance of bad behaviour. From the rabbinic
world to media personalities, from parliamentarians to
renowned celebrities, stories of abusive sexual and interpersonal conduct have been filling the front pages of our
media.
On one level, we are gratified that victims of abuse and
assault are finding the courage to confront their perpetrators. Nobody should be able to hide immoral and potentially criminal behaviour behind the mask of celebrity or
power – or even worse, religious authority.
But we must also be mindful of our tradition’s concern
with lashon hara – gossip and slander – and recognize the
ease with which one’s reputation can be damaged, or even
irrevocably destroyed, by accusations that have not yet
been subject to judicial process.
Where do we draw the line between calling out terrible
behaviour and exercising restraint?
Rabbi Finegold: It’s a fine line. Lashon hara, though, is
not a tool designed to protect the guilty.
We need to create an environment where victims do
not feel ashamed to speak out. At the same time, we must
remind our communities not to be back-seat drivers to
the judicial process.
This latter point is far more damaging in the long term,
in my view, because not only does the alleged crime get
blown up to epic proportions by people who know few, if
any, relevant facts, it also puts the victim in the spotlight
repeatedly, which might prevent future reporting of similar or related incidents. I wonder how we might change
the tenor of social discussions of pending cases if we
only say things we would be willing to say directly to the
alleged perpetrator.
Emmanuel Levinas speaks of the face of the other as
the beginning of ethics – facing the other is akin to facing
the humanity of the other and recognizing one’s social
obligation to the other. I think of this when I hear rabbis
denounce others in different denominations for not
How to reach us
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being authentic Jews. Would they be able to walk up to
someone, look them in the eye, and say, “You are not an
authentic Jew because you pray in a congregation that
gives women aliyot”?
Perhaps a reminder that believing someone is guilty
does not rob them of humanity would be a good first step.
Rabbi Scheim: Face-to-face encounters would definitely
prevent some of the terrible behaviours that occur behind
the veil of anonymity. The incredibly vicious comments
on online news sites would rarely be presented in so
cruel a fashion were the writer not able to hide behind a
pseudonym and a computer screen.
Perhaps what is needed in this age of terrible celebrity
behaviour is a return to the fundamentals of humility.
Moses is described by our Torah as “the most humble person in the world,” and today’s mighty and powerful might
follow his example and refuse to allow their celebrity to
overcome their humanity.
Several years back, Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein visited a
Jerusalem synagogue. A friend in attendance shared with
me his shock when the great scholar was given the honour of ptichah (opening the Ark). Obviously, the gabbai
must have not recognized Rabbi Lichtenstein, for someone of his stature would have merited a much more major
Torah honour. But Rabbi Lichtenstein happily opened the
Ark and wasn’t the least bit troubled by being treated as
“one of the people.” Clearly he understood, as did Moses,
that greatness and humility are not mutually exclusive.
Rabbi Finegold: It is unfortunate, but many celebrities
– rabbinic or otherwise – choose to exploit their fame
rather than channel it toward something more positive.
Maimonides advises that a person who has a tendency
toward bloodshed should gravitate toward shchitah (the
practice of ritual slaughter) so as to not sublimate something that might be harmful to them and others. Similarly, he says that one who is drawn toward theft should
become a tax collector and thereby take other people’s
property in a legal and acceptable manner. Perhaps we
need to ask ourselves why we became rabbis, and find
ways to negate any excessive sense of self-importance.
Lashon hara, on the other hand, seem to be much more
pervasive. Perhaps we need a collective brainstorm to
figure out how to channel into something productive,
instead of gossiping among ourselves in the pews. n
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5
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS T
December
18, 2014
BOG-607-13_10.25x12
13-10-28 5:03 PM Page 2
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
President Elizabeth Wolfe
Editor Yoni Goldstein General Manager Tara Fainstein
Managing Editor Joseph Serge News Editor Daniel Wolgelerenter
Operations Manager Ella Burakowski Art Director Anahit Nahapetyan
Directors Steven Cummings, Michael C. Goldbloom, Leo Goldhar,
Robert Harlang, Igor Korenzvit, Stanley Plotnick, Shoel Silver,
Ed Sonshine, Pamela Medjuck Stein, Elizabeth Wolfe
Honourary Directors Donald Carr, Chairman Emeritus.
George A. Cohon, Julia Koschitzky, Lionel Schipper, Robert Vineberg,
Rose Wolfe, Rubin Zimmerman
An independent community newspaper serving as a forum for diverse viewpoints
Publisher and Proprietor: The Canadian Jewish News, a corporation without share capital. Head Office: 1750 Steeles Ave. W., Ste. 218, Concord Ont. L4K 2L7
From the Archives | Menorah lighting
Rabbi Samuel Cass lights a
menorah on the first night
of Chanukah in Holland, in
1944 or 1945. Rabbi Cass was
born in Toronto and served as
senior Jewish chaplain in the
Canadian Army during World
War II and its aftermath, from
1942 to 1946. He went on to
assist in the reorganization
of Jewish communities in
Belgium and Holland that
were liberated by the Canadian
forces, and he also worked
with concentration camp
survivors.
ONTARIO JEWISH ARCHIVES, BLANKENSTEIN FAMILY
HERITAGE CENTRE PHOTO
SeeJN | Problem solvers
Robbins Hebrew Academy Grade 5 students collaborate and used
their Chromebooks to research their recent unit on problem solving.
Pictured, from left, are Miles Kirsh, Jonah Weinberg and Koby
Gottlieb.
From Yoni’s Desk
Fake it till you make it
I
n 1993, Maclean’s magazine contracted Jerusalem-based photographer
Ricky Rosen to illustrate a cover story about the Oslo accords. The photo
she turned in to the Canadian news weekly was unquestionably striking:
two young boys standing with their backs to the camera, arms around each
other’s shoulders. One had on a kippah. The other wore a keffiyah.
The image suggested hope for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and
Palestinians. If these children could see beyond a history of violence and
hatred to discover true friendship, the picture implied, surely the people they
stood in for would see the light – if not immediately, then eventually.
Last week, Rosen’s famous shot was revealed as a fake. The two boys, it turns
out, were both Israelis, residents of the Jewish section of Jerusalem’s Abu Tor
neighbourhood. The keffiyah was a prop supplied by Rosen – she usually kept
it in her car so that Palestinians wouldn’t throw rocks at her vehicle when she
was on assignment in the West Bank.
The kippah was a prop, too. The purportedly “Jewish” boy did not usually
wear one.
Rosen argued in the Jewish Daily Forward, which broke the story of the
photograph’s origin, that her image was never meant to depict real life and,
therefore, shouldn’t be considered a hoax. “My photo is not fake, because it
doesn’t pretend to document an actual time, place or personality,” she said.
“Rather it is a symbolic illustration of peace and coexistence.”
The veteran photographer suggested that she herself was little more than
a prop in the picture’s germination. Rosen told the Forward that Maclean’s
requested that exact shot: “The magazine’s art director was so specific in what
he wanted that he even drew her a picture – one boy in a yarmulke, the other
in a keffiyah shot from the back walking down a long road, which was supposed to symbolize the road to peace. He didn’t care whether the boys were
actually Israelis or Palestinians.”
In fact, Rosen told the Forward she didn’t even attempt to find a Palestinian
boy for her picture. “I didn’t look, because I thought it would be a very difficult thing,” she said. “The relations had completely broken down after the
first intifadah, and Palestinians were very fearful of being seen as collaborating with Israelis, because collaborators were being killed.”
The origin story of Rosen’s photo calls into question the level of trust
consumers place in the media. Readers and viewers expect – rightfully – that
reporters, editors and photographers will present the plain facts. If dramatic
license is to be invoked, as was the case with Rosen’s image, it’s only fair for
that to made clear at the outset. Otherwise, the way the information is processed can be irreparably skewed.
And yet, the image of the two boys lives on, only with a different sort of
power. It is no longer a factual document, but an aspirational one. It may
have been staged, but it offers a degree of hope that, at some point, Jewish
and Palestinian children will stand together for real, arms entwined, their
dark history a thing of the past. Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.
n — YONI
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
Perspectives
T
7
ESSAY
Talmudic Encyclopedia looks to an online future
Toby Klein Greenwald
A
modest doorway on a tree-lined Jerusalem street, the side entrance to the
elegant 90-year-old Yeshurun Synagogue,
leads to Yad HaRav Herzog, which hosts,
among other projects, a venture that is a
momentous historical milestone in Torah
scholarship.
This is the home of the Talmudic Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Talmudit).
The importance and popularity of the
Talmudic Encyclopedia is in its accessibility
to both scholars and lay people who want
to understand concepts within the world
of Torah knowledge. Its reliability, accuracy
and condensed style, is unparalleled in
halachic literature.
In1942, Rabbi Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan), the
son of the Netziv (Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda
Berlin), envisioned assembling all of the
Torah texts written and transmitted from
the time of revelation at Sinai to the present
day, primarily out of fear of losing the Torah
together with the Jews in the Holocaust.
Rav Berlin engaged Rabbi Shlomo Yosef
Zevin, one of the greatest scholars of that
generation, who had the phenomenal
ability to summarize and organize complicated material into a form that would be
easily understood. It was Rav Zevin who
determined the over 2,000 entries that
would comprise the Talmudic Encyclopedia, and who decided on the writing
style and the extent of comprehensiveness.
He was joined by some of the most erudite
scholars alive. The first volume of the Talmudic Encyclopedia was published in 1947.
To date, 33 volumes have been published,
and the number will reach about 70 when
the project is completed.
The Talmudic Encyclopedia has garnered
the praise of rabbinic scholars from across
the spectrum, including Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav
Rabbi Avraham Steinberg receiving the Israel Prize in 1999.
Ovadia Yosef, Rav Avraham Shapira, Rav Yehezkel Abramsky, the Novominsker, Belzer
and Lubavitcher Rebbes and others.
Rav Zevin died in 1978. He was replaced
as editor-in-chief by Rav Avraham Farbstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Chevron in
Jerusalem. In 2006, Rabbi Prof. Avraham
Steinberg accepted the position of head of
the editorial board of the Talmudic Encyclopedia and director of Yad Harav Herzog.
He is spearheading the development and
completion of the Talmudic Encyclopedia.
Born in a displaced persons camp after
World War II, Rabbi Steinberg immigrated
with his parents as an infant to Israel in
1949, studied at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav
and Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School and served as a medical officer
in the Israeli Air Force. He also trained in
pediatric neurology at the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine & Montefiore Hospital
Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y.
Today he is a senior pediatric neurologist
and director of the medical ethics unit at
Shaare Zedek Medical Center and a world
recognized expert in medical-halachic
research. His major, groundbreaking work
is the seven-volume Encyclopedia Hilchatit
Refuit (in Hebrew) for which he received
the Israel Prize in 1999. He has served as
an adviser on medical ethics to the Knesset
and to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and has
been involved in halachic aspects of modern medical issues with the most prominent rabbinic authorities, particularly with
the late rabbis S.Z. Auerbach, Y.S. Eliashiv
and E.Y. Waldenberg.
The speed with which the project is
moving forward is partly stimulated by the
recent substantial contribution by Dov
Friedberg of Toronto. The project directors
say they hope that others like Friedberg,
will recognize the significance of having
their family names, or those of their loved
ones, connected with this momentous
project.
Since Rabbi Steinberg took over the
leadership, they began to publish one
volume a year, and last year they published
two volumes. In the coming years the objective is to publish three to four volumes
annually in order to complete the entire
project by the year 2024.
“I think the Talmudic Encyclopedia is
one of the most important works in our
generation, and perhaps beyond. It has no
competitor. Its uniqueness is in its breadth,
its clarity of style, and especially its credibility, thanks to the meticulous methodology with which it is created, with ongoing
internal critique, and a team of outstanding scholars,” Rabbi Steinberg says.
The chief editor is Rav Zalman Nechemia
Goldberg, and the others are Rav Meir
Shmuelevitz and Rav Saar Meisel.
“We want the encyclopedia to be more
interactive than it is now, and that is only
possible through the Internet. The ideal is
to have the Talmudic Encyclopedia on four
levels,” Rabbi Steinberg said.
“Level I of the online version will include
entries that have not yet been written, that
will be [in the] format of Wikipedia; everyone can contribute freely and our editors
will moderate it. Level II will be the final
versions of the entries which will be closed
to editing by the public. They will, however,
be able to add comments and quotes.
“Level III will be the Talmudic
Micropedia, which will consist of condensed entries from the original, in a
user-friendly style and format that will be
targeted at the general population. The
Micropedia [of which Rabbi Steinberg is
the editor-in-chief ] is being developed and
written by different people, and it comes
from a different budget. It will be extensive
enough for readers who are seeking a first
resource. It also includes added information, which had been previously omitted
for some reason. Rav Goldberg reviews it
all to be sure everything is accurate.
“At Level IV, hopefully, we’ll be able to
translate the Micropedia into different languages so it will be accessible to everyone.”
“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it,”Rabbi Tarfon said (Avot
2:21) It is deeply inspiring to witness how
a 72-year-old project, so greatly admired
throughout the world of Jewish scholarship, is progressing rapidly so that current
and future generations will be able to more
easily immerse themselves in the treasures
of the Torah. n
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
The politics of conversion
Process can be political and flawed, critics say
LILA SARICK
[email protected]
C
onversion has become the most contentious issue in modern Judaism.
Both in Israel and in North America, tensions simmer over who can join the Jewish People, and what the standards are for
admission.
While the majority of candidates convert
to Judaism with few difficulties, the community’s internal politics can trip up the
unlucky. The most egregious reports of
converts being mistreated surfaced recently in Washington D.C., where Rabbi
Barry Freundel was charged with voyeurism after a hidden camera was found in
his synagogue’s mikvah. He has pleaded
not guilty to the charges.
Complaints about his treatment of converts, including demanding donations
and requiring unpaid clerical work, which
had been reported to the Rabbinical
Council of America (RCA) two years earlier, have also emerged.
Though the scandal has raised issues beyond conversion, it underscores the fact
Members of beit dins must walk a fine line
between wanting to encourage converts and
maintaining high standards. FLASH 90 PHOTO
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that potential converts can find themselves in a tenuous position, because
they must rely on their sponsoring rabbi
to help see them through the process of
becoming a Jew.
“There is a vulnerability that exists between a spiritual guide and a congregant.
And for the convert, the rabbi is also a gatekeeper,” says Rabbi Adam Cutler, who oversees conversions at Toronto’s Beth Tzedec
Congregation. “There’s a real power piece.
Rabbis are certainly aware of it.”
The allegations concerning Rabbi Freundel are unprecedented, and rabbis are as
dismayed by the unfolding story as their
congregants. But in other ways, the conversion process can have potential pitfalls.
Rabbi Jarrod Grover, at Toronto’s Beth
Tikvah Synagogue, says he sees the fallout in his office. Some of the people he
counsels are candidates who have spent
time and money on unaffiliated rabbis
who don’t end up converting them. Others have had run-ins with a beit din that
makes unreasonable demands. “I have felt
for a while we could be doing more to protect them [converts],” Rabbi Grover says.
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[email protected]
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Beit din called out of touch
Why I became Jewish:
converts tell their stories
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Rabbis, and particularly those who are
members of beit dins (rabbinic courts),
must walk a fine line between wanting to
encourage converts and maintaining high
standards. But in Toronto, critics claim the
city’s Vaad Harabonim, the only body that
can perform Orthodox conversions, has
veered too far from community norms.
The Orthodox Vaad is far from transparent about the process, and its standards
are “out of touch with reality,” Rabbi Grover says. The Toronto Vaad has no website,
an uneven record of replying to candidates
and is not welcoming to converts, he adds.
One Toronto Orthodox rabbi, who did
not want to be named, says he has seen a
number of serious candidates who were
discouraged by the beit din.
“Some of the requirements they make
go well beyond what Halachah requires.
They are reflective of the religious and cultural norms within a particular segment of
Orthodoxy, but are not reflective of more
modern Orthodoxy,” he says.
Converts’ stories about their journey to
join the Jewish People are as varied as the
individuals themselves.
Whether the decision to change one’s
religion and by extension one’s identity
is triggered by the birth of a child or marriage to a Jewish partner or the result of individual exploration, it is not taken lightly,
For many, it involves both heartache and a
sense of homecoming.
Ashley, who is due to convert in Toronto
this winter (and who declined to give her
full name), studied a variety of religions
before stumbling upon Judaism.
“I fell into discovering Judaism accidentally,” she said. “The more I read about it,
the more it made sense.”
But when the 24-year-old told her family
she was converting to Judaism, her formerly “not religious” parents began going
to church and told her they were praying
for her.
Raised in a community east of Toronto,
she and her family didn’t know any Jews.
“I guess it’s just foreign to them,” she said.
As she studied in conversion class, she ex-
perimented with how observant she was
going to be. “That was alarming for them,”
she said.
The Jewish community, meanwhile, has
been welcoming, she said. “I do get the
question �Who’s the guy?’ and when they
hear there’s no guy, they’re very excited,”
she said. Still, she harbours some reservations that she won’t ever be fully accepted
as a Jew. She notes that on applications
for Jewish schools and camps, the question of whether an applicant’s mother is
born Jewish is always required. “I do worry
that if I have children, would they be discriminated against?”
Despite her concerns, choosing Judaism
was the right decision, she says. “I felt like
there was something missing always and
now there isn’t.”
Russell Copeman, a Montreal city councillor and a former member of the Quebec
National Assembly, began considering
conversion when his first child was born
to his Jewish wife, and he started to consider the implications of raising a child
with two religions.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 26
Finding a home in Judaism
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
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Comment
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Carlebach and Cosby: can we separate art and artist?
Asher Lovy
R
abbi Shlomo Carlebach touched so
many lives with his music and his
apparent utter devotion to God and the
Jewish People. He helped return souls to
Judaism at a time when religion seemed on
the decline. But there was another side to
Rabbi Carlebach that forces us to ask the
uncomfortable question: can we separate
the man from the legacy, the art from the
artist?
A few weeks ago, my synagogue held its
annual Carlebach Shabbos. Some 1,500
people showed up to sing, dance and
celebrate the legacy of Rabbi Carlebach.
The room was filled with people from all
walks of Jewish life – from the far-right to
the far-left, observant and non-observant,
all singing the same music, all united in a
way they have rarely, if ever, been before. I
found myself singing along with everyone
else, my feet tapping to the melody, a smile
tugging at the corners of my mouth. It was
impossible not to be swept up.
And yet I felt a little dirty, because there
is another side to the legend of Rabbi
Carlebach, a much darker side. Allegations
and accusations that he fondled women
who came to him for guidance, that he
masturbated on a women, and that he
covered it all up by telling these women
that they were holy and special, have been
widely disseminated. I’ve even heard some
of them first hand.
As I sat there, a battle was raging in my
head: how could I listen – even participate
– in the celebration of Rabbi Carlebach’s art
when I knew what he did to those women?
At that moment, I started thinking about
the recent resurgence of rape allegations
against Bill Cosby. I loved Cosby, loved his
show, his comedy, his smile. I loved what
he represented – just like I loved Rabbi
Carlebach. Of all the people who had to be
sexual abusers, it had to be Carlebach and
Cosby.
They got away with what they did for so
long because of how loved and cherished
they were for their work. But can their work
They got away with what
they did for so long because
of how loved and cherished
they were for their work.
stand alone? Is it possible to separate the
art from the artist?
It’s an ongoing question for me.
On the one hand, I see the beauty Rabbi
Carlebach brought into the world, and
I don’t want the world to suffer the loss
of that because of his sins. Perhaps the
beauty and holiness he facilitated were
there already, waiting only to be discovered
and brought to light – maybe he was only
a conduit. Perhaps the world might have
been able to access that magic through
someone else, someone less flawed. And
maybe for that reason we should allow
what he revealed to stand alone. Maybe
there’s a message, some truth, a little
good that can be salvaged. And might
the message not be valid regardless of its
source? Can we not hang on to the love and
acceptance exhorted by Rabbi Carlebach
while distancing ourselves from the man
himself and his actions, or keep the moral
values Cosby preached while damning the
damage he caused to 17 (and counting)
women?
On the other hand, what if we do more
harm than good by perpetuating the tools
of these people’s abuses? Perhaps we are
contributing to the pain felt by both men’s
victims, who for so long were denied
justice, by touting the instruments of their
abuse as something worthy of praise and
enjoyment. Maybe we render those men
that much more acceptable by refusing to
give up what they created.
There are countless answers to these
questions. But frankly, I haven’t found
mine yet. It’s something I struggle with
every time I hear one of Rabbi Carlebach’s
songs or see Cosby’s face. I find myself
moved and repulsed at the same time. I
don’t know what the balance should be. I
don’t even know if there is one to be had. n
Asher Lovy lives in New York and blogs at
hareiani.com.
Putting Hebrew at the centre
Daniel Held
H
ebrew is the gateway to Judaism. Hebrew opens doors to Jewish peoplehood
– to relationships with Jews in Israel and
around the world. In my travels through
South America, Ukraine and Europe, Hebrew gave me access to Jewish communities
I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Hebrew provides an entrance to meaningful tfillah. It affords us facility to understand traditional liturgy used for generations and reinvent our own, personal tfillot.
Hebrew is a gateway to the sea of Torah,
Mishnah and centuries of rabbinic literature. Proficiency in Hebrew opens up the
world of the classical rabbis, their debates,
logic, stories and thinking.
Hebrew is an equalizer. It reverses roles
of newcomer communities from Israel and
the FSU, empowering them as teachers
and guides.
Connect with us:
E-mail: [email protected]
And Hebrew is an entry point to a deeper
relationship with Israel. Although it’s easy
to travel, see and know Israel in English,
a deeper understanding of the people,
politics, ideas, history and granular feel of
Israel can only be achieved in Hebrew.
Hebrew proficiency across North America is dropping, with fewer young Jews able
to understand and speak the language.
This drop in proficiency closes the doors
that Hebrew opens.
To some extent, this drop is because Hebrew education, which once took place in
numerous settings of learning, has, by and
large, been restricted to schooling.
Throughout middle and high school, I
struggled with Hebrew. There were years
where I’m sure I only passed because of
the mercy of the teacher. The summer after
Grade 11, however, I worked at a Jewish
summer camp in Ukraine with Russian-,
Hebrew- and English-speaking staff. By
default, our common language was Hebrew – forcing me to live in the language
I had struggled with. When I returned to
school in September, my Hebrew was at
a new level. After graduating high school,
I studied in Israel. Again immersed in the
Facebook: facebook.com/TheCJN
language, my Hebrew grew to fluency.
Learning Hebrew in day and supplementary schools is important, but it
does not suffice. It’s time for us to create
immersive Hebrew environments in early
childhood centres, day and overnight
camps, and other settings of non-formal
learning. It’s in these settings that there’s
the time and space to make Hebrew into a
living language used throughout one’s normal experiences – at wake-up and meals,
during sports and study.
A number of summers ago, I was part of a
team which studied the potential for Hebrew-immersion summer camps. In years
gone by, many Jewish summer camps were
immersive Hebrew environments. In recent decades, however, most lost their immersive zeal and ended up with a language
of nouns - “We’re going to the chadar.”
Our team studied both Jewish camps that
still do Hebrew and non-Jewish programs
that create immersive environments in
other languages. I saw camps where, after
a month of living in a foreign language,
campers were not only able to understand
and converse in a new language, but were
excited about their new knowledge and
Twitter: @TheCJN
skills, and proud to use them.
As a result of the study, and with support from the Steinhardt Foundation and
others, last summer, Centre Camp, a day
camp in Toronto, launched a pilot Hebrew immersion section at the Schwartz/
Reisman JCC, a program organizers hope
to expand this summer and grow into the
future. Two dozen campers – both Israelis
and Canadians- lived their summer in
Hebrew.
We need more Hebrew immersion programs. We need early childhood centres
where toddlers live Hebrew, sports leagues
where play and refereeing is in Hebrew,
and residential summer camp where Hebrew is the language of swimming lessons
and ropes courses.
Hebrew is a gateway to multiple forms
of Jewish expression, but the only way to
access it is to immerse yourself in it, living
the language and opening doors through
it. n
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia
and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish
Education at UJA Federation of Greater
Toronto.
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
Comment
T
11
Beware the perfect building called the past
Jean M. Gerber
E
very year at Chanukah, we celebrate
with latkes and songs. We consume
a shocking amount of fried dough with
jelly inside, all the while telling ourselves
that this menu fits the holiday, with its
emphasis on oil.
We may no longer believe the story of
the miraculous oil, but there is always
food, glorious food.
Like belief in the Tooth Fairy, this is
fine for children. So are heartwarming
stories, of which, over the years, I have
read many at children’s bedtimes (with,
I admit, ill-concealed resentment, as
the latke-machine Grannie wears a jolly
apron, her hair in a bun, but I digress).
True, the Maccabean revolt put Israel
on the map. Victory over Greek armies
(albeit weakened by internal strife)
restored a Jewish state. This allowed the
rise of Pharisaic strength and the beginning of Rabbinic Judaism, using tools of
Greek thought without the accompanying pagan praxis. True that as a model of
resistance to assimilation, we acquired
a vital perspective on identity and faith,
one that outlasted the destruction in 70
CE and the dispersion.
The miracle of the oil? Good for the
kids, but as adults, we must look beyond
the miraculous to the real. What happened after the Temple was restored to
its purity?
It wasn’t so good. In fact, if we look at
the history books, succeeding generations of the Hasmonean dynasty, rather
than upholding the religious elements
for which the war was fought, gradually
transformed itself into a typical Hellenistic kingdom. Having usurped the high
priesthood (for which they were not
genealogically qualified) they anointed
themselves kings (but not Davidic ones).
They squabbled among themselves,
made treaties with Greek rulers and
then Rome, and were castigated by their
erstwhile Pharisaic allies. One story has
Alexander Yannai asking the Pharisee
leadership what they wanted and basically being told, “We want you to die.”
It took queen Shlomzion HaMalkah to
smooth things over, and they were never
the same.
Finally Rome devoured the Jewish state
and put Herod on the throne. That’s
Herod the Idumean, whose people had
been forcibly converted by the Hasmoneans when Idumea (Edom) was annexed during the wars.
Judah, Hammer of God, is ignored by
the rabbis, who knew the history too
well. They had seen the Hasmoneans
become despots, rather than liberators.
Rather, the rabbis gave great credit, in
their midrashic world, to Judith, heroine
of the apocrypha, as “part of the miracle.”
Intent on reframing the story to emphasize the miraculous, and also to include
women in the mitzvah of lighting the
candles, the rabbis moved away from
history and into creative memory mode.
Lesson learned? Maybe not. Today
Maoz Tzur may be sung as a rousing
anthem, but as a message from history
for the future, it is dangerous. Now Israel
casts eyes on the occupied territories,
with many hoping that somehow the
whole area will become part of Israel
– as it was for a time under the Hasmoneans. Those wishful thinkers seem to
have read only the first chapter of the
book. Or maybe their book only has one
chapter.
If we use only part of the story, we construct a past that never really happened.
We are like the protagonist in Alistair
MacLeod’s No Great Mischief, who “felt
that if you read everything and put the
pieces together, the real truth would
emerge. It would be, somehow, like
carpentry. Everything would fit together
just so, and you would see in the end
something like �a perfect building called
the past.’” Alas, there is no past perfect
– except maybe in French. (But at least
MacLeod’s character had read “everything.”)
For me, the lesson is that you have
to be very careful about which historic
event you base present policy on. Relying
on children’s tales and on a simplistic
account – that perfect building called the
past – can be very, very dangerous if used
as fact upon which to build a nation. n
Is Israel’s proportional electoral system preventing peace?
Arie Raif
S
ince 1948, Israel has had 33 governments. Only three of them have
completed the full four-year term in office, and Israel’s proportional electoral
system is the reason for that troubling
record. It is imperative that the system
be reformed, because the survival of
Israel is at stake.
The Israeli system of government
requires wide-ranging coalitions, often
creating divisions and inhibiting progress. Israeli politicians must constantly
monitor the status of coalitions cobbled together in the aftermath of each
election. Sometimes the price paid to
keep these improbable arrangements
intact is billions of shekels used to buy
the co-operation of coalition members.
As Israelis find themselves thrust
into another election campaign, the
very nature of Israeli politics raises an
important question: Is the proportional
electoral system preventing peace?
In Israel, each party creates ranked
lists of Knesset aspirants. Once the
votes are tallied, each party is allocated
seats based on its performance in the
popular vote. Members of the Knesset
are not elected directly, and because of
that some may feel they don’t owe any
obligation to the Israeli public. Their
real loyalties are to their parties, and
the real decision-makers are the merkazei miflagot (party centres) and va’adot
mesadrot (organizing committees). 

Meanwhile, coalition maintenance
requires massive concessions and elaborate backroom dealings. Often, smaller parties find themselves wielding the
balance of power, able to prop up a
government or bring it crashing down.
In particular, the religious parties –
Zionist and non-Zionist alike – end up
punching above their weight, and can
wrangle support for their pet issues.
As such, Israel’s unresponsive electoral
system holds crucial implications for
the peace process and regional stability.
Case in point: In 1987, Israel was led
by a coalition government formed in
the wake of the election of 1984. Under
the terms of the coalition deal, Shimon
Peres would become prime minister
and Yitzhak Shamir would assume the
roles of deputy prime minister and
foreign minister. After 25 months in
office, Peres and Shamir would switch
roles. (Issac Herzog and Tzipi LIvni, the
leaders of Israel’s Labor and Hatnua
parties respectively, announced a similar agreement last week.)
In April 1987, Peres, who by now was
foreign minister, and Jordan’s King
Hussein reached several agreements,
which became known as the “London
Accord.” The deal recognized three
entities: the State of Israel and Jordan,
which were to remain as they were, and
a new entity that was to include the
West Bank and Gaza Strip in the context
of a Jordanian-Palestinian federation.
Under the terms of this agreement, Israelis living in the territories could have
held onto their Israeli passports and
Jerusalem would have remained united,
with each religion taking responsibility
for its own holy sites.
It was the best peace deal Israel could
have ever achieved and would have
changed the face of the Middle East
forever. But prime minister Shamir torpedoed the plan, arguing that it would
not stand up to the test of time. Some
have called this decision the biggest
political mistake since the establishment of the State of Israel. If this is true,
then the rotating arrangement between
Peres and Shamir, and the proportional
electoral system that fostered such a
deal, are to blame.
Israel’s electoral system resembles
more a “market of hagglers,” than
a serious ideological arena. And in
addition to endangering peace prospects, the system may very well impede
high-quality Israelis from venturing
into politics. Some conclude it’s simply
best to avoid the charade of wheeling
and dealing. I’ve seen it first-hand.
Meanwhile, some voices for reform
are arguing that Israelis should adopt
a passive approach to change ahead of
the next election. If the Knesset cannot, or will not, adopt electoral change,
voters might have to take another approach and refuse to vote altogether. n
Arie Raif is vice-chairman & CEO of
the Canadian Peres Center For Peace.
In 1974, he won the nomination of the
Independent Liberal Party for the Israeli
parliament.
12
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
News
Claims Conference boosts funds for Canadian survivors
PAUL LUNGEN
[email protected]
Eleven Canadian social service agencies
that provide services to elderly victims of
the Holocaust will see their allocations
from the Claims Conference triple in
2015 compared to 2014.
The Conference on Jewish Material
Claims Against Germany, known more
commonly as the Claims Conference,
announced last week it will allocate
$18.6 million (all figures US) to Canadian
agencies, up from $6.4 million in 2014.
Most of the funds are slated for home
Keith Landy, left, and Claims Conference
executive vice-president Greg Schneider at a
2012 meeting in Washington
care, but they can also be used for medical care, food and transportation.
Agencies in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and in smaller Jewish
centres, including Halifax and Windsor,
are expected to benefit from the allocations.
Among the recipient agencies are
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto; Jewish Family & Child Service,
Toronto; Jewish Family Service Agency,
Vancouver; Jewish Family Services of
Ottawa; Jewish Family Services, Edmonton; and the Cummings Centre, Montreal. The Cummings Centre administers
funds to Jewish Child and Family Service,
Winnipeg; Jewish Family Service Calgary; and the Windsor Jewish Federation,
among other agencies in Canada.
A first-time direct allocation of $1.1
million will be made to Jewish Family
Services of Edmonton.
“All Shoah victims should be able to
receive the help and support that they
need to live the rest of their lives in
dignity, after having endured indescribable suffering in their youth,” said Julius
Berman, president of the Claims Conference.
“I think it’s very encouraging,” said
Toronto lawyer Keith Landy, one of two
Canadian representatives on the Claims
Conference board.
“It’s so important for the dignity of survivors as they reach their golden years,”
Landy said. “The money is not simply
going to be left for posterity but will provide a meaningful assistance for survivors.”
Holocaust survivor Sidney Zoltak, a
member of the Claims Conference board
of directors, said, “The substantial increase for needy Holocaust survivors for
home care was obtained after [Claims
Conference negotiators] explained to
German government representatives
that the elderly survivor, when he or she
is moved from their home, experiences
additional traumatic shock.
“I believe the additional funds that
were made available to these survivors
will enable them to experience a calmer
and more comfortable life,” Zoltak said.
Canadian agencies are expected to
make their own pitch for funding, based
on the number of survivors they reach as
well as the services they provide, he said.
“Funding for 2015, to social service
organizations working with survivors is
based on the projected unmet needs that
such organizations have reported to the
Claim Conference,” a Claims Conference
statement said.
The Claims Conference estimates there
are between 14,000 and 16,000 Holocaust
survivors in Canada, though recent census data suggests the number is lower
and dwindling, Landy said.
The allocation for home care includes
a variety of services that allow Holocaust
survivors to remain in their own homes.
Home care services include light housekeeping, cooking and even help getting
dressed and with hygiene.
The Claims Conference represents
world Jewry in negotiations with European nations for compensation and
restitution for the Jewish victims of Nazi
persecution, along with their heirs.
The increased allocations in 2015 re-
Sydney Zoltak
sulted from negotiations with Germany,
which has agreed to provide $1 billion to
be allocated by the Claims Conference
through 2017.
Total Claims Conference distributions
in 2015 are expected to reach $365 million, a 21 per cent increase over 2014.
Holocaust survivors in 47 countries will
benefit from the allocation.
In addition to German government
funding, the Claims Conference is funded through the proceeds from recovered
Jewish properties in the former East Germany, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg
Foundation, the government of Austria
and from a settlement with Swiss banks.
The allocations announced last week
are separate from compensation payments distributed to individual victims
of the Holocaust. n
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
CUPW sues Wiesenthal CEO Benlolo
and Sun Media for defamation
Postal union denies supporting terror and hate groups
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One of Canada’s largest unions is
suing Sun Media Corp. and Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends
of Simon Wiesenthal Center for
Holocaust Studies, for saying it supports terrorism.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW ) is seeking
$250,000 in damages for defamation from Sun Media’s parent company, Quebecor Media Inc., alleging
it was smeared in a Sun News Network segment last summer.
The July 24 segment, titled Hamas,
CUPW Flags Fly on Parliament Hill,
which featured host Jerry Agar and
guest Benlolo, blasted CUPW members for taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest in Ottawa the day
before.
The broadcast said CUPW banners were flown near Hamas flags,
and pointed out that Hamas is a
banned terrorist organization in
Canada.
A statement of claim filed in Ottawa on behalf of the union said the
broadcast made “many untrue, disparaging statements about CUPW
and its members,” including that
CUPW has often “lent [its] support
to terrorist organizations,” and that
it “has a history of partnering up
with hate groups.”
Agar and Benlolo “wrongfully
state” that CUPW supports or partners with terrorist and hate groups,
and Hamas in particular, the claim
said.
None of the allegations have been
tested in court.
The segment remains available on
the Sun News website.
The filing said CUPW was also
defamed in a later column Agar
wrote in the Toronto Sun and its
online edition, headlined “Hamas
goes postal? Only in Canada.” The
column, the claim stated, also
contains “many false, disparaging
and defamatory statements about
CUPW and its members,” including
that they support “the genocide of
the Jewish People.”
A statement of defence filed on
behalf of Sun Media and Agar said
the flag of Hamas was “prominently
displayed” at the July 23 pro-Palestinian demonstration in Ottawa.
Avi Benlolo FILE PHOTO
As postal workers,
we stand by our
actions in the face
of propaganda efforts
to silence and
defame supporters
of the boycott,
divestment and
sanctions movement.
The statement noted that the
Hamas charter calls for the “dissolution of Israel,” and that the federal
government designated it a terrorist
organization in 2002.
It added that the flag or banner of
CUPW was also “prominently displayed” at the protest, “in proximity
to the flag of Hamas.”
The statement also cited an email
from CUPW in response to a request
for comment from a Sun News producer.
As cited in the statement of defence, the email, from CUPW
spokesperson Aalya Ahmad, said,
“Working people have as much
right as anybody to hold and express opinions on international
issues. Our members support the
human rights of the Palestinian
people and want an end to the vio-
Jerry Agar SUN MEDIA SCREEN SHOT
lence and killing.
“CUPW condemns the current
position of the Harper government
in attempting to justify the unjustifiable. By making excuses for
Israel’s actions, the Canadian government is promoting war against
the Palestinian people. Our government should be promoting peace,
not war. The only way to achieve a
lasting peace is through justice.”
The email, as quoted, went on to
say: “Our position on Israel and Palestine is established by a democratic process of debate followed by a
vote. As postal workers, we stand
by our actions in the face of propaganda efforts to silence and defame
supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It
is simply the right thing to do.”
The broadcast was “true” and
constituted “fair comment,” the
defence filing stated. Alternatively,
it added, the broadcast and Agar’s
column constituted “responsible
communication concerning matters in the public interest.” Sun
Media “has a duty to report” on
such matters.
Benlolo told The CJN he could not
comment, as the matter is before
the courts.
In an email to The CJN, Steven
Cavanagh, Benlolo’s lawyer, said
his client is represented separately,
“and that the statement of defence
that has been delivered on behalf
of the Sun News defendants does
not apply to him. If it becomes necessary for him to file a defence to
this claim, that will not occur until
sometime in 2015.” n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
News
T
Canada, Israel
hold talks to update
free trade pact
PAUL LUNGEN
[email protected]
Two-way trade in merchandise between Canada and Israel stood at $1.2 billion as of the end of October 2014, but
there’s always room to do more.
With the goal of enhancing economic ties between the two
nations, negotiators from both countries met in Jerusalem
last week for the third round of talks to expand and modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA).
CIFTA has been in place since 1997, but its terms have
been eclipsed by developments in a number of fields, including e-commerce.
Negotiators from the two jurisdictions tackled a variety
of other issues as well, such as access for goods, dispute
resolution, defining the origin of goods, agricultural regulations, technical barriers for trade and intellectual property, said Max Moncaster, press secretary to Minister of
International Trade Ed Fast.
Other areas being discussed that could result in side
agreements are labour and environmental issues, he added.
“An expanded and modernized agreement will support
Canadian businesses and investors, deepen trade and
investment linkages and further strengthen Canada’s bilateral relationship with Israel,” said a news release from
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
“We’re certainly committed to deepening our economic
ties with Israel,” Moncaster said. Canada is modernizing its
free trade agreements with a number of countries, he added.
Israel’s ambassador to Canada was likewise upbeat
about an updated deal. “Israel cherishes its warm, deeply
rooted relationship with Canada, in which bilateral trade
and mutual economic interests play important roles,” said
Ambassador Rafael Barak.
“We are working side by side to take the CIFTA into the
21st century by making it more responsive to the new era
of e-commerce.
“An upgraded agreement will not only strengthen our
bilateral ties, but will also lead to more business opportunities and greater prosperity for both Canadians and
Israelis,” the ambassador added.
According to Moncaster, the $1.2 billion figure does not
include trade in services and investment, but the 2014
data for these sectors was not available yet.
In 2013, two-way trade in services alone totalled $401
million. For merchandise, for which the 2014 data is available to the end of October, Canada imported far more
from Israel than it exported. Its exports totalled $284 million, while imports came in slightly under $1 billion.
Canada’s main exports were paper and paperboard, aircraft and parts, machinery and parts, electric machinery
and electric parts and cereals.
Its main imports were pharmaceuticals, electric machinery and electronic equipment, precious stones and
metals, machinery and parts.
Since CIFTA came into force in 1997, Canada’s two-way
merchandise trade with Israel has more than doubled,
starting at $507 million in 1996.
In January 2014, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
announced new talks to expand and modernize CIFTA.
The first round of negotiations took place in Israel in February and the second was held in Ottawa in May. n
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News
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
Nazi’s son discusses his path to Judaism
JODIE SHUPAC
[email protected]
Bernd Wollschlaeger, the keynote speaker
at the 10th annual Dinner of Miracles on
Dec. 11, brought a hushed silence to the
room of 300 people with his stark declaration that he is not the son of a Holocaust
survivor but of a perpetrator.
The event, which took place at Petah Tikvah Congregation, is billed as “a special
evening of dialogue between young adults
and Holocaust survivors.” It lets Jews in
their 20s and 30s dine with survivors – more
than 40 were in attendance, with at least
one seated at each table – to better understand the horrors of the Holocaust by hearing their stories first-hand.
The evening culminated in Wollschlaeger’s address, in which the German-born
physician described growing up Catholic
in postwar Germany, surrounded by mixed
messages about the events of World War II.
Wollschlaeger’s father, a proud Nazi and
former German tank commander, told
him glory stories from the war. Meanwhile,
at school, the young Wollschlaeger started
to learn about the Nazis’ systematic massacre of the Jews.
“I grew up with the image of my dad as a
hero,” he said, “But the truth came out, in
phases.”
Wollschlaeger finally drew the truth about
the Holocaust out of his father and, horrified and guilt-ridden, sought out his hometown’s local Jewish community – which
consisted of about 30 Holocaust survivors.
One man asked Wollschlaeger to be his
“Shabbos goy,” and he spent the next several years forming close bonds with members of the community. He was eventually
kicked out of his parents’ home and made
his way to Frankfurt, where he began to
study Judaism under the tutelage of a rabbi.
In 1986, Wollschlaeger converted to Judaism and moved to Israel, despite, he
said, having “no money or family there.”
He worked on a kibbutz, was drafted into
the military and married a Jewish-American woman, all the while swearing to
himself he’d never “speak about being the
son of a Nazi.”
Wollschlaeger harboured the secret until
roughly a decade ago, when his son Tal,
now 25, asked him why he never spoke of
his father. He mustered up the courage to
tell Tal the truth, to which, he said, his son
responded, “Cool story! I’m going to tell
my friends.”
This led to Wollschlaeger being invited to
his son’s school to publicly share his story
for the first time, an experience he found
ISRAEL
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2i5
ry
versa
Ann
Bernd Wollschlaeger delivered the keynote speech at the 10th annual Dinner of Miracles Dec. 11.
extremely powerful.
“It returned to me the core value of why I
did what I did,” Wollschlaeger said.
Now living in Florida, Wollschlaeger has
been openly discussing his family history
ever since.
Accompanied by his son, he recently visited Germany for the first time in 20 years,
to visit his parents’ graves.
“I looked at the graves and I told my son,
�You can never escape history, even in
death. It always casts a shadow. But you can
learn lessons from what happened and go
forward. You can learn to translate this into
a better life.”
Wollschlaeger learned from his father,
he explained, where hatred comes from,
and that it’s not “ an evil force that comes
from the sky, but from inside us… Hateful
thoughts can become hateful deeds, and
deeds can habits and social norms. This
can lead to an entire people turning away
when they witness unspeakable acts.”
Wollschlaeger concluded by stressing to
the audience the importance of challenging
hate, fear and prejudice in whatever form it
emerges, and whomever it targets.
“The lesson,” he emphasized, “is to speak
up, have courage and understand that,
against all odds, change is possible.” n
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
News
T
17
Christian woman donates European menorah to shul
Diane Koven
Ottawa Correspondent
When a newly built synagogue opened recently in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven,
it was cause for celebration among the area’s Jewish community.
For months, the neighbours had been
watching the construction on a quiet
street called Lamplighters Drive as the
portables being used for the Ottawa Centre Chabad made way for a beautiful new
building.
Finally, just before Rosh Hashanah, the
grand opening took place and everyone
was invited to take a look around. Not
only the Jewish neighbours were looking
forward to the event, though. For one
family, completion of the building signalled the completion of a story that had
been passed down for several generations.
Susan Bloomfield had been watching
with interest from her home across the
street as the synagogue took shape. Although she and her family are not Jewish,
they owned a menorah that had been in
the family since just after World War II.
Her late grandfather, Bernard Richel,
had immigrated to Canada from Hol-
land. During the war, said Bloomfield, her
great-uncles had fought in the resistance
and one of them, Gerhard Richel, had
saved the lives of a Jewish family.
“My great-uncle and his wife had a sickly
son. In his room was the door to the attic.
They let the Jewish family hide in the attic
and when the Germans came the family
asked them not to disturb their sick son.
The Germans were skeptical and even
sent one of their doctors to check him
out to confirm that he was ill. He actually
ended up dying shortly after the war,” said
Bloomfield.
“In my Christian faith, I think God had a
hand in it… the family was in the attic at
least two years. At the end of the war, they
were able to come out. I don’t know their
names or where they went. They left their
menorah as a thank you. They had nothing else to give, but they were so grateful.”
Bloomfield became the owner of the menorah when she got married. Her grandfather had brought it to Canada after attending his brother’s funeral in Holland.
He, in turn, left it to his daughter (Bloomfield’s mother) who in turn passed it on to
her daughter. Bloomfield’s sons wanted
her to keep it in the family but when she
Light up THE NIGHT.
looked out at the synagogue she felt that
the time was right for the menorah to go
“home.” So she took a picture of it and
wrote out the story for her children.
“I sent an email to Rabbi [Menachem
Mendel] Blum and offered the menorah,
if anyone wanted it,” she said.
The spiritual leader of Ottawa Centre
Chabad accepted with gratitude, and at
a special ceremony attended by the children of the shul’s Hebrew school and
their families, Bloomfield told her family’s
story and presented the menorah to Rabbi
Blum.
“This menorah is a tangible symbol of
Jewish survival even through the harshest
time in Jewish history,” said Rabbi Blum.
“It allowed a Jewish family to keep their
faith during the war and they used it to
express their gratitude for their survival.
We are honoured that our new shul is the
new home for this special menorah. It will
inspire our children and grandchildren
and we will cherish it and light it for many
years to come.” n
Susan Bloomfield presents the menorah to
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Blum.
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News
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
New Polish museum of Jewish life called �stunning’
Ron Csillag
The museum, which has won global acclaim for its design and architecture, stands
in the heart of the former Warsaw Ghetto.
“With its tent flap-like entry and façade
of copper, glass and sand-coloured concrete, the building, glimmering like a
mirage against its drab Warsaw backdrop,
appears to look both back and forward in
time,” noted the New York Review of Books
this month.
Toronto historian Frank Bialystok,
who was born in Poland in 1946, agreed
the museum “has been done with class
and nuance” and provides “a profound
sense of the integration of Poles and Jews
throughout history.”
Panelists, who included Eli Rubenstein,
national director of the March of the Living and founder of the March of Remembrance and Hope, and Polish-Canadian
historian Piotr Wrobel, concurred that
the museum does not shy away from presenting Poland’s anti-Semitic past, and
offers a full, rich tapestry of all aspects of
Jewish life in the country.
There are 7,500 Jews in Poland, according to the 2011 census. One study has
claimed that up to 25,000 Polish citizens
today are believed to be of at least partial
Jewish heritage.
Some say Poland – site during the German occupation of the Warsaw Ghetto
and the Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor
camps where millions of Jews were killed
– is now more welcoming to Jews than
many western European countries.
“When you take into account that Jews
are being beaten up in the streets in Germany or France or Scandinavia – you even
have synagogues being burned down,
murders – we don’t have any of that,” Piotr
Kadlcik, vice-president of the Jewish community of Warsaw, told the Reuters news
agency in October.
“I think that right now it’s safer to walk
around Warsaw in a yarmulke than it is in
certain neighbourhoods in Paris.” n
Special to The CJN
Add to your bucket list a trip to Warsaw to
see POLIN: The Museum of the History of
Polish Jews, which is already being hailed
as a world-class facility just weeks after it
opened.
“I think it is a stunning museum. It has a
fair chance of being one of the great museums of the world,” enthused University
of Toronto historian Michael Marrus at a
panel last week at U of T’s Wolfond Centre,
presented by the Polish-Jewish Heritage
Foundation of Canada.
What makes the museum so compelling
is that “it is built on scholarship,” Marrus
added.
After eight years of construction, the
completed museum has become a striking
addition to the Polish capital’s cityscape,
said Peter Jassem, head of the Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada’s Toronto chapter and chair of the museum’s
Canadian committee.
On Oct. 28, the museum’s core exhibit
was opened by the presidents of Poland
and Israel. Comprised of eight galleries
set on 47,000 square feet, the exhibits “put
you in the moment of time,” said Jassem,
who presented a slide show of the museum’s interior and exterior.
The centrepiece of the museum, Jassem pointed out, is a meticulously reconstructed ceiling of a destroyed 17th-century wooden synagogue that once stood
in the town of Gwozdziec.
Jews have lived in Poland for 1,000
years, and by the eve of World War II, they
made up over a third of the population of
manyВ urban centres in the country, including the capital, he noted. Half of all
Jews who perished in the Holocaust were
from Poland, and 90 per cent of Polish
Jewry was wiped out.
What makes the exhibits unique, Jassem
explained, is that they present Polish hist-
Got
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Here To Help
POLIN: The museum of the History of Polish Jews is being praised by many.
ory as a continuous, thousand-year story.
Unlike other countries, Poland never
banned or expelled Jews.
The Polish government invested $80
million in the museum, and an additional
$50 million came from private funds, including from many Canadians.
Among the dignitaries who attended the
opening was Canadian Sen. Linda Frum.
“This new museum is not a museum to
commemorate how Jews died in Poland.
It is a museum to celebrate how they lived
and, indeed, how they often thrived,”
Frum told the Senate on Nov. 4.
“For my part, as a Jew of Polish heritage,
married to the son of Holocaust survivors,
participating in the opening of this museum was a truly emotional experience.”
A n o t h e r Ca n a d i a n c o n n e c t i o n
came in 2006, when Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a Toronto-born museum
scholar, was appointed as head curator.
It has a fair chance
of being one of the
great museums
of the world.
Michael Marrus
University OF TORONTO
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
19
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ELITE
U
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Milk or Bittersweet
OF TOV
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400g WILD SMOKED
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699
1199
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399
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OF TOV
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227 g
NANUK
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125gr
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Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
16 % meat protein
Poitrine de poulet rГґtie au four
16 % protГ©ines de viande
NET 125 g 4.4 oz
Product of Israel Produit d’Israel
Keep Refrigerated Garder au froid
DELI TURKEY,
CHICKEN SLICES
Nutrition Facts
Valeur nutritive
Per 3 slices (60 g) / par 3 tranches (60 g)
Amount
Teneur
% Daily Value
% valeur quotidienne
Calories / Calories 80
Fat / Lipides 1 g
Saturated / saturГ©s 0 g
+ Trans / trans 0 g
Cholesterol / CholestГ©rol 30 mg
Sodium / Sodium 490 mg
Carbohydrate / Glucides 4 g
Fibre / Fibres 0 g
Sugars / Sucres 2 g
2%
0%
20 %
1%
0%
Protein / ProtГ©ines 12 g
Vitamin A / Vitamine A
IngrГ©dients : Poitrine de poulet, eau, fГ©cule
modifiée, sel, carraghénine, sucre, phosphate
de sodium, ascorbate de sodium, lactate de
sodium, Г©pices et arГґme, (poivre noir, paprika
Г©picГ©, romarin), nitrite de sodium.
Prepared by / PrГ©parГ© par:
Of Tov Products (2001) Ltd.,
M.P. Beit Shean Valley, 1171301 Israel.
Prepared for / PrГ©parГ© pour:
Foodfest International,
361 Connie Crescent, Concord Ontario.
Tel: 905-709-4775 Fax: 905-709-7116
0%
Vitamin C / Vitamine C
0%
Iron / Fer
2%
Calcium / Calcium
Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Water, Potato
Modifies Starch, Salt, Carrageenan, Sugar,
Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium
Ascorbate, Spices & Flavoring, (Black Pepper,
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431065 .‫מ‬.‫ מ‬844731 ‫Ч�‬.‫ע‬.‫ Ч’' ק‬125 ,‫עופ ЧђЧ¤Ч•Ч™ Ч¤ЧЁЧ• Ч§Ч Ч“Ч”вЂ¬
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431037 .‫מ‬.‫ מ‬844731 ‫Ч�‬.‫ע‬.‫ Ч’' ק‬125 ,‫עות ЧђЧ¤Ч•Ч™ Ч¤ЧЁЧ• Ч§Ч Ч“Ч”вЂ¬
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20
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Oral health program
for Holocaust survivors
launching
JODIE SHUPAC
[email protected]
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Twenty-five per cent of Holocaust survivors in the United States live below the
poverty line, a statistic that Avi Wurman,
the Toronto-based president of the Alpha
Omega International Dental Fraternity
(AO), maintained is “totally shocking.”
“The typical number for the equivalent
age group is nine per cent,” he said.
This data, which came out of a January 2014 study commissioned by U.S.
Vice-President Joe Biden to ascertain
Holocaust survivors’ needs, led the White
House to enlist its first-ever special envoy
for Holocaust survivor services.
This, in turn, Wurman explained, led
to the co-ordination of a three-year
oral health pilot program that is being
launched this January in nine North
American cities, including Toronto and
Montreal.
“Through the Biden-commissioned report,” Wurman said, “it was found that
many of these survivors are desperate for
oral care, things like dentures or partial
dentures, in order to function, to feel good
about themselves, or to eat. A lot of survivors lost their teeth because of malnutrition during the Holocaust… And even if
they didn’t, many still need care in terms
of fillings or basic dental work.”
Henry Schein Cares (HSC) Foundation,
an organization that delivers accessible
health care and other services to underserved populations and is associated with
global dental and medical supply company Henry Schein, has partnered with Alpha Omega, the oldest international dental organization and oldest international
Jewish medical association, founded in
1907, to roll out The AO/HSC Holocaust
Survivors Oral Health Program.
The program will serve cities where Alpha Omega chapters exist and a need
has been identified – seven in the United
States and two in Canada – and will have
dental professionals who are Alpha Omega
members volunteer to provide dental
treatment for about 250 to 300 Holocaust
survivors each year, at no charge.
Although an equivalent study on survivor needs has not been conducted in Canada, Wurman said he’d learned from UJA
Federation of Greater Toronto that about
2,500 Holocaust survivors in Toronto have
been identified as living below the poverty
line.
In Montreal, he said, the need for subsidized health care among Holocaust sur-
Avi Wurman
vivors is also great, especially since the
Claims Conference, the international organization that helps Holocaust survivors
get reparations from the German government, has, in recent years, expanded its
criteria for what constitutes a survivor.
“They decided survivors shouldn’t just
be defined as people who lived in concentration camps or ghettos,” Wurman said,
“but anyone who had to flee Nazi persecution… Montreal has a Sephardi community of Holocaust survivors that were never
previously defined as such – so now, the
need there has been expanded.”
In each participating city, patients will
be referred by the local social service
agencies affiliated with the Jewish community, who will determine an individual’s eligibility for the oral health program
based on financial and health needs.
Wurman explained that each city will
have an “ambassador” who will liaise between the referring agencies and the volunteering Alpha Omega dentists.
“The Toronto ambassador has already
recruited 40 or 50 names of dentists who
have volunteered to give care,” he said.
Volunteers include general dentists and
specialists including periodontists and
endodontists.
On Dec. 18, representatives from The
AO/HSC Holocaust Survivors Oral Health
Program will present the logistics of the
program at the White House.
Funding for the project has so far come
mostly from private family foundations in
the United States, but Wurman stressed
that the program is also looking for large
donors in Canada.
“Any foundation that is interested in
helping Holocaust survivors – a group that
deserves help more than any other group I
know of – we’d be happy to have them step
up,” he said. n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2014
News
T
Academics debate
Jewish nation-state bill
JODIE SHUPAC
[email protected]
About 300 listeners tuned in Dec. 10 to
hear academics Yoram Hazony and Mira
Sucharov square off in an impassioned
debate about Israel’s proposed Jewish nation-state law.
The webinar was hosted by Jewish Federations of Canada-United Israel Appeal
(JFC-UIA) and the Centre for Israel and
Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and moderated by
CIJA’s deputy director of communications
and advocacy training, Jordan Kerbel.
The purpose of the debate was, Kerbel
explained, to “strengthen understanding” of the controversial bill and promote
“healthy debate… in order to have a vibrant, open-minded and inclusive Jewish
community.”
Hazony, an Israeli philosopher, writer,
political theorist and president of the Jerusalem-based research and training centre
the Herzl Institute, argued in favour of the
Jewish nation-state, while Sucharov, an
associate professor of political science at
Carleton University, a blogger for Ha’aretz
and the Forward and a regular columnist in
the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin and Vancouver’s
Jewish Independent, argued against it.
Hazony began by claiming that the nation-state law would enshrine certain
legislative protections for Jews that were
considered essential at the time of Israel’s
founding, such as a military that “protects
Jews all over the world whenever they are
threatened or in danger,” a law that gives
Jews automatic citizenship, and an educational system that serves Jewish interests.
In the Diaspora, particularly in North
America, he said, “You have to be quite
wealthy to afford a Jewish education. The
State of Israel was created in order to be
able to educate a Jewish child for free.”
Hazony said it’s “painful” to hear critics of
the nation-state bill express concern that
it’s racist, arguing that when Israel was first
founded, “the idea of self-determination
for nations – especially for persecuted nations – was considered a liberal, progressive cause.”
He compared Israel to countries in
Europe. “We see a continent filled with
independent nations, each of whom expresses themselves according to their own
independence and national character…
Israel, as the only democratic nation in the
Middle East, is just like the democracies in
Europe and around the world.”
Sucharov framed her argument by outlining aspects of the Israeli political and social arena that she maintains are “broken”
and focused on how the nation-state bill
would further erode them.
Yoram Hazony
Mira Sucharov
She raised the issues of Arab-Jewish relations, asylum-seekers to Israel, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the occupation of
the West Bank, secular-religious tensions
among Jews, Israel’s “troubled standing”
internationally, and bills in the Knesset that
“verge on non-liberal expression” such as
“attempts to criminalize anti-settlement
boycotts.”
“For all of these issues, this bill will hurt
and not help Israel,” Sucharov said.
She added that the bill would “symbolically underscore Arab Israelis’ sense of
second-class citizenry and further inflame
morale” and argued it would cause them to
vote in fewer numbers. Their sense of disenfranchisement could, she maintained,
lead to “extra-governmental ways of expressing themselves.”
The bill could also serve as “a measure
of bad faith” in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
After 47 years of occupation, ongoing
settlement building, confiscation of Palestinian land and “collective punishment
[of Palestinians],” Sucharov argued, passage of the bill could lead to “a type of
national xenophobia that would increase
the polarization between Israel’s national
desires and its view of whether the Palestinians deserve their own state.”
To end the debate, Hazony and Sucharov
sparred over whether the nation-state bill
would diminish Israel’s democratic character: Hazony argued that, for a democracy to
exist, equality must be balanced with security,
liberty and a country’s “control of its population.”
“Jewish values are such that the overwhelming majority of Jews want to have a
society where all people are free to worship
and have a good life.” He added: “We need
to do certain things to protect our country.
This won’t lead to a fascistic or theocratic
country.”
Sucharov countered, “There’s no such
thing as a little bit equal. Either [minorities
in Israel] will be granted full rights or not.
Israel can claim its lack of equality is for
security, but this is a slippery slope when it
comes to the democratic state.” n
21
22
News
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Manipulated media images
a threat to the West: prof
CYNTHIA GASNER
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The intimidation of the news media by
Hamas in Gaza and manipulated images of casualties in the Palestinians’ war
against Israel are part of a larger radical
Islamic threat to western democratic values, says an expert in the field.
Richard Landes, an associate professor
of medieval history at Boston University, was in Toronto recently to deliver a
keynote address titled “The Media as a
Theatre of Conflict between Democratic
Societies and Islamism,” at a Canadian
Institute for Jewish Research conference
on media bias against Israel
Landes, who received a PhD from
Princeton University, directed the Centre
for Millennial Studies at Boston University from 1999 to 2003.
Landes was the person who coined the
term “Pallywood” for what he considers
the practice of “stage filming of evidence
against Israel for the benefit of the Palestinians.” As he told The CJN, “Everyone
on the inside knows that cameramen
stage stuff… But the media won’t admit
it when confronted with the staging.”
He cited an example: when a French
journalist viewed footage taken by a
Palestinian cameraman who recorded
the alleged fatal shooting of Muhammad al-Dura by Israeli soldiers in 2000,
he noted it was full of staged scenes.
But he was told by the chief of news at
the France 2 public television network,
“Oh, monsieur, you know it is always
like that. You may know that, but the
public doesn’t.”
This staged scene, said Landes, “illustrates the public secret: everyone knows
they fake stuff, but no one will admit it.”
Another case during last summer’s war
in Gaza involved a claim that snipers targeted and killed a boy. It was illustrated
with clearly staged footage, he said.
Additionally, he said, journalists often
reported from Gaza that “the vast majority of casualties are civilians,” without
noting Palestinian incitement to genocidal hatred, or Hamas’ firing of rockets
from areas where civilians live and killing
its own people. They also failed to mention that Israel is defending itself, trying
hard to avoid civilian casualties, and sacrificing its own soldiers’ lives to protect
Palestinian civilians.
Landes attributes this to “pervasive and
unacknowledged Hamas intimidation”
that affects not only journalists on the
ground but editors back home, a phenomenon that hasn’t received enough
attention.
Richard Landes
Landes, who has published numerous articles and recently published two
books, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of
the Millennial Experience (Oxford University Press) and The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred-Year Retrospective on
the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New
York University Press), believes this kind
of dishonesty and unprofessional work
by journalists doesn’t hurt only Israelis
and Palestinians.
“It hurts the West and democracies
around the world. They don’t understand that the conflict is jihad against
democracy, [not] a national liberation
movement against an imperialist colonialist invader, and they fan the flames
[by] showing pictures of children killed
by cruel Israelis when really they’re
sometimes killed by jihadist rockets
that fall short. This arouses the desire
for revenge not only against Israel but
all �infidels,’ especially any who support
Israel.”
The challenge of Islamism, he said, is
the great challenge of the 21st century,
and young people in the West aren’t
paying attention to it because they have
grown up in a bubble.
“Unless our youth can understand the
stakes and defend the principles of democracy and free speech, rather than cede
the public sphere to fanatics who have
no respect for those principles, such as
Islamists and the radical leftists who allied with them, there will be no democracy for a long time,” Landes warned.
“This is not something they can leave
to others.”
The net result is that news consumers
in democratic societies – whose news
media send reporters to foreign lands in
order to better understand the world–
end up misinformed.
“No one wants to be the first person
to say the emperor is naked, and no one
wants to be the last. Our job is to start the
stampede.” n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2014
News
T
Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak
GUEST VOICE
Jewish students
mobilize against
anti-Israel motions
Jonathan Mamane,
Hanna Sonigo, Jeff Bicher
and Ariel Shapiro
W
hen push comes to shove, students
respond. Just when we think that
campuses are losing their Jewish activists, we are pleasantly surprised. The
leadership, passion and mobilization of
Jewish, pro-Israel and pro-campus unity
students on campuses in Montreal of late
has been inspiring.
Recently, an anti-Israel motion was put
forward at the Students’ Society of McGill
University’s (SSMU) general assembly.
After a long debate, McGill students
voted to table the motion indefinitely,
and thus no anti-Israel resolution was
passed. After the tabling of this motion,
pro-Israel students called on the SSMU
to bring parties together to talk about
the conflict. We are hoping that they
will convene interested students next
semester.
A month later, the Vanier College Students’ Association held its own assembly.
At first, a mostly one-sided resolution
was to be presented. Thanks to the
efforts of students and campus partners,
the original motion was amended. What
was intended to be a hostile motion
against Israel became a motion for Vanier
students to stand in solidarity with all
victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
calling on all sides to exercise restraint.
This motion passed.
Most recently, during Concordia
Student Union’s (CSU) byelections, a
referendum question was posed, asking students if the CSU should join the
boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)
movement against Israel. Byelections at
Concordia get very low voter turnout, but
for this referendum, after intense mobilization by all parties, more than 2,500
students exercised their right to vote.
While the motion passed, it is worthwhile to highlight that more than 50 per
cent of the voters did not support the
BDS motion, as the votes against plus
the abstentions added up to more than
half the votes cast. This proves what the
“NO to BDS” campaign had been saying
all along – this motion is divisive and
should not be supported by the CSU or
its students.
23
The Concordia administration rightly
and unequivocally said “no” to academic boycotts. In a statement released by
university president Alan Shepard after
the results were released, this sentiment
was undeniable. Boycotts stifle academic freedom and have no place at quality
institutions.
The university’s board of governors, at
its Dec. 10 meeting, supported Shepard’s
statement. Holding this referendum
question was futile, as it will have no
influence on the direction of the university. It did manage to do two things,
though: divide the campus and frustrate
some alumni and other stakeholder
groups.
To the many readers who have taken
issue with the leadership on our campuses, we say thank you for your concern but the sky is not falling. After
speaking with the many concerned
professionals on our campuses, it was
clear that our schools will continue to
have strong relationships with Israelis
and Israeli institutions.
We thank Concordia, McGill and Vanier
for their support and their commitment
to our community on and off campus.
It was truly refreshing to see that at all
of our schools, the senior professionals
with whom we worked were just as concerned about campus unity as we were.
It is pretty obvious that the leadership of
our schools feel the same way we feel.
This was not solely a Jewish issue.
This was not solely an Israel issue. This
was, respectively, a McGill, Vanier and
Concordia issue. We were frustrated with
student groups on campus who seem
to think that passing a hostile motion
against Israel is the ideal segue to dialogue. We feel that passing such motions
in advance of discussions seems to make
the discussions pointless. None of us are
interested in singling out one country
or one people to demonize. As universalists, we are intent on breaking down
barriers between us, and the only way to
get there is through mutually respectful
conversations. n
Jonathan Mamane is co-president of Hillel Concordia. Hanna Sonigo is president
of Hillel Vanier. Jeff Bicher is executive
director and CEO of Hillel Montreal. Ariel
Shapiro is co-president of Hillel McGill.
Wishes Everyone in the
Community a
Happy Chanukah!
Your Trusted Voice for the Community at City Hall
• Raising the Flag of Israel at City Hall.
• Tighter rules to stop discrimination
and intolerance at City events.
• Hosting Israeli Mayors and Officials at
City Hall.
• Helping many seniors find homes
in affordable housing buildings.
• Improving our parks, playgrounds,
roads and sidewalks.
• Supporting increased arts funding for
community organizations.
James PASTERNAK
Toronto City Councillor, Ward 10, York Centre
416-392-1371 [email protected]
Visit us online: www.jamespasternak.ca
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The reception held Tuesday,
November 25th was an incredible
tribute to me for the 41 years I served
as Reena’s President and CEO.
I am touched by the outpouring of love
and honoured by the spirit of generosity,
appreciation and support expressed by
all those who participated.
Thank you for honouring me and may
we have other opportunities to celebrate
happy occasions together.
Warmest regards
Sandy Keshen
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
New rabbinic court vows to help
agunot receive religious divorces
Lila Sarick
Staff Reporter
A newly formed rabbinic court aims
to dramatically reduce “the scourge”
of women who can’t receive a religious divorce decree, known as a
get, by taking an “aggressive” and
“transparent” halachic approach, a
Toronto conference heard this past
weekend.
Rabbi Simcha Strauss, head of the
newly formed International Beit
Din, which meets in New York, says
the court will break new ground in
solving the long-unresolved problem
of agunot, literally chained women.
Under Jewish law, only men can
grant a divorce and in uncounted
cases, women are left in limbo, unable to divorce and to remarry.
“I consider agunot a tragedy, not
only for the Jewish People, it’s a tragedy for Halachah. It’s a stain on
Halachah. It comes to say Halachah
can not solve its problems,” Rabbi
Strauss told the annual Renewing
Our Spirit conference, hosted Dec.
14 by Torah in Motion at Shaarei
Shomayim Congregation. “I believe
Halachah can solve its problems.”
“Our job is to try to eradicate the
scourge of agunot. We’re going to
be aggressive and we’re going to be
transparent,” Rabbi Strauss said in
an interview with The CJN.
“We’ll use any halachically justifiable mode to free women.”
The beit din, which has so far heard
a handful of cases, is innovative in
many ways. For instance, it will, for
the first time for a beit din, be publishing its decisions on the Internet,
in English, outlining the rationale for
granting a divorce. Only the couple’s
names will be blocked.
A committee of female health professionals, chiefly psychologists and
social workers, has also agreed to
accompany a woman through the
court proceedings. The beit din can
be an intimidating process, with
three men asking a woman about the
most intimate details of her marriage
in order to render a decision, Rabbi
Strauss said. This way, at least the
woman does not stand alone.
The court’s decisions will rely on
existing Jewish law and legal concepts. Government documents,
such as tax returns, will be examined
and witnesses will be interviewed,
by Skype, if necessary. A recalcitrant
husband will be summoned by the
Rabbi Simcha Krauss LILA SARICK PHOTO
Our job is
to try to eradicate
the scourge
of agunot.
We’re going
to be aggressive
and we’re going
to be transparent
court three times, but if he does
not comply, a get can still be issued,
Rabbi Krauss explained.
In many cases, the husband uses
extortion, to force a woman to pay
for her get. Rabbi Krauss believes the
court will be able to remedy many of
those situations within the existing
framework of Jewish law. “I think there
are good solutions. If everyone would
work on the solutions we have now, we
would have many fewer agunot.”
The court, which has heard just a
handful of cases so far, has already
had inquiries from women in Canada and Europe, as well as the United
States.
The ultimate test for the court is
whether its decisions will be accepted by the Israeli rabbinate and
American rabbis.
Rabbi Krauss is optimistic the decisions will hold up. Before the first
rulings are published, he will seek
support from well-regarded rabbis
in Israel.
“I don’t think the world of Halachah
will say �no’ unanimously,” Rabbi
Krauss said. If rabbis are rational
and take the time to read the decisions, he believes they will support
the court.
Rabbi Krauss, who served as a pulpit rabbi in New York for more than
20 years and as head of the Religious
Zionists of America before making
aliyah in 2005, was always aware of
the problem agunot faced.
But in Israel, where agunah cases
make the front page of the newspaper, he says it became evident to
him that a solution needed to be
found.
Agunot activists are also watching
the new court closely in the hope it
makes headway in resolving what
has been an intractable problem,
said Norma Joseph, a professor of
religion at Concordia University and
vice-president and consultant for the
Canadian Coalition of Jewish Women
for the Get.
Rabbi Krauss has credibility and is
“not easily dismissed,” she said.
“A lot will happen depending on
what kind of decisions are written
up and how those decisions are received by the rabbinate in Israel and
the Beit Din of America,” she said.
She worries, however, that Canadian women could face a stigma for
travelling to the new beit din, instead
of going to their local beit din, which
may be less accommodating.
There is a school of thought that
says Jewish law itself needs to
change to “find a mechanism to
make the law more open to women’s
participation in the process,” rather than rely on the good intentions
of a particular beit din, she said.
However, the new beit din with its
commitment to transparency and
a willingness to help women is a
promising start.
“It’s exciting to think about, after
so much difficulty. There is attention
to women in this dire circumstance
and someone is stepping forward.
How that will work out is still to be
developed.” n
News
T
GUEST VOICE
Our traditions link the past
and the future
Sima Goel
T
his year, Chanukah carries extra
meaning for me because it coincides
with the winter solstice, the shortest day
of the year, a day of significance for Iranian Jews and Zoroastrians.
In Iran, the celebration of the winter
solstice has been incorporated as a general holiday, even though the Zoroastrian
religion has long been outlawed as a
pagan form of worship. For Iranian Jews
in general, and for my Iranian paternal
grandfather in particular, the winter
solstice was an exciting time, announcing
the impending arrival of spring.
During the Festival of Lights, my
grandfather, Baba Eshgel, would light a
separate candle for each of his children
and grandchildren, whether they were
physically present or not. Baba had 12
children, and each of them had several
of their own. Many of his children and
grandchildren remained in Iran, while
others had travelled far afield, to Israel, America and elsewhere. No matter
where his children were, Baba Eshgel lit a
candle for each: 60 new candles for each
night.
As he lit each candle, he held the hand
of one of his grandchildren. I remember
the way his hand felt when it covered
mine. I felt safe when I was beside him.
When he held my hand as he lit the wick
of my candle on the table, I knew the
flame would never hurt me.
Chanukah often coincided with the
winter solstice, and to celebrate that day,
it was customary in Iran to eat watermelon. In Shiraz, it was impossible to
find watermelons, except in season, but
Baba Esghel always had one saved from
late summer, which he kept in the cold
storage room. He had been raised to believe that if you ate watermelon on that
night, you would not become sick during
the winter. Nothing has ever matched the
sweetness of the slice of watermelon my
grandfather shared with me.
Baba Esghel died of a broken heart
in 1981, three months after Hezbollah
executed my aunt, his daughter. The
following year, I escaped the country of
my birth, beginning a long journey that
would eventually bring me to another
country and a new destiny. As I crossed
the desert in the company of smugglers, I
promised myself I would forever remember the life I had known in Shiraz – both
the sweetness and the sour.
What I have learned over the years is
that tradition is passed down through example, not words. Words are like smoke:
they stain the air and then disappear. But
actions and traditions engrave themselves in our minds and live in our memories. Just like my dear Baba Eshgel.
Life in Iran was complicated for me, a
Jewish girl with a desire for a different
life, one where I could speak my mind
and read whatever I pleased. When I
reached adolescence, my lively nature
led me to speak my mind, and I could
not find a way to filter my thoughts. This
eventually led me to leave my beautiful
and beloved family and homeland.
We build and renew ourselves through
our traditions. Our stories are all meaningful, and they live on through our traditions. Sweet, bitter, tear-stained, joyful
– our traditions celebrate our religion
and underline our identity, as a people,
as a nation and as individuals. Together,
we are a precious, unique tapestry, where
each of us offers a story, a history, a colour. Each of us is a line that leads to the
past and each of us is a stitch that holds
the cloth together.
As you light your candles for the eight
precious nights and sing your songs and
enfold the hands of those you hold dear,
remember that you, too, are a light, shining in the darkness of history, illuminating the future: you, your children, your
grandchildren and your grandchildren
yet to be. n
Sima Goel is the author of Fleeing the
Hijab: A Jewish Woman’s Escape from
Iran, General Store Publishing House.
camps
25
Two Dynamic Jews for Judaism Programs
A JEWISH HIJACKING
CRITIQUE OF THE THE
NEW TESTAMENT TALMUD
Why Judaism Does Not Accept
the Christian Scriptures
A Lecture with
Rabbi Michael Skobac
Education Director, Jews for Judaism – Canada
Wed., Dec. 24 • 8:30 PM
Debunking Missionary Exploitation
of Rabbinic Literature
A 3-Part Seminar with
Rabbi Yisroel Chaim Blumenthal
Director, Judaism Resources – Lakewood, NJ
Thurs., Dec. 25 • 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Painting by Isador Kaufmann, Rabbi Reading the Talmud, 1921
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
Shaarei Tefillah Congregation
3600 Bathurst Street • Admission : FREE
For info: 416-789-0020 or [email protected]
Copyright В© 2014 Beth Tzedec Congregation
1700 Bathurst Street Toronto, Ontario
Tel 416-781-3511 Email [email protected]
www.beth-tzedec.org
@
60 Years of Tradition–Building for the Future
January 22 issue
Deadline Tues. Jan. 6
26
Cover Story: Conversion
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
Beit din called out of touch
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
For instance, one potential convert, who
was already observing Shabbat and kashrut,
was told she could never shake hands with a
man, which would pose a problem for her in
the business world where she worked. The
demand was the final straw, and she ended
up not pursuing conversion.
After a number of such incidents, the
rabbi decided to stop sponsoring conversion candidates to the Toronto beit din and
now suggests that they travel to a religious
court in another city.
By comparison, Montreal has two rabbinic courts that perform Orthodox conversions. Both groups, one modern Orthodox, the other haredi, have websites and
publish codes of conduct outlining exactly
what is required of candidates. Both beit
dins in Montreal offer formal classes.
Leah (not her real name) learned first
hand of the difficulties dealing with Toronto’s Orthodox beit din when she converted
a few years ago.
She had converted through the Conservative movement when she was in her early
20s, shortly before she was married. Two
decades later, she and her husband were
attracted to an Orthodox shul, but they
could not join and hold their son’s bar mitzvah there until she completed an Orthodox
conversion. Although the family was living
a committed Jewish life – the kids were in
day school, their home was kosher – she
found it to be a gruelling process.
The lowest point in her conversion
journey was when the beit din told her
to change one of her children’s Hebrew
names to a more biblical one. “They didn’t
like the Hebrew name we chose,” she says.
But the biggest obstacle was the beit din’s
attitude. “They were disrespectful of my
time.” Meetings were cancelled, and “quite
often it was on the spur of the moment.”
With three young children, a job and
elderly parents living out of town, time was
her most precious commodity.
Not only did she feel vulnerable, she felt
the reputation and credibility of her sponsoring rabbi and his wife, who was her
teacher, were also riding on the conversion.
“I considered going to Buffalo. I didn’t
want to deal with the politics of the Toronto
board,” she says.
Rabbi Asher Vale, director of Toronto’s
Orthodox beit din denies that the body is
out of touch with communal standards.
“In Toronto, most of the rabbinate is
haredi. We accept people if they come from
a modern Orthodox shul or from a haredi
shul,” he says. “Our main thing is whether
the person is going to make a commitment
to Halachah. If they’re part of a community
and have a sponsoring rabbi, we feel comfortable with that.”
For example, the beit din would not tell a
convert that a knitted kippah was unacceptable, or that they could only wear white
shirts, he says. Questions such as whether
women are permitted to wear pants or must
cover their hair would need to be addressed
by the sponsoring rabbi, he says.
The beit din sends prospective candidates a description of the process and
what it entails, and tries to give people an
approximate timeline of when they will be
ready for conversion, he says.
In response to the Freundel allegations,
the RCA has said that every beit din under
its auspices (which includes Toronto’s Vaad
and one of the beit dins in Montreal) “will
appoint” an ombudswoman to handle female converts’ concerns about the process.
In Montreal, where the position will be
added, the ombudswoman can “go over
our heads to the national office,” says
Rabbi Michael Whitman, head of the beit
din. Converts “can give feedback that will
not affect the conversion process.”
Toronto has yet to discuss the issue,
Rabbi Vale says. “We haven’t had any major
issues,” he adds. “Every person has a sponsoring rabbi. If an issue comes up, we are in
touch with them.”
Rabbinic spokespersons for the Conservative and Reform movements say that
an ombudsman is not necessary, because
their process is quite different. Candidates
are taught during a year-long course by a
variety of rabbis and are free to switch from
one sponsoring rabbi to another if a there
is a bad fit.
Sometimes a mismatch occurs not because of personality, but because of ideology. While Rabbi Grover says he steers
many of his candidates toward the course
run by the Rabbinic Assembly, the governing body for the Conservative movement, sometimes candidates are unsure of
the level of commitment they will adopt.
For them, he recommends a new course
offered by a group of rabbis with a variety
of affiliations.
“In the RA [classes], people feel like they
cannot be honest. We put so much pressure to be up to a high standard, so they
fake it,” he says.
The alternative class lets candidates discover where they are on the Jewish spectrum before making a commitment to a
sponsoring rabbi or denomination, instead
of deciding at the outset of the program.
As conversion loses its stigma in the Jewish community, rabbis are finding more potential Jews in their offices and classrooms.
“We’re working hard to not turn people
away. We want to create more Jewish families, to welcome people into the Jewish
community and at the same time be honest with people,” Rabbi Grover says.
“I spend a lot of time doing conversions.
We’re overwhelmed with it,” he adds. “We
have to get it right.” n
Jenn Soer and her
husband Michael and
their two daughters,
Abbie, left, and Emma, on
her father’s shoulders.
LIL’ ONE PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO
Finding a home in Judaism
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8
He converted while working in political life in Quebec City. “I had a couple of
acquaintances who said it [conversion]
would harm your political career. I never
felt that. I never felt any prejudice or discrimination. People were very accommodating,” he recalls.
Educating potential converts and making synagogues more welcoming is something Rabbi Adam Cutler, who oversees
conversions at Beth Tzedec Congregation,
a Toronto Conservative shul, thinks deeply about. At his synagogue, a conversion
support committee ensures that people
in the process of choosing Judaism have
someone to sit with at services and to invite them for holiday meals.
“I think we are a welcoming and inclusive place,” he said. “But we’re pretty
white. Those who convert who aren’t
white, I wouldn’t be surprised if they feel a
sense of otherness.”
Jenn Soer, a second-generation Chinese-Canadian who converted to Judaism
four years ago through the Conservative
movement, agrees. She and her Jewish
husband visited a number of shuls before
finding one where they felt they belonged.
“I obviously don’t look Jewish. It was difficult at times,” she said. “Going to certain
shuls, sometimes people would whisper.”
Older people who have seen with her children have on occasion assumed she was
their nanny. “That hit me hard,” she said.
But both her husband’s and her own
family were supportive of her conversion,
which was easier than she had anticipated.
Today, with her little girls enrolled in a
Hebrew-speaking daycare and Jewish after-school programs, she feels part of the
community. “We’re surrounding ourselves
with the right people, and we’re very comfortable,” she says.
Steve McDonald was raised in a Christian evangelical home, but wasn’t religiously observant when two life-changing
events happened. “I met a Jewish girl and
I went to Israel.”
McDonald, who was working in the Jewish community, studied with a Conservative
rabbi and converted. “I spent a year studying and I fell in love with Jewish ethics.”
Conversion is the most contentious
issue in Jewish life, tapping deep into the
community’s fears about assimilation, he
says. “People often look at the denomination you’re converted [with] and make
a judgment. People have no concept of
what the Halachah requires.”
McDonald’s Conservative conversion
isn’t accepted in Israel, but that’s a matter for Israelis to decide, he says.“Overwhelmingly, the majority of Israelis welcome me if you say you’re Jewish and live
a Jewish life.”
Erin Bolling, of Ottawa, began considering conversion when her son was born,
but like McDonald, it was Judaism’s ethical values that ultimately attracted her. The
final push came when she and her Jewish
common-law husband discussed her elderly father moving in with them. Her partner
said “the most important thing is to honour
your parents. It just touched me deeply.”
Bolling converted two years ago, and
while her father rejoiced with her, an uncle
refused to attend her Jewish wedding.
“That’s life,” Bolling says. Her siblings
have been very supportive of her new religious identity and attended pro-Israel
rallies with her this summer.
“Sometimes people talk about having a
Jewish soul. I really think that speaks to
me. Judaism makes me feel at home.” n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
27
T
INTERNATIONAL
Israeli election now a two-way race
Haviv Rettig Gur
Jerusalem
It doesn’t make sense. Labor party leader
Isaac Herzog polls at a steady 15 Knesset
seats. Hatnua’s Tzipi Livni, meanwhile,
struggles to hold on to the four-seat minimum required to pass the Knesset’s electoral threshold.
So when one tries to understand the
new rotation deal inked between the two
politicians on Dec. 10, and unanimously
adopted by the Labor party last Sunday,
the key question is not why Livni thought
it was a good idea, but why Herzog did.
Why would the Labor chief concede so
much – half his term if he is elected prime
minister – to a political partner with so
little to offer?
It is a question that goes to the heart
of Herzog’s strategy for finally unseating
three-term prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Under the terms of the deal, the two
will share the prime ministership on rotation, with Herzog as prime minister the
first two years and Livni the last two years,
should they win the upcoming elections.
The left has lost five consecutive national elections. But it didn’t lose them to the
right. Since the outbreak of the second intifadah in 2000, many left-leaning Israelis
have voted centre and even centre-right
as a signal of their distrust of Palestinian
intentions – and of Israeli politicians who
urge them to rely on those intentions.
Netanyahu, who will be in his seventh
consecutive year in power by election day
on March 17, won the last two elections
on the strength of those centrist votes. As
a September poll by the Knesset channel
(Israel’s C-SPAN) noted, only one-quarter
of Israelis believe Netanyahu’s views represent the Israeli right. Most Israelis believe he is a centrist.
In the Knesset, it was the 25 centrist
seats of Livni’s Hatnua and Yair Lapid’s
Yesh Atid that gave Netanyahu his commanding majority in the outgoing coalition, and centrists such as Moshe Kahlon
and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party who,
if all goes according to Netanyahu’s plan,
appear slated to give him the necessary
seats to form the next. (Shas has sat in
Labor governments before; Kahlon, a former Likud minister, has emphatically said
he is not wedded to a Likud-led coalition.)
Yet Israel’s political centre is actually
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni hold a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on Dec. 10, announcing a
unity deal. Flash90 PHOTO
far larger than the parties who formally
declare themselves to be “centrist.” On
the key issue that defines the left-right
axis, Palestinian statehood, polls have
shown that as many as half of those who
vote for the explicitly right-wing parties
Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and even Jewish
Home actually support Palestinian statehood. Countless polls suggest that Israeli
centrists – usually defined by pundits as
those who support Palestinian independence while distrusting Palestinian willingness to reciprocate with peace – vote for
the right because they hear their skepticism reflected in the rhetoric of right-wing
leaders.
For 20 years, Herzog’s predecessors –
Labor has seen 11 leadership changes in
22 years – have been fighting a losing battle against this vast, inchoate centre.
But last week, Herzog launched the left’s
most dramatic bid since the 1990s for the
Israeli centre’s trust.
The Labor leader has largely abandoned
the left-wing rhetoric about reconciliation
and peace, and argues for the simpler and
more widely supported idea of separation.
Without the two-state solution, he tells Israelis in speeches and media interviews,
Israel will remain entangled in Palestinian
affairs – and in Palestinian political dysfunction and extremism.
Now Herzog is solidifying that strategy,
and made a dramatic show last week of
sacrificing his personal ambitions for
the benefit of the cause. A vote for him,
he now says, is literally also a vote for the
centrist Livni.
And even as he cemented the centrist
strategy of his own party, a move that early
polls suggest will find favour with voters, he
headed off a significant threat to his dominance of the centre-left: Yair Lapid. Herzog,
not Lapid, now sits squarely atop what is by
far the largest anti-Netanyahu bloc.
In one fell swoop, Herzog pushed ahead
of the pack and transformed a lacklustre
political position into the most significant
threat to Netanyahu in a crowded field.
From this position of strength, Herzog
hopes to attract centrists who have come
to dislike Netanyahu, leftists who voted
for other parties or causes because they
did not believe a Labor vote would bring
a Labor victory, and perhaps even liberal
Arabs who may find their political voices
sidelined in a new unified Arab list.
And since few Israeli governments survive past their third year – the next government will be Israel’s 34th in 67 years
– simply by taking the first two-year turn
in the rotation, the Labor leader made
certain he was probably not giving up as
much in reality as the terms of the rotation agreement might suggest.
The first signal of the potential threat
that Herzog’s shrewd manoeuvre may
signify for Netanyahu came in the Likud’s
official response to the announcement:
“Now Boujie [Herzog] and Tzipi can compete over who will surrender and concede more,” came the unusually acerbic
response. “To the citizens of Israel, it is
clear that these elections are between
the left camp headed by Herzog and Livni, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud leading the national
camp.”
The accusation that the new alliance
would “surrender and concede,” and the
emphatic labelling of the pairing as “the
left camp,” almost certainly presage the
Likud’s counter-campaign to the new Herzog strategy – and signal that both sides
understand the significance of Labor’s
gambit for the centre.
Indeed, the very fact that it is now possible to speak of “both sides” is significant.
For the first time in a long time, polls suggest there are now two sides in an Israeli
election. It is hard to overstate how dangerous this is for Netanyahu. The prime
minister has a primary race to win in the
next three weeks, and his primary voters,
by and large, are not centrists. But after
(and of course, if ) he wins the primary,
he will face a complicated challenge. Jewish Home is attracting hundreds of thousands of voters on his right flank; Kahlon
and Lapid, through sheer personal charisma, draw perhaps 10 seats each on his
left; and now a growing electoral power
has emerged on the other side of the aisle
that could form a credible anchor for an
alternative coalition to his own.
Pulled simultaneously to the right and
to the left, Netanyahu must find a way to
please everyone or risk losing it all.
Until last week, both right and left saw
the election as a referendum on Netanyahu. While the race is still Netanyahu’s to
lose – his electoral path to a coalition is
still shorter than Herzog’s – Labor’s dramatic move to the centre has broken the
old rules and brought an unexpected degree of uncertainty to the race.
And Herzog, seen by most Israelis as a
grey, uncharismatic public servant, has
shown a new side to his personality, a
streak of political cunning and strategic
ability more often associated with the
man he is trying to unseat.
The race, at long last, is on. n
Times of Israel
timesofIsrael.com
28
International
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
OPINION
You can take the Canadian out of Canada…
Rachel Cook
I
f you asked me a year ago what
“Flexigidity” was, I would have
thought you were crazy. Flexibility and
rigidity, two opposites, together? In one
word? Madness!
But this year, my placement is supporting the Flexigidity Project. So, in
a matter of months, I went from not
knowing anything about the Flexigidity
movement to spending a large portion
of my day talking about how Judaism,
as a society as well as a religion, needs
to be open to change and, at the same
time, needs to cling to our roots.
As I spend a year away from Canada
participating in the MASA Israel Government Fellowship Program, I have
discovered that there are many rewards
to be had from being “flexigid” at a
personal level as well. I expected to
find some differences between Toronto
(where I attended university) and Tel
Aviv. The shuk has replaced Honest Ed’s
as my shopping go-to, “sababa” has
replaced “cool” in my daily vocabulary,
and rugelach have replaced Timbits
for breakfast. Those little things are the
easiest to be flexible with, easy to enjoy
and adjust to.
The more difficult things to get used
to, such as feeling walked over when
my Canadian politeness is mistaken by
Israelis for weakness, feeling uncomfortable with strangers striking up a conversation with me on the bus, and feeling
annoyed with the very relaxed approach
to customer service here, have required
more flexibility in my willingness to adjust, but have given way to amazing new
experiences.
The first time I was able to buy a bag
full of fruit for a handful of shekels, the
Friday evening when a woman on the
bus invited me home that evening for
Shabbat dinner, or chatting with the
shop attendant and hearing about his
By discovering which
values I am willing to
negotiate on, and which
ones I am not, I am learning
more about myself
experience in the army all came about
because of my ability to adapt and be
flexible.
I have found, however, that I have to
be more rigid in some areas of my life
as well: my core values, my commitment to my friends and family back
home, my connection to Judaism have
all felt challenged during my stay so far.
But sticking to these core truths about
myself has made me stronger, and I feel
more adaptable in other areas of my life
as a result of my rigidity on these few
issues. By discovering which values I am
willing to negotiate on, and which ones
I am not, I am learning more about myself as a woman, as well as what I want
to do with my life after my year in Israel
concludes. My ties to family, faith and
belief in justice have become stronger
than ever while living here.
As a people, we Jews are currently
facing an unknown and terrifying future.
We in the Diaspora are becoming more
critical of Israel, less likely to stand up
for Zionism. Israeli Jews are currently grappling with the idea of being a
nation-state for the Jewish People and
which adjective to use to define themselves as, Jewish or Israeli.
It is my hope that my year here will
enable me to contribute to both discussions and bring our people together to
face a dangerous and uncertain world,
to teach my peers on both sides of the
Atlantic to be “flexigid” when evaluating
each other. n
Rachel Cook is a Begin fellow, currently
interning at the Reut Institute in Tel Aviv.
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
International
T
Australia’s Jewish community
on alert after hostage drama
JTA
Sydney
Australia’s Jewish community went into
official lockdown last Monday after a gunman held hostages inside an inner-city
cafГ© in Sydney.
Television images showed two hostages
holding a black-and-white flag with the
Arabic text of the Shahada – the affirmation of Islam – at the window of Lindt cafe.
Counter-terror agents swarmed the city
centre, evacuating the Opera House and
other key sites as Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the media the gunman had a “political motivation.”
“This is a very disturbing incident,” he
said. “It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an
armed person claiming political motivation.”
By nightfall, five hostages had escaped
or been freed. At The CJN’s press time
Monday, more than a dozen hostages reportedly remained captive over 12 hours
after the siege began.
“Jewish institutions across Australia are
in lockdown, excursions have been can-
celled and tight security measures are in
place,” a senior Jewish official said.
At least one major Jewish institution in
Sydney issued a “code red” emergency
alert; the building was sealed with no one
allowed to enter or exit for several hours
before the alert was lifted.
Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon
said it was “most likely the work of an
Islamist terrorist organization.”
“We have excellent relations with Australia, and help in whatever way we can,”
Yaalon told Army Radio. “There are things
that can be done from a distance.”
Gad Elbaz, an Israeli Sephardi singer
who played a concert in Sydney on Sunday, was inside Lindt cafГ© with his father
moments before the hostages were taken
captive.
On Facebook, Benny Elbaz described it
as a “Chanukah miracle.”
“The worst almost happened,” he wrote.
“A few minutes before the attack on the
cafe in Sydney my friends and I left there.”
“While thankful, my father and I are
praying and hoping for a quick release of
all the hostages safely and without harm,”
Gad Elbaz said. n
Jets scramble after Hamas launches drone
Marissa Newman
Jerusalem
Hamas’ military wing launched a locally
manufactured drone at a Gaza City march
in honour of the founding of the group
Dec. 14, prompting the Israel Air Force to
raise its alertness level.
The drone activity led the air force to
summon jets to the area, but no shots
were fired at the unmanned aircraft,
Channel 2 reported.
The drone demonstration was held at
the terror group’s 27th anniversary march,
with thousands in attendance, including
senior members, as the Gaza terror group
ramped up its rhetoric against Israel.
The protest also featured a rare appearance by members of the Hamas naval
commando unit. Weapons were on display, including R-160 rockets of the sort
fired at Haifa during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge, and another drone
which the terror group said was an Israeli
Defence Force (IDF) craft grounded during the 50-day conflict.
Earlier, the terror group released a video
which they said showed Muhammed Deif,
a Hamas military leader targeted by the
IDF over the summer and whose condition is unknown. Hamas has maintained
that terror chief Deif survived the Aug. 19
assassination attempt, in which his wife
and child were killed.
In the new footage, a silhouette is
shown, which the terror group said is Deif,
but the audio is drawn from a November
2012 clip, Channel 2 reported.
Speaking at the rally, a Hamas official
threatened that a “moment of explosion”
was near.
“We warn of the moment of explosion
which won’t be in the interest of the occupation,” a spokesman for the military
wing, Abu Ubayda, said at the rally, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News
Agency. He also turned to the Palestinian
prisoners held in Israeli prisons and said:
“The day you will see the light of freedom
has become closer than any point in the
past.”
In a separate Gaza Strip protest two
days earlier, members of the terror group
burned a life-sized stuffed model of a
haredi Jew over a number of coffin-like
structures bearing the faces of the four
victims of the Har Nof synagogue attack.
A paper replica of the Temple was burned
in the same blaze as well. n
Times of Israel
Timesofisrael.com
DID YOU GO TO HEBREW SCHOOL?
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Six stories will be highlighted in the “first” Focus on Education Feature
Feb. 26th, on cjnews.com and our Facebook page.
Stories must be no more than 500 words and include a photo.
Submit by Feb. 2nd to [email protected]
Winners must have attended (or be attending) Hebrew school and sign a release allowing
The CJN to use their story and photo.
6 PRIZES
$100 EACH
29
30
International
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Jerusalem mayor presents new master plan for city
Linda Gradstein
Jerusalem
Within 20 years, probably even sooner, the
population of Jerusalem will hit one million people. If the present demographic
breakdown continues, more than onethird of them will be Palestinians, most
of them permanent residents rather that
Israeli citizens.
Whatever their legal status, they will
need a place to live, and Jerusalem Mayor
Nir Barkat says he intends to build 50,000
apartments over the next few years for
both Israeli and Palestinian residents of
the city. About two-thirds of these new
homes will be built in primarily Jewish
neighbourhoods, and one-third in Arab
neighbourhoods.
“Jews prefer to live in Jewish neighbourhoods and Arabs prefer to live in Arab
neighbourhoods,” Barkat told a group of
journalists on a press tour of the city. “You
should be aware that there are more Arabs
living in predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods than there are Jews living in
predominantly Arab neighbourhoods.
And the Arabs living there don’t need any
kind of protection.”
Barkat said he is committed to improving
the quality of life in the Arab sector in east
Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967.
Palestinians maintain that east Jerusalem
must be the capital of a future Palestinian
state. In an interview, he said he is committed to bringing the infrastructure in east
Jerusalem in line with that of west Jerusalem.
“We are in the process of giving street
names and numbers to all of the streets
in east Jerusalem,” he told the Media Line.
“We had 500 roads with no names, so we
are doing this with the local residents. It’s
important in the process of improving
quality of life and increasing the value of
the properties.”
There has long been a shortage of classrooms in east Jerusalem, and Barkat has
built 171 new ones, including several
brand-new schools like the Beit Hanina
Comprehensive School. The school serves
620 girls from grades 7 to 12. On a recent
Sunday, several dozen girls were attending
enrichment classes or working on a science
project, even though it was a weekend.
“I like this school a lot and I am concentrating on science,” Samar Hamdan, 13,
told the Media Line. “I hope to be a doctor
one day.”
Principal Lianna Jaber, a mother of three
who is also working on her PhD at Hebrew University, said the school encourages
young women to study math and science
and provides extra-curricular support to
do so.
There is still a long way to go before
Palestinians in east Jerusalem receive the
same services as their Jewish neighbours.
Despite the fact that east Jerusalem has 36
per cent of the population, less than 10 per
cent of the Jerusalem municipal budget is
allocated to projects and spending there,
including only 2.1 per cent of the cultural
budget, 4.4 per cent of the welfare budget
and 1.1 per cent of the business development budget, according to Ir Amim, a dovish group that advocates for Palestinian
rights.
Poverty levels in east Jerusalem are
dramatically high, with more than
three-quarters of the residents defined as
poor. Most Palestinians in Jerusalem are
permanent residents rather than citizens,
as they see accepting citizenship as legitimizing Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem, which they oppose. According to
the Association for Civil Rights, Israel has
revoked the Jerusalem residency of 14,309
Palestinians from 1967 to 2013, if they
have been out of the city for more than
seven years. Jews who leave for a similar
amount of time do not lose their residency
or citizenship.
“Successive Israeli governments have
primarily sought to maintain the demographic balance and limit and restrict the
number of Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Sa-
rit Michaeli, the spokesperson of Btselem,
an Israeli human rights group, said. “Israel
has expropriated a massive amount of
land in east Jerusalem, most of it Palestinian, to build neighbourhoods for Jews.”
Barkat says he will build new housing
projects in all parts of Jerusalem, despite international criticism of some of
the building. The ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, in northern
Jerusalem, became a point of contention
in 2010, when Israel announced it would
build 1,600 new homes there just as U.S.
Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting.
Under American pressure, Israel backed
off, but these new homes are now part of
Barkat’s new master plan.
“Right now we are standing right here
on this porch, on the west side of Ramat
Shlomo, which is a predominantly Jewish
neighbourhood, and on the map around
the neighbourhood you see this strip,”
Barkat said, holding up a large map showing where the new construction will be.
“We will build 800 units here, and north of
us another 800 units.”
If the building goes ahead, it could spark
more tensions with the U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. n
The Media Line
themedialine.org
Women of the Wall
denied Chanukah ceremony
JERUSALEM
JTA
A request by Women of the Wall to hold
a Chanukah candlelighting ceremony in
the women’s section of the holy site was
denied.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbinic authority of the Western Wall and holy
places, denied its request, Women of the
Wall said in a statement Dec. 14. According
to the group, Rabinowitz said the menorah
lit on the men’s side can be seen by all.
“It is difficult not to suspect that Women
of the Wall’s real intention is not prayer
but rather their determination to change
the customs at the Western Wall at any
cost, while offending many of the masses of those who pray at the Western Wall
and the traditions developed there over
hundreds of years of prayer,” Rabinowitz
wrote in his denial letter.
In its statement, Women of the Wall said
its members will bring their own menorahs to the wall on Dec. 18 and light them
together in the women’s section. The
group meets at the Western Wall once a
month for prayers for the new month.
Women have the same obligation as
men to light a Chanukah menorah, the
organization pointed out.
“Unfortunately, Rabinowitz does not recognize the genuine intention and right that
Jewish women have to heartfelt prayer at
the Kotel,” Women of the Wall wrote. “He
has chosen to respond negatively to such
a basic request for Women of the Wall and
many other women to hold a Jewish ritual
at the Kotel, which is permissible and required of us according to Jewish law.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to respond to the denial,
Women of the Wall said in its statement.
Writing to Netanyahu last month, the
group asked that a large menorah equivalent to the one lit in the men’s section be
placed in the women’s section, allowing the
women to hold their own public lighting.
Netanyahu transferred the letter to Vice
Minister of Religious Affairs, Eli Ben Dahan, who passed the letter on to Rabinowitz. n
Flash90 photo
Ray of light
A full rainbow is seen over Jerusalem after a rainfall earlier this
month.
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
31
T
Jewish Life
Arts
books
food
what’s new
classified
parshah
Play pits
Holocaust
against Quebec’s
language laws
From left, Allan Price, Ron Boyd,
Madeline Leon, Aris Tyros and Gloria
Valentine in Teatron Toronto’s Delimax.
Inset, Harvey Ostroff.
Ruth Schweitzer
Special to The CJN
P
laywright Harvey Ostroff had a
flash of inspiration while he and
his wife were eating at the Snowdon Delicatessen on one of their visits
to Montreal.
It was 1983 and Ostroff, a former
Montrealer, noticed that the restaurant sign he was familiar with had been
changed to DeliSnowdon. Ostroff was
aware of the implications of Bill 101,
Quebec’s 1977 French language charter,
he said, but he was still surprised that
the deli’s name had been altered.
The restaurant’s owner told Ostroff
that the “language police had been by,”
and ordered him to change the English
sign and also to provide a French-only
menu to comply with Bill 101. A customer in the restaurant who overheard
the conversation muttered, “This is just
like the Nazis coming back.”
Based on that exchange, Ostroff
wrote the first draft of DeliMax, a play
about Max Farber, the Jewish owner of
a Montreal delicatessen and a survivor
of Auschwitz, who believes that the na-
tionalism rising in Quebec is Germany
in the 1930s revisited.
Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre is
mounting a production of DelixMax
that opens in Toronto in early January.
On the evening of the biggest ice
storm in years, Max’s French-Canadian
waitress, Monique, and her boyfriend,
Rejean, who denies the Holocaust and
says the English population and the
Jews should be banished from Quebec
in order to end the oppression of the
people, are stranded in the deli. Max,
along with his partner, Nathan, who
is also a Holocaust survivor, decide to
teach the couple the true meaning of
oppression.
Ostroff’s research for DeliMax included interviewing Holocaust survivors at
Montreal’s Cummings Jewish Centre
for Seniors and the Montreal Holocaust
Memorial Centre. Ostroff said that a few
of the survivors he spoke to connected
Quebec nationalism with Nazism.
“Some people were worried,” Ostroff
said. Reflecting on the ultra-nationalist
views held by a segment of Quebecers,
he added, “That’s what it was like in the
�80s for some people.”
Ostroff, who now lives near White
Rock, B.C., said the Parti QuГ©bГ©cois was
decimated in the Quebec provincial
election last April because of its proposed charter of values, Bill 60, aimed
to secularize Quebecers. The bill was
controversial, especially its proposed
prohibition of public sector employees
from wearing or displaying “conspicuous” religious symbols. The bill was “a
consternation to Jews and Muslims who
didn’t want to be secularized. It was a
mistake to bring it up,” Ostroff said.
“That time has passed in Quebec.”
He added that today’s Quebecers feel
“they’re a part of a generation, not apart
from a nation.”
Ari Weisberg, Teatron’s artistic director and DeliMax’s director, received
the script for the play six years ago. He
said he decided to produce the play this
season because he made a connection
between the controversy created by the
charter of values and memories he has
of Quebec politics over the years.
DeliMax was produced in Washington and Oregon in 1985, and Teatron’s
production is the Canadian premiere. In
the Teatron production, Ron Boyd plays
deli owner Max; Gloria Valentine plays
Yetta, an old friend of Max’s; Allan Price
is Nathan; Madeline Leon plays the
waitress Monique, and Aris Tyros plays
the ultra-nationalist Rejean.
“DeliMax is a very strong drama,”
Weisberg said. “It brings together Holocaust memories as well as the situation in Montreal. They are both strong
topics.”
Each season, Teatron’s plays have a
unifying theme, and this season’s theme
is works that don’t shy away from controversy, Weisberg said.
Peace Warriors, which ran in November, explored anti-Israelism, while The
Value of Names, which opens in February, delves into the McCarthy era.
DeliMax pits the Holocaust against
Quebec’s language laws. Teatron holds
audience discussions after each show. n
Teatron Theatre presents DeliMax at the
Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre, 5040 Yonge St., Jan. 7 to 18, 2015.
For tickets: Toronto Centre for the Arts
box office, 5040 Yonge St.; Ticketmaster
1-855-985-ARTS (2787) and online at
www.teatrontheatre.com.
32
Books
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Sephardi chief rabbi was one of
most influential, author says
Sheri Shefa
[email protected]
by Harvey Ostroff
Directed by Ari Weisberg
January 7 - 18, 2015
Max Farber, the Jewish owner of a Montreal delicatessen,
a survivor of Auschwitz, believes that the new nationalism
arising in Quebec is the 1930s revisited. On the evening of
the biggest storm in years, he decides to teach his
French-Canadian waitress and her ultra-nationalistic
boyfriend a lesson. Has he gone too far?
Share your
happy moments
upload your photo to
www.cjnews.com/mazeltov
Show Israel You Care!
Volunteer as a Civilian worker
for 2 or 3 weeks
on an Israeli army supply base
Free: accommodations, kosher meals, trips, events.
Cost: air fare, $100 registration, weekend expenses.
416-781-6089 or [email protected]
514-735-0272 or [email protected]
www.sarelcanada.org
Programs start approximately every 3 weeks.
Following a relationship with the late
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that spanned almost a decade and included six years
of diligent research, Yehuda Azoulay has published a book about the
Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel, who
was equally influential and controversial.
“Encyclopedic Torah knowledge,
fearless conviction, compassion and
concern for each and every Jew, tireless energy, clarity of thought and
expression – it is this combination of
outstanding qualities that has made
Hacham Ovadia Yosef the most influential rabbinic figure of our generation and one of the most influential
rabbis in hundreds of years,” Azoulay
wrote in the introduction of his 700page book, released as part of a series published through the Sephardic
Legacy Series Institute, a non-profit
organization Azoulay founded years
ago to promote Sephardi culture.
Speaking to The CJN about Maran –
The Life and Scholarship of Hacham
Ovadia Yosef, Azoulay said he was
drawn to the Baghdad-born rabbi,
who died last year at the age of 93,
ever since he met him 10 years ago.
“When I was 18, I had attended his
lectures in Hebrew when I was in yeshiva [in Israel]. I was drawn towards
him, his scholarship and his humour.
Granted, many people may consider him controversial,” he said, “but
there is no rabbi in the State of Israel
over the last 65 years, from both a
Sephardi and Ashkenazi perspective – everyone would agree with me
unanimously – about how influential
this rabbi was,” Azoulay said.
“I got close to him because I pretty
much pushed my way in to get familiar with his family. I was with them
for the holidays. I would fly in from
Toronto or New York when I used to
live there… As time went on, they
brought me within their quarters…
We had a relationship,” he said adding his research included one-onone interviews with the rabbi, Knesset members, family members and
others who were close to him.
He said over the past six years, he
and a team of five researchers read 28
Hebrew biographies about the rabbi,
and all of Rabbi Yosef’s 53 books.
“His books are beyond academic
– only religious people who understand the questions and answers and
Yehuda Azoulay nechama leitner photo
so on would appreciate the scholarship,” he said. “Within those books
there were anecdotes. He talked
about experiences in his life, about
World War II, he talked about Hitler, about the Damascus blood libel
in the 18th century, he goes through
history, talks about life and experien-
He created an identity
and a framework for
the Sephardi Jews of
the Land of Israel
ces through Jewish law.”
Azoulay said one of the things he
admired about the rabbi was his diligence.
“He was extremely focused as an
individual and had an unbelievable
dedication to Torah study, as well as a
sensitivity towards every single Jew,”
he said.
“I think the overall message that I
learned from him personally is that
you shouldn’t take time for granted.
He was all about time. He was extremely accomplished.”
Although he acknowledged that the
rabbi, who was founder and leader of
Israel’s Shas party, had found himself
in hot water over the years because
of comments he made about victims of the Holocaust, the victims of
Hurricane Katrina that devastated
New Orleans in 2005, and the role of
Jewish women, among other issues,
Azoulay decided not to delve deeply
into those issues in his book.
“Many Jews have a negative impression of Hacham Ovadia due to
his political involvement and his
sometimes biting style of expression,” he wrote in the book’s introduction. “This biography will touch
on various controversies surrounding this larger-than-life figure, but we
will by no means attempt to justify all
the comments taken out of context
and bandied about by critics [and]
the media. We feel that political faux
pas are extraneous to this study.”
What’s more important is the positive influence he had on Jewish and
Israeli society, he said.
“Because of him there are 80,000
Ethiopian Jews – every Ethiopian in
the state of Israel is considered Jewish thanks to him.”
In the 1970s, following his appointment as Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi,
he ruled that Ethiopian Jews were
unquestionably Jewish, allowing
them to marry other Jews without
having to convert.
“Furthermore, he created both an
identity and a halachic framework
for the Sephardi Jews of the Land of
Israel that will not dissolve with his
passing,” Azoulay said.
“He left a major void in the Sephardi world in terms of leadership.
There is really no one like him. There
are other chief rabbis, great rabbis,
but definitely, over the past 100 years,
no one has done what he’s done and
everybody knows that and no one
would disagree with me.” n
Arts
T
Eye on Arts
by Bill Gladstone
SERIES OF SPECIAL EVENTS
PLANNED FOR ISRAEL MUSEUM’S
50th ANNIVERSARY
The Israel Museum of Jerusalem is set to
celebrate its 50th anniversary next year
with a year-long series of special exhibitions reflecting on its achievements and
underscoring the local and universal dimensions of its collections and programming.
Exhibitions will highlight the shared
narratives of cultures and civilizations
worldwide and feature seminal works in
the museum’s holdings as well as masterworks on loan from sister institutions.
Since the museum’s founding by Teddy
Kollek in 1965, “we have made remarkable strides in building a pre-eminent collection that stretches across the breadth
of world culture,” said museum director
James S. Snyder.
Beginning next March, “1965 Today”
will present several solo exhibitions by
contemporary Israeli artists, as well as an
examination of Israel’s visual culture of 50
years ago, immersing visitors in the visual
character of Israel both then and now.
In May, “A Brief History of Humankind”
will present a series of seminal objects –
from the first evidence of communal fire
nearly 800,000 years ago, to early depictions of gods and goddesses, to the earliest evidence of writing, and finally to Albert Einstein’s original manuscript for the
special theory of relativity – that each in its
own way represents a turning point in the
trajectory of human history.
Other exhibitions planned for the anniversary year include “Twilight Over Berlin,” a showing of 50 German avant-garde
masterworks from the first half of the 20th
century.
For more about the museum, please visit
the website www.english.imjnet.org.il
***
Play about Montreal Deli: Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre presents Delimax,
a play that Harvey Ostroff wrote after
visiting the former Snowdon Delicatessen
in Montreal, which was forced to change
its name to DeliMax due to Quebec’s language laws. The work focuses on Max Farber, a Holocaust survivor and owner of a
Montreal delicatessen who believes that
the new nationalism arising in Quebec is
Germany in the 1930s revisited.
Teatron’s production of the Canadian
premiere of Delimax is directed by Ari
Weisberg and features actors Ron Boyd,
Gloria Valentine, Madeline Leon, Allan
Price and Aris Tyros. Toronto Centre for
the Arts, Studio Theatre, 5040 Yonge St.
Jan. 7 to 18. $26 to $48; previews $19. www.
teatrontheatre.com
***
New in Print: Toronto’s Joseph Kertes,
dean of creative and performing arts
at Humber College and author of the
award-winning Holocaust-themed novel
Gratitude, has recently come out with a
new novel. The Afterlife of Stars focuses
on the Beck family, who are forced to flee
Budapest on the brink of the Hungarian
revolution and go to the apartment of
a mysterious aunt. The Becks “grapple
with religion, sibling rivalry, family secrets, and incalculable loss to arrive at
a place they thought they’d lost forever:
home.” Kertes was also the founder of
creative writing and comedy programs
at Humber. The Afterlife of Stars is published by Penguin Random House of
Canada.
***
New in Print II: Emiliano’s Discovery,
a first novel by Winnipeg-born lawyer
Paula Hurwitz, focuses on a Buenos Aires
Jewish man whose life is torn apart by a
targeted explosion, and comes to Canada
in the aftermath to locate long-lost members of his extended family. Published by
FriesenPress, the book “is a journey both
through history and a personal one of
genealogy, roots and self discovery,” says
Hurwitz, a lawyer who now lives in Toronto with her family.
***
Arts in Brief
33
PRESENTS
• Film critic Keven Courrier presents “Forbidden Desires: the Films of Alfred Hitchcock,” a series of lectures with film clips
that show how Hitchcock made voyeurism
an acceptable dramatic strategy in films
such as Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window
and Psycho. Miles Nadal JCC, Mondays
from Jan. 5 to Feb. 9, 1 to 3 p.m. Series $50,
drop-in $12, students $6. To register, please
phone 416-924-6211, ext. 0.
• The sixth annual Evening of Music and
Comedy is a “fun-filled, talent-packed
show” featuring jazz pianist Steve Koven
and other musicians and comedians.
Tickets $25. Todmorden Mills Papermill
Theatre, 67 Pottery Rd. Saturday Jan. 10,
doors open 7 p.m., show starts 8 p.m. Free
parking, cash bar. For tickets, please email
[email protected] n
The smash-hit musical show
returns to TIFF Bell Lightbox
just in time for the holidays
— and the film’s upcoming
50th anniversary!
MEDIA PARTNER
Steve Koven.
В®Toronto International Film Festival Inc.
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
34
Food
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Marks was acclaimed
food writer and historian
Bring comfort food
to a friend
JTA
Sue Epstein
Special to The CJN
Gil Marks, an acclaimed Jewish food writer and historian, has died.
Marks, who had been battling lung cancer for three years, died Dec. 5 in Jerusalem. He was 62.
He was the author of five books on the
subject of Jewish food and was the founding editor of Kosher Gourmet Magazine.
His 2004 cookbook, Olive Trees and Honey:
A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World was a
winner inВ the 2005 James Beard Foundation Awards, an annual awards show often
referred to as the “Oscars of Food.”
In 2010, Marks published The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, the first attempt within
the American Jewish culinary community to
compile a comprehensive reference guide
for Jewish food. The critically acclaimedВ volume was nominated for another James
Beard Award, and earned MarksВ a spot on
the Forward 50, a list of the 50В most influentialВ American Jews of that year.
Gil Marks
Along with his accomplishments in the
world of food, Marks was also an Orthodox rabbi, with ordination from a Yeshiva
University affiliate.
Marks, who lived most of his life in New
York, was diagnosed with lung cancer in
November 2011 and made aliyah to Israel
the followingВ year. He was active on social
media, and documented his three-year
struggle with the disease on Facebook
along with personal posts about food, Judaism and family. n
Koogletz – kosher, pareve
mini-kugels from the freezer
CAROLYN BLACKMAN
[email protected]
Norene Gilletz’s picture is well known on
her numerous kosher cookbooks and on
her website, Gourmania.
The Toronto-based cookbook author,
writer, editor, food consultant and food
technician and stylist now has her face on
products in the kosher freezer section of
the local grocery store.
Last month, Gilletz introduced Koogletz,
her line of frozen mini-kugels available in
potato, sweet potato and confetti (carrot
and zucchini.)
The seeds for the Koogletz were planted
about five years ago, Gilletz said, while she
was on a plane headed for the annual Kosherfest near New York City.
“Michael Nadler of Central-Epicure, told
me he had been looking to start a new food
brand, but had never found the right partner. We met, and together with chefs Yehuda
Goldberg and Mona Pasternak, as well as a
food technologist, developed the idea of the
savoury little cupcakes or kugels.
“They took recipes from my cookbooks
and modified them so they’d become
a freezable, commercial product with
home-cooked taste. It was a long process,
but definitely worth it.”
She said her daughter, Jodi Sprackman,
who lives in Vancouver, suggested that given
Gilletz’s name, they call the product Koogletz.
Gilletz said they came up with packaging
and got it into grocery stores. “Before we
knew it, it was flying off the shelves. People
all over North America began asking for it.
I am farklempt with the huge response
we’ve gotten, especially when my sister
said, �Mom would have loved these.’”
She said the product, which comes six
in a box of one variety, is perfect for kids’
lunchboxes, young cooks or anyone who
wants a quick side for dinner or lunch.
“It’s real food with real ingredients – no
fillers or preservatives. They are pareve
and gluten-free, and each one at 80 calories, is made by hand, just like I would do
in my kitchen. The difference, though, is
these go from the freezer right to the oven,
and they’re ready in about 30 minutes.”
Gilletz said that at age 74, she finds this
an “exciting adventure. It’s hard work, but it
is creative and fun. I’m always working on
multiple projects, but with Koogletz, I’ve
reinvented myself. I’ve taken my knowledge and used it in new, creative ways.”
Koogletz are available in such stores as
Coppa’s, Sobeys, Nortown Foods, Daiter’s
and Taste of Israel. They are also available
in the Cavendish Mall IGA in Montreal. n
When we take food to friends who have
been ill or suffered a loss, we also bring
love. The ritual of going to a friend’s
house with pot holders in our hands and
caring in our hearts is played out thousands of times in Jewish communities
worldwide. The power of this outreach is
boundless.
Ill or grieving people may not have an
appetite, but as the hours pass, they may
begin to feel “like eating a little something.” Here are some tips and ideas for
what to bring and how to bring it.
Fluids become imperative, and bottled
water, 100 per cent-fruit juices, fresh coffee and herbal tea offer comfort. Sherbet, a dish of applesauce, a plain turkey
sandwich or a carton of yogurt sound
good. When I came home from a recent
hospitalization for pneumonia, I craved a
fresh salad after a week of hospital food.
And, of course, chicken soup, or any other
soup is always welcome.
One-dish main courses are probably
the easiest, for both the cook and the
recipient. Designed to be made ahead,
they’re also no problem to heat up when
it’s time to serve.
Lighter appetites might relish a cold
salad of tangy tuna or fresh fruit as a side
dish, or for the main meal at lunch.
If you are going to bring a meal or part
of a meal to someone, first find out how
many people you will be cooking for and
if they have any special dietary needs
such as food allergies or if they are saltfree, vegetarian, etc. If possible, find out
what other people may be bringing so
that the family doesn’t receive the same
dish four nights in a row.
When we send food to a friend or neighbour, none of us wants to seem stingy so
we tend to send in too much. However,
unless it’s something that allows the leftovers to be frozen, much of it, such as
salads, end up being thrown away, so
keep your portions reasonable.
Do try to bring your offerings in disposable containers if possible. If not, be sure
to mark your name on the container so
that it can be returned to you. Also write
down any cooking or heating instructions
and whether leftovers are freezable.
Whatever your choice, you’ll be showing someone you care and performing a
great mitzvah.
And if day-to-day pressures find you
too short of time to create an entree, you
can still bring a smile to a needy friend or
neighbour with a mouth-watering sour
cream coffee cake.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
More than just dessert, this tender
cake also doubles as a breakfast
option.
o 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
o 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
o 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
o 1 cup granulated sugar
o 1/4 cup butter or margarine,
softened
o 2 large egg whites
o 1 cup sour cream or pareve
substitute
o 1 tsp. vanilla extract
o 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
o 1 tsp. baking powder
o 1 tsp. baking soda
o 1/2 tsp. salt
o cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 3
ingredients and set aside. Place granulated sugar and butter or margarine
in a large bowl and beat with a mixer
at medium speed until well-blended
(about 5 minutes). Add egg whites, 1
at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup, and level with a knife.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring well with a
whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to
sugar mixture; beat well. Spread half
of batter into an 8-inch-square baking
pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of walnut streusel over batter.
Spread remaining batter over streusel.
Top with remaining streusel.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a
wooden pick inserted in centre comes
out clean. Cool the cake on a wire
rack. Makes 12 servings. n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
Books
T
Two Kennedy speeches are
among his most momentous
Bill Gladstone
Special to The CJN
More than half a century after the presidency of John F. Kennedy ended in a tragic hail of bullets, Ottawa historian and
university professor Andrew Cohen has
mined some powerful but previously neglected material on JFK and written a book
that could change the shape of his political legacy and legend in substantial ways.
In Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and
the 48 Hours That Made History, Cohen
presents painstakingly detailed, hourby-hour descriptions of two of Kennedy’s
1,036 days in office – June 10 and 11, 1963
– and asserts that they were among the
most momentous of his days at the White
House.
Cohen bases the claim on two speeches
that Kennedy gave on those days, one on
the most urgent foreign-policy matter of
the era – the nuclear arms race with the
U.S.S.R. – and the other on the equally
pressing domestic concern of civil rights
and the desegregation of the American
South. Both were central and defining
issues of America in the ’60s.
An admitted “JFK junkie” ever since he
first heard the news of the Dallas assassination while a third-grade pupil in Montreal, Cohen was reportedly the first person
to track down and view hours of raw film
footage of Kennedy and others shot in
the White House and other key locations
during those two days in June. Cameramen working with filmmaker Robert
Drew shot the footage and accompanying
soundtrack while compiling a 52-minute
documentary, Crisis, one of the earliest
American films in the cinema-verite style,
which aired on American television in October 1963.
In an interview with The CJN, Cohen explained that he was curious about any un-
used footage from Crisis and telephoned
Drew in 2012. The aging director, who was
then about 88 years old and who died last
July, told him that at least 26 hours of raw
footage had been shot for the film and
that it was being preserved at the Pickford
Centre for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood.
“I went out there for five days,” he recalled.
The many hours of grainy, black-andwhite 16mm-film that Cohen viewed were
focused largely on the charismatic and
youthful president, his brother, attorney
general Robert Kennedy, speech writer
Ted Sorenson, Alabama governor George
Wallace and other aides and individuals
at various locations who were part of dramatically unfolding events during those
two days.
“I guess what I want to convey is the
sheer sense of immediacy that you have
as a voyeur when dropped into the White
House in 1963,” Cohen said of his experience with the footage. “This is unscripted,
this is just the cameras rolling, this is just
Jack Kennedy in his office. I was rapt.”
Soon after returning on an overnight
flight from Hawaii, JFK delivered the
speech on “world peace” as a commencement address at Washington’s American
University on the morning of June 10,
1963. Only eight months after the Cuban
Missile Crisis, he was “not naïve about
the Russians. He knew well their treachery, their brutality, their gulags, and their
prisoners,” Cohen writes. But he craved a
new approach to peace, knowing that nuclear warfare could result in annihilation
on both sides. Almost for the first time,
he used language that humanized rather
than demonized the Russians – never as
eloquently as in this memorable speech,
written covertly and without input from
the Defense Department or the CIA.
Wishing Our Customers, Friends and Family a Happy Chanukah!
Your Holy Land Store
For All Your Judaica Needs.
Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy
and the 48 Hours That Made History,
by Andrew Cohen
(McClelland and Stewart)
“If we cannot end now our differences, at
least we can help make the world safe for
diversity,” intoned JFK in one of its most
memorable passages. “For in the final
analysis, our most basic common link is
that we all inhabit this small planet. We all
breathe the same air. We all cherish our
children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
Just as the president appealed to the
American people to start seeing the Russians in a new way, so too he appealed
to the nation to begin to see “Negroes”
as full-fledged citizens, entitled to equal
rights and privileges in all spheres of life.
His June 11 speech on civil rights was delivered amidst an emerging crisis as Alabama governor Wallace vowed to stand in
the doorway to keep black students from
attending the hitherto-segregated University of Alabama.
Incredibly, Kennedy and Sorenson
began drafting separate versions of the
speech at 6 p.m., only two hours before
the president was to deliver it on national television. Ultimately Kennedy relied
upon an unfinished draft and extemporized – which he was extremely good at
– through part of the 13-minute oration.
“It’s a great speech,” said Cohen. “In fact,
it’s a flat-out masterpiece, I think. The
speeches from those days, I think, are
JFK’s best.”
As Cohen details, JFK’s oration on nuclear arms became the basis for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, and
his speech on civil rights led to the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, a watershed in American history.
Cohen uses many other intriguing
sources to chronicle the events described
in Two Days in June. He visited historian-diarist Lady Antonia Fraser in London, who opened her diaries to him and
vividly recounted her conversation with
JFK at a Georgetown dinner party on
June 10. Cohen also drew upon the recently opened letters and diaries of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the historian and
presidential assistant, as well as those of
Charles Ritchie, then Canada’s ambassador to Washington. He also uncovered a
draft presidential speech written by the
gifted young novelist Richard Yates.
A teacher at Ottawa’s Carleton University
and former Washington correspondent for
the Globe and Mail, Cohen is the author
of six previous books on Canadian subjects, including Why Canada Slept: How
We Lost Our Place in the World (2003) and
biographies of Lester Pearson and Pierre
Trudeau (with J. L. Granatstein). Two Days
in June is his first major foray into American history.
How is it possible to make groundbreaking new discoveries on a subject that has
been so acutely examined by so many
brilliant minds over so many years?
“There are always things to find,” enthuses the 59-year-old author. “It did
surprise me that no one had looked at
this film, and that no one before me had
spoken to Antonia Fraser. But I have to say
that I have an advantage that other people
don’t. I’m looking at just two days so I
could drill down very, very deeply. People
who are writing the story of a thousand
days, which is the title of Arthur Schlesinger’s history of the JFK presidency, can’t
look that deeply.” n
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T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Dec. 18 - Dec. 25
by Lila Sarick
Saturday, Dec. 20
CHANUKAH PARTY
PJ Library and Temple Sinai hold a
Chanukah/Havdalah party, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Sonshine and Broccoli perform for the
younger children while older children can
create a Chanukah song video. Register by
Dec. 19. 416-487-4161.
Sunday, Dec. 21
CHANUKAH CONCERT
The Maccabeats perform at a Chanukah
festival, 3 p.m. Chabad of Markham, $25.
www.chabadmarkham.org or
905-886-0420, ext. 221.
Wednesday, Dec. 24
JEWS FOR JUDAISM
Rabbi Michael Skobac discusses “Why
Judaism does not accept the Christian
scriptures,” 8:30 p.m., Shaarei Tefillah
Congregation, 3600 Bathurst St.
416-789-0020.
Thursday, Dec. 25
HIJACKING THE TALMUD
Rabbi Yisroel Chaim Blumenthal
presents a 3-part seminar on “Debunking missionary exploitation of rabbinic
literature,” 12:30-4:30 p.m., Shaarei
Tefillah Congregation. 416-789-0020.
Coming Events
EMPLOYMENT WORKSHOP
JVS holds employment workshops every
Thursday at 10 a.m. Call 416-649-1688.
HEBREW CLASSES
Conversational Hebrew, Ulpan method
with Yael Lev, intermediates Tuesdays
at 7:30 p.m.; advanced Thursdays at
1:30 p.m. Two classes forming, Learn to
read and write and Beginners conver-
Deadline reminders:
Deadlines will change due to the winter
holidays. The CJN will not publish
Jan. 1. The deadline for the issue of
Jan. 15 is Jan. 5. All deadlines are at
noon. Phone 416-391-1836, ext. 269;
email [email protected]
Menorahs in the making
Parent volunteers at Bialik Hebrew Day School’s Ben and Edith
Himel Education Centre help students in junior kindergarten
roll and shape clay for homemade chanukiyot. From left, parent
Marni W., students Gabe S. and Scarlett G., and parent Anat I.
sational Hebrew. Pride of Israel Synagogue, 416-226-0111, ext. 10.
INTERNSHIPS
Emunah Toronto is offering two internship opportunities for university
students who would like to work in a religious Zionist setting at Neve Michael,
an Israeli children’s village, starting
June 2015. Call 416-636-0036 or www.
emunahcanada.org
MACCABI CANADA
Maccabi Canada is seeking male basketball players born in 1997 or later
to compete at the Maccabi Games in
Berlin (July 2015) and Santiago, Chile
(December 2015). Contact the coaches
at [email protected] or andre.
[email protected] For more information, visit www.maccabicanada.com.
MORASHA WINTER 2015
Classical music and the Jews, presented
by Jerry Fink. Six classes on Wednesdays, 11:15 a.m., starting Jan. 7. Explore
music for the Psalms, opera in the 19th
century, music created in Terezin 19411944. Call Loretta, 416-789-7400.
HEBREW CLASSES
Temple Sinai offers Hebrew classes for
adults. Beginners plus, runs Tuesdays,
starting Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. Intermediate
Hebrew uses prayers and biblical stories
to further knowledge and conversation.
Offered Thursdays, starting Jan. 8,
7:30 p.m. Call 416-487-4161 or
[email protected]
TUESDAYS WITH LARRY
Beth Tikvah Synagogue begins its series
of movies, with introduction by Larry
Anklewicz. Jan. 6, Aftermath, 2 p.m.,
3080 Bayview Ave. 416-221-3433. $5.
SUPPORT FOR ABUSED WOMEN
The Legal Information Service of Act
to End Violence Against Women offers
legal support and guidance to Jewish
women who have experienced abuse.
Free. Call 905-695-5374 or email
[email protected]
JF&CS Groups
GROUPS AND WORKSHOPS
Registration is required for all programs. Classes are open to all members of the community. Fee reductions
available. Call Shawna Sidney, 416-6387800, ext. 6215, or visit www.jfandcs.
com. All classes at Lipa Green Centre,
4600 Bathurst St., unless noted.
❱ When you’re about to separate: What
to tell the kids, a workshop for parents
in the early stages of separation.
Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m.
вќ± Parenting in the age of technology:
Media personality Joe Rich hosts a
workshop on parenting children and
teens in a digital age. Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.,
Lebovic JCC, 9600 Bathurst St.
вќ± Mind-body connection for women: A
7-session group for women who want
to learn mindfulness and meditation.
Starts Jan. 28, 1 p.m. or Jan. 29, 7 p.m.,
Lebovic JCC.
вќ± Beyond the chupah, becoming a couple: A 5-session marriage preparation
group for couples who are going to be
married in the next year. Starts Jan. 29,
7 p.m., Beth Tzedec Synagogue.
BEREAVED JEWISH FAMILIES
Bereaved Jewish Families of Ontario
provides 8-week self-help groups to
bereaved parents. Call Beth Feffer,
416-638-7800, ext. 6244, or email
[email protected]
For Seniors
вќ± Adult 55+ Fitness, Miles Nadal JCC.
Play Pickleball, a cross between tennis,
badminton and ping-pong, Thursdays
and Sundays, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
416-924-6211, ext. 526 or colinb@
mnjcc.org
вќ± Earl Bales Seniors Club. 416-3957881. Chanukah celebration with
“Old Hollywood” live entertainment,
Dec. 18, noon. Casino Woodbine,
Jan.14; Manicures and facials Jan. 8;
Thursdays, social bridge, 12:30 p.m.,
mah-jong.
вќ± Bernard Betel Centre. 416-225-2112.
Dec. 21, Klezmer Orchestra performs,
1:30 p.m.; Dec. 23, Jordan Klapman
discusses “The life and music of George
Gershwin,” 10 a.m.; Dec. 30, Jordan
Klapman discusses “The life and music
of Irving Berlin,” 10 a.m.
вќ± Adath Israel Congregation.
Wednesday afternoon socials. Bridge,
mah-jong, Rummikub, 12:30 p.m. Call
Sheila,
416-665-3333 or Judi 416-785-0941.
вќ± Shaar Shalom. Play duplicate bridge
Mondays, 1:30 p.m. Lessons, 12:30 p.m.
905-889-4975.
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
What’s New
T
вќ± Beth Emeth. Experienced mah-jong
and Rummikub players meet Mondays
and Wednesdays. 416-633-3838.
вќ± Temple Har Zion. Play mah-jong
Wednesday afternoons. Email bevmi
[email protected]
вќ± Beth Tzedec Synagogue. Play bridge
Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m., mah-jong,
2-4 p.m. Call Maureen, 416-781-3514.
вќ± New Horizons is a Jewish Hungarian
seniors club open three times a
week. Kosher food and trips. Call
416-256-1892.
вќ± Chabad of Markham offers lunch and
learn classes for seniors with Rabbi
Meir Gitlin, Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
for women; Fridays at 10 a.m. for men.
Call 905-886-0420 or email Rabbig@
chabadmarkham.org
вќ± Association of Jewish Seniors.
Chanukah lunch, Dec. 18, Shaarei
Shomayim Synagogue. $20/$25.
RSVP 416-635-2900, ext. 458.
вќ± Circle of Care Exercise class. Free
exercise classes offered at Shaarei
Tefillah Congregation, Mondays
1:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 3 p.m.
416-787-1631.
вќ± Feldenkrais awareness through
movement, Edithvale Community
Centre, Mondays, 10 a.m.
416-665-9050.
Prosserman JCC
Sherman Campus, 4588 Bathurst St.,
416-638-1881, www.prossermanjcc.
com. To register for programs call ext.
4235.
вќ± Beginner mah-jong starts Jan. 21,
1 p.m.
вќ± Bridge level 1 and 2 starts Jan. 19.
❱ Kevin Courrier presents “Roads to
perdition: the dark allure of film noir,”
Jan. 7-28, 1 p.m.
вќ± The JCC book club discusses The
Little Bride by Anna Solomon, Jan. 26,
1 p.m.
❱ Leon Soriano teaches “Acrylic painting,” starting Jan. 13, 1:45 p.m.
вќ± Hand-building and wheel-throwing
ceramics classes during the day and
evening start the week of Jan. 8.
вќ± Yoga Cares is a program for teens and
adults with an intellectual disability.
Starts Jan. 6, 7 p.m.
Miles Nadal JCC
750 Spadina Ave. 416-924-6211,
www.mnjcc.org
вќ± Strength and Self: A weekly group
for women who have experienced
SeeJN | Bingo fun
More than 120 kids from Chai Lifeline and the Downtown Kiwanis
Club attended the Linitzer Benefit Society’s 46th annual children’s
bingo event, held Nov. 16 at the National Council of Jewish
Women’s Toronto headquarters. Each child was guaranteed to win
at least one donated toy, book or gift certificate to a local attraction.
Pictured with some of the toys are volunteers Sandra Fiedler, left,
and Renee Meadow.
abuse in their lives. Be part of a weekly
group focusing on support, wellness
and meditation. Mondays, 11 a.m.
Free. Ongoing admission. Contact
[email protected] or call
ext. 147.
вќ± Subscribe today to the Jewish Film
Society. Eight films shown between
January-December 2015. joellem@
mnjcc.org or ext. 139.
вќ± Daytime choir meets with Gillian
Stecyk, Tuesdays, 1 p.m.; Open
community choir meets Mondays,
7:30 p.m. Email [email protected] Join
the klezmer ensemble, conducted by
Eric Stein, Tuesdays 7:30 p.m. Full-year
pro-rated registration available.
❱ Kevin Courrier discusses “Forbidden
desires: the films of Alfred Hitchcock,”
Mondays, Jan. 5- Feb. 9, 1 p.m.
вќ± Holidays of the Week, by Yaara Eshet
is in the gallery until Dec. 28.
вќ± Adult pottery classes for participants
of all levels, start Jan. 6 at 9:30 a.m.
or Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. Email pottery@
mnjcc.org.
вќ± Registration now open for Hebrew
Institute. Various levels, open to
everyone. Contact [email protected]
or ext. 388.
вќ± iSocialLab brings together
young Israelis interested in social
37
innovation, community-building and
entrepreneurship. Apply now for winter.
Email [email protected] or ext. 321.
вќ± Michael Bernstein Chapel holds
services Thursdays at 7:15 a.m.;
Sundays at 8 a.m. Coleman Bernstein,
416-968-0200.
Schwartz/
Reisman Centre
Lebovic Campus, 9600 Bathurst St.
905-303-1821. To register for programs,
call ext. 3025
вќ± Daytime and evening ceramics classes
for all levels, starting Jan. 7.
вќ± Enjoy a glass workshop creating a
challah tray, with Marcela Rosemberg,
Jan. 20, 7 p.m.
вќ± Daytime and evening mah-jong classes start Jan. 13.
❱ Suzanne Metz teaches “Fundamentals
of drawing and painting,” starting
Jan. 14, 10 a.m.
вќ± PJ Plus is a parent and tot program
for children ages 18 months to 3 years,
starting Jan. 21.
вќ± Adult art with Melysa Gorlicky starts
Jan. 5, 8 p.m.
вќ± Beginner bridge starts Feb. 5, 7 p.m. n
38
Social Scene
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Married with kids
The wedding speech
Lauren Kramer
I
f I’m ever inclined to slide my wedding
video into the old dinosaur that is my
trusty VHS, the idea of listening to the
rabbi’s speech is the fastest deterrent imaginable.
Delivered on a sweltering day in a
synagogue with no air conditioning, the
rabbi hired for the occasion droned on for
40 minutes in a long-winded soliloquy to
which I doubt very much anyone really
listened. As I fidgeted beneath the chupah
in impractically high heels and many layers
of silk and tulle, I remember thinking “Will
this ever end?” Our trusty videographer
determined he’d capture the entire monologue on video and save it for posterity
– though why I cannot imagine. We didn’t
listen to it on our wedding day, and we certainly don’t have any intention of reliving
that speech 18 years later.
The rabbi was only doing what he
thought was his job – marrying an ex-South
African couple who’d flown back home for
their wedding – by imparting the gravity
of the wedding ceremony and the roles
we would play as chattan and kallah. That
he knew nothing about us was a fact that
never entered the equation because that
speech, I’m fairly certain, had been delivered at many other weddings in slightly different forms. It wasn’t about the individuals
standing beneath the chupah with lovestruck eyes. It had something to do with the
spirituality of man and woman uniting and
each of their respective roles. I’m not sure
of this, though, because as I said, I wasn’t
listening intently at the time.
Recently, though, I had cause to reflect
on that speech and how different it might
have been had today’s bridal trends held
sway back then. When a bridal magazine
asked me to research wedding ceremonies
and how they were changing, I came into
contact with Michele Davidson, a wedding
officiant with Modern Celebrant in Vancouver. She described the custom wedding
ceremonies she creates for couples after
she’s come to know them over months of
in-depth interviews that involve written
reflections, face-to-face meetings and
thought-provoking questions that prompt
meaningful responses. Each ceremony
is written from scratch for each couple,
including material on the pair’s story, what
drew them together and what keeps them
united.
In one ritual for the ceremony of a wineloving couple, she instructed them to select
a case of wine that would age well. Bride
and groom were told to write one another
letters wherein they reflected on their love
for each other, and to seal those letters and
place them in the wine case.
“They’ll open it on a pre-specified anniversary date, or if their marriage runs into
trouble before then,” she told me. “At that
time they’ll share a glass of good wine, read
the letters they wrote each other before
their wedding and remember what drew
them together.”
Davidson’s ceremonies are months in the
making, and they’re not cheap, “but each
one is like a commissioned work of art,” she
says. “There’s not a boring second in there.”
Her words took me right back to the hot
synagogue and the rabbi at my wedding,
who had no idea who we were as individuals or what had drawn us together. He was
just a man in a long black coat who’d been
hired for the occasion and considered our
ceremony a platform for his ideas of what a
marriage should be.
“Often religious officiants have an agenda
for the wedding and insist the couple fall
under their agenda,” one officiant said. “We
believe the ceremony is about what our
couples believe, and most of them want
something soulful, spiritual and personal.”
I’m not planning a second marriage, but
if I ever renewed my vows, I’d choose an
officiant like Davidson to create that ceremony in a heartbeat. I’ve sat through more
than my share of rabbinical soliloquys,
memorable only for their lengthy duration,
speeches that are seldom “on my level.”
I’m certain I’m not alone. I think couples
everywhere are ready for a fresh breeze
that heralds a more innovative wedding
ceremony, one that celebrates who they
are as individuals, what values they share
and how bright their future will be should
their love and trust persist. If there’s a rabbi
who can deliver that, I’d love to meet him
or her. n
Happy Hanukkah from our family to yours!!
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
39
T
Miketz | Genesis 41:1 - 44:17
Maharat Abby Brown Scheier argues we must be inspired by the women of Chanukah
Rabbi Denise Handlarski interprets Jacob’s story as a reminder to feed the hungry
Rabbi Yirmi Cohen says when the world gets dark, Jews need to provide a light
Maharat Abby Brown Scheier
Rabbi Denise Handlarski
Rabbi Yirmi Cohen
R
J
oseph’s brothers are suffering from famine and
go to Egypt to ask for help. Joseph recognizes his
brothers but they do not recognize him. Joseph sets
up a test for his brothers, telling them to return with
their youngest brother, Benjamin. Benjamin, replacing
Joseph as Jacob’s favourite son – for he is the last remaining son of Rachel as far as Jacob knows – did not
accompany his brothers the first time.
Though Jacob is reticent to let him go for the second
journey, he realizes they all may starve, and thus he
consents. Consider the story from Jacob’s point of view.
He has lost his favourite son and now is threatened
with the loss of another. While showing favouritism for
a child is never a good parenting strategy, we can have
some sympathy for Jacob in the choice he has to make.
He either lets Benjamin go, or he risks starvation.
There is a midrash that speaks of Jacob’s dilemma:
“You may learn from the story of Jacob that it is a
man’s worst trial to have his children ask him for food
when he has nothing to give.” Hunger is devastating,
and there is still far too much of it. Jacob reminds us
of our responsibility to feed the hungry. The midrash
about Jacob works nicely in conjunction with something Rashi noted about this portion. He makes the
link between the word for corn/food in the Joseph story (shever) with the word for hope (sever). It’s difficult
to have hope without bread. This week we celebrate
Chanukah, a time of joy and, for many of us, abundance. Let us, in gratitude and generosity, support
food banks and soup kitchens. Let all of us work for a
world in which both bread and hope are in abundance
for all. n
A
Rabbi Denise Handlarski is assistant rabbi with Oraynu
Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Toronto.
Rabbi Yirmi Cohen is rabbi of Ohalei Yoseph Yitzchak
Congregation in Toronto.
ecently, a friend said to me, “Aren’t you lucky you
don’t have boys!” The context was a conversation
about how elaborate and expensive bar mitzvahs have
become and how, as the mother of four daughters, I
wouldn’t incur these expenses.
My friend’s innocent comment reflected a reality of
our communities: our ritual expectations and (subsequent) financial standards are different for boys and
girls as we celebrate their spiritual and educational
growth, in particular when it comes to bar and bat
mitzvahs. Do we not want to encourage both our sons
and our daughters to participate equally in Jewish ritual,
study and communal life?
The Talmud states (Shabbat 23b): “A woman certainly lights [Chanukah candles], as Rabbi Yehoshua ben
Levi said: Women are obligated concerning Chanukah
candles, since they, too, were part of the miracle.” Where
are the women?
A fascinating story is found in the Talmud (Gittin
57b), which describes a woman whose seven sons are
martyred before her eyes. We also read of Judith, who
deftly beheads the Syrian-Greek general Holofernes.
One woman demonstrates the strength of speaking up
for her religion and not allowing its spirit to be defeated.
The other courageously seduces her way to the enemy
camp and demonstrates ingenuity and gutsiness. Additionally, the Book of Maccabees also describes women
who took it upon themselves to ensure Jewish continuity at the risk of death by circumcising their sons. These
stories teach us that women have been part of the Jewish story all along. They, too, cared about Judaism and
stood up for their beliefs in physical and spiritual ways.
If we want our daughters to be proud, strong Jews
who contribute in meaningful ways to our religious
and communal life, let us be inspired by the women of
Chanukah. We must ensure that our daughters – with
the same sense of ceremony and importance that we
reserve for our sons – are always an integral part of the
story. n
Maharat Abby Brown Scheier is a Judaic Studies teacher
in Montreal, where she lives with her husband and four
daughters.
lthough on Chanukah we savour those delicious,
crispy latkes, primarily, we celebrate by lighting the
menorah. This is how we commemorate the miracle of
the oil that lasted for eight days. The victory of Chanukah was a victory of the spirit, so our observances are
more “spiritual.” The Greeks wanted us to forget the
Torah and transgress the mitzvot, so we celebrate with
an emphasis on the spiritual.
Chanukah is also related to the word chinuch, education. Chanukah is a time to focus on the educational
needs of our children. We should provide them with a
holy environment. According to Jewish law, under the
circumstances, the Jews could have lit the menorah with
impure oil. But they wanted the very best. So, too, must
we offer our children the best Jewish education.
The Chanukah lights commemorate the menorah of
the Temple. Yet there are major differences between
them. In the Temple, the menorah was lit in the afternoon and on the inside, whereas the Chanukah candles
are lit facing the street and after dark. This teaches that
a Jew must not only light up his home, as with Shabbat
candles, but must illuminate the “outside” – his social
and business environment.
As the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked us to share the joy of
Chanukah, my son and I have a custom to light a menorah with many of our neighbours on our street.
When it is “dark” outside, in exile or as we saw recently
with the very dark events in Jerusalem and in Israel, we
need to light up the world and be more unified, with
more Torah and more mitzvot.
May we see the lighting of the Chanukah menorah in
the third Temple with the Mashiach in our days. n
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UPHOLSTERY
WAITERING SERVICES
WATERPROOFING
WEIGHT LOSS/FITNESS
WINDOW SERVICES
WORKSHOPS
433 LESSONS
Jewish Bible study group.
Formore information, please go
to:www.meetup.com & look
under:Toronto Torah and Tanach
StudyGroup.
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
DECEMBER 18, 2014
CLASSIFIED 416-391-1836
5 HOUSES FOR SALE
Best Wishes to our Clients,
Family & Friends for
a Happy Chanukah
& Happy Holidays.
Real estate Inc. - BRokeRage
Village – 416-488-2875 • central – 416-785-1500
Bayview – 416-226-1987•YongeSt.–905-709-1800
•Yorkville – 416-975-5588 • Downtown – 416-363-3373
Vaughan905-695-6195
Helen Winer
Deborah Winer, B.Sc.
416-225-9278
416-885-0953
Sales Representative
Sales Representative
Re/Max West Realty Brokerage, Inc. 1118 Centre St # 10, Thornhill • 905-731-3948
Not intended to solicit properties or buyers under contract with another brokerage.
Muskoka-1-855-665-1200
centRal PRoPeRtIes
glamoRous sun FIlled custom Home on 45 X 118 Ft lot
Luxurious Bathurst & Lawrence Home On Quiet Street. 4 + 1 Bed, 6 Bath,
Sauna, Wet Bar W/Up & Office On Main Flr. Debbie Ekonomou* 416-785-1500
RemaRkaBle custom BuIlt ResIdence $4,288,000
5+2 Bdrms – Stunning Master Ste Includes Walk-in Closet, 6pc Ens +
Sitting Rm, Family Rm + Office on Mn, Gourmet’s Kit: Centre island, Brkfst
Area, Top of Line Appls. Julie Gofman* 416-488-2875
eQuIsIte custom BuIlt Home! 5+1 BdRms $3,499,000
Boasting Only The Highest of Quality Finishes in One of Toronto’s
Most Prestigious Neighbourhoods, Spectacular Flow Thruout, Beautifully
L’scaped Yard & Pool. Walking Distance to Shopping, Restaurants, TTC,
Private and Public Schools. Julie Gofman* 416-488-2875
10 madoc dRIVe $1,359,000
Demand Cul-De-Sac, Lots of Living Space, Large Gourmet’s Kitchen,
5 Bdrms, 5 Bths, In-Law Suite, Multi W/O’s, Double Garage. Brenda
Westbrook* 416-488-2875
condomInIum PRoPeRtIes
a BReatHtakIng eXPeRIence $5.5 mIllIon
Approx 3300 sf, Sweeping Panoramic Views, North & South Terraces,
Loggia, Private Elevator Opens to Your Stunning, 3 Bdrm Suite, Den
and Family Rm, Hrdwd Flrs, Superb Finishes, 4pkg, Hotel Style Living.
Howard Lende* 416-488-2875
luXuRIous PRemIeRe aVIgnon-tRIdel Bldg $1,249,000
Katherine Newman Design, Spacious Living + Dining Rms, Eat-In Kit,
Brkfst Bar, Priv Patio BBQ. Alona Metzer** 416-488-2875
WInston Place 349 st. claIR aVe W. $1,100,000
Manhattan Style, 3 Level Condo in Boutique Bldg, Open Concept
Mn flr, Fplce in Living Rm, Wonderful Mstr Ste – 6 pce Ens, Walk-in
Closet, Sitting Rm with Fplce, Spectacular 2 Tiered Terrace, 2 car pkg.
Gary Mitchell** 416-488-2875
Rental PRoPeRtIes
1st ad! unIt 205 at 3443 BatHuRst st! $2,049/mo!
Incredible 2Br 2Bth East Facing Ste W/Optional 1 Car Parking+Locker!
Approx 1021’! Immed! Call Sandon Schwartzben** 416-226-1987
3443 BatHuRst stReet! tHe deloRaIne luX aPts!
Only 3 Suites Now Remain! Your Choice! 1+1Br 2Bth Or 2Br 2Bth! New Prices
From $1,639-$1,699/Mo! Immed! Sandon Schwartzben** 416-226-1987
unIt 501 at 3443 BatHuRst st! 2st 3BR 3BtH!
$2,499/Mo! Sub-Lease From Now-Aug 31/15 At This Reduced Rate!
Approx 2013’ W/2 Terraces! Immed! Sandon Schwartzben** 416-226-1987
unIts 203+403 at 3443 BatHuRst stReet!
$1,639/Mo Each! Fab 1+1Br
2Bth S/W Corner Suites! Hi Ceilings! Sleek
ased Sandon Schwartzben** 416-226-1987
leImmed!
Kit’s! Approx 939’ Each!
noRtH PRoPeRtIes
77 Rosedale HeIgHts dRIVe! BatHuRst n/centRe!
$999,000! Spectacular 4+1Br 4Bth! Mn Fam+2Pce! 2nd Flr Lau! Nanny Ste!
ld Sandon Schwartzben** 416-226-1987
soMiss!
Dble Grge! Approx 3186’! Don’t
**Broker*SalesRepresentative
www.foresthill.com
real estate limited brokerage
416-633-7373
SHEPPARD/BATHURST
2 homes. Ideal for investor/
builder Or professional use.
80’ x 144’ lot. Don’t miss this
great buy and location!
416-633-7373
35 CONDOMINIUMS
FOR RENT
35 ConDominiumS
foR REnT
Bathurst/Wilson, 1BR Condo,
PKG, LKR, W/D, $1350+UTL.
(647) 960-2892
130 fLoRiDA
PRoPERTY
30 CONDOMINIUMS FOR
SALE
foR REnT
Hollybrook Golf/tennis 2 bed.
convert., 2 bth. Avail.Jan.15th
min. 2 mths 905-886-4858.
THE LONSDALE - 619 AVENUE ROAD
2,130 SF, NorthWest Views, Taken Down
Boynton Beach Great 55+ community,
It beautiful 3/bdrm villa w/all
3To
4 Bare
C A RConcrete
S C A D D-EYou
N Finish
DRIV&
E Have
Bathurst/Sheppard.
Country
feel ammenities. 516 641-7795
Your Way. $1,705,000
As Is. Opportunity!
in the city, spacious, bright, clean
apt., renovated,
ravineBroker
setJEFFREYquiet
JOSEPH,
190 vACATion
ting off main street. TTC. 2 bdrm.
416-782-7000
PRoPERTY
avail. immed., 1 bdrm. avail. Feb/
Harvey
Real EstateorLtd
Brokerage AvAiLAbLE
Mar
CallKalles
905-474-3600
416638-6813.
Peaceful refuge in the Galilee
village of Moshav Zippori. Ideal
for families 2 bedrooms+kitch75 APARTMENTS
e n eFOR
t t e . RENT
Swimming (MayOctober), hiking, biking, horseback riding. Close to everywhere
270 www.twoneptune.ca
Frank & Elaine Goldstein
35 ConDominiumS
Call:972- 646-8349;
foR REnT
www.cactustzimmer.com
email; cactustzimmer @gmail.com
Conservatory, 343 Clark, indoor
pkg., 2 bdrm. + solar., large kit,
terrace. Call 905-881-8380
75 APARTmEnTS
foR REnT
Conservatory, 333 Clark, 3,000
s.f., 3 bdrm. renov. PH, 3 bath,
huge terrace. Call 905-881-8380
75 APARTmEnTS
foR REnT
Spacious 2 bdrm. + 1 indoor pkg.
spot. Brand new appliances, pool/
fitness ctre. Bath. & Eglinton area.
3 min walk to Glencairn subway.
Walk to parks, shops, Village
Shul. $1350/mo. avail. Sept.
416-398-9424
130 fLoRiDA
PRoPERTY
foR REnT
B”H Hallandale Intercoastal,
crn.unit acrs. frm. bch. 2 bdr./2
bath.min3mths.Nov-April/15.
905 765-6141
160 iSRAEL
PRoPERTY
235 buSinESS
WAnTED
CPA seeking to purchase accounting practice in GTA. Serious buyer. Email: [email protected]
2
hE
Del’s C
condo’s
ovation
416-74
I can cl
quickly
Call 64
Reliab
experie
able. P
Roman
lady av
Call: 41
PSW/h
in home
647-35
Loving
seniors
pitals. 1
T
75 APARTMENTS FOR RENT
PRIVATE LUXURY APARTMENTS ON THE RAVINE
34 CARSCADDEN DRIVE • BATHURST/SHEPPARD
St
Cr
Carscadden Dr
t
Bathrus
k Cres
Denmar
stone
Hearth
ow Ave
Hounsl
Ave
Ellerslie
Ave
Park
Ellerslie
Listen to the birds in a peaceful forest setting. Beautiful, spacious,
renovated units available.
Quiet, mostly adult building.
TTC.
35 ConDominiumS
250 DomESTiC
2 Bedroom
available.
foR REnT
hELP AvAiLAbLE
Please call for information
or to
book
an appointment:
35 Cleaning
ConDominiumS
Bathurst/Wilson,
1BR
Condo,
Del’s
Service, we clean
PKG,
LKR,
W/D,
$1350+UTL.
condo’s,
offices,REnT
houses and renDonna Goldenberg: [email protected] foR
(647) 960-2892
ovation clean up, after party clean,
905-474-3600 • 416-638-6813
416-743-8155
Bathurst/Wilson,
1BR Condo,
PKG,
LKR, your
W/D,home
$1350+UTL.
WE LOOK FORWARD
TOfLoRiDA
WELCOMING YOU
I can HOME
clean
and apt.
130
(647)
960-2892
quickly
and nicely. Good prices.
PRoPERTY
Call 647.867.6144.
foR REnT
130hard
fLoRiDA
3636 BATHURST
ST.
Reliable,
working and
2 & 3 Be
Hollybrook Golf/tennis
2 bed.
s
PRoPERTY
Now Availdrm
experienced
caregivers
available!
LARGE 2 & 3 Bedrooms Suitesconvert.,
now 2 bth. Avail.Jan.15th
foRcallREnT
able. Please
416-546-5380.
min.
2
mths
905-886-4858.
available. Large rooms, eat in kitchen,
Romanian &Golf/tennis
Hungarian speaking
2 bed.
Boynton
some with 2 bathrooms, lots
of Beach Great 55+ com- Hollybrook
lady avail.2for
caring
or cleaning
convert.,
bth.
Avail.Jan.15th
munity, beautiful 3/bdrm villa w/all Call: 416-272-1531
3
4
C
A
R
S
C
A
D
D
E
N
D
R
I
V
E
closet space, large balcony, central
min. 2 mths 905-886-4858.
Bathurst/Sheppard. Country feel ammenities. 516 641-7795
a/c,
freshly painted and refinished
PSW/homemaker
avail.
work
Boynton
Beach Great
55+tocomin the city, spacious, bright, clean
in home,
hospital,
nursing
floors.
Ceramicquiet
tiles.ravine
Parking
munity,
beautiful
3/bdrm
villahome.
w/all
apt., renovated,
set-available,
3 4 C 190
ARSC
A
D
D
E
N
D
R
I
V
E
vACATion
647-351-2503
ting off main
TTC. 2 bdrm.
indoor
pool street.
and whirlpool,
sauna.
Bathurst/Sheppard. Country feel ammenities. 516 641-7795
avail. immed., 1 bdrm. avail. Feb/ in the city,PRoPERTY
Loving caregiver (PSW) for
spacious, bright, clean
AvAiLAbLE
Mar Call
905-474-3600 oror
416Call:
416-931-2206
416-663-8662
for
appoint.
seniors /children; homes or hosapt., renovated,
quiet
ravine set638-6813.
pitals.190
11 yrsvACATion
exper. 647-710-0151
ting off main street. TTC. 2 bdrm.
Peaceful refuge in the Galilee
PRoPERTY
avail. immed., 1 bdrm. avail. Feb/
village of Moshav Zippori. Ideal
AvAiLAbLE
Mar Call 905-474-3600 or 416for families
35 ConDominiumS
125 FLORIDA PROPERTY
FOR2 bedrooms+kitchSALE
638-6813.
e n e t t e . S w i m m i n g ( M a y - Peaceful foR
refugeREnT
in the Galilee
October), hiking, biking, horseback riding. Close to everywhere
270 www.twoneptune.ca
Frank & Elaine Goldstein
35 ConDominiumS
Call:972- 646-8349;
foR REnT
South Florida Real Estatewww.cactustzimmer.com
270
www.twoneptune.ca
email;
@gmail.com
Conservatory,
343 Clark,
indoor ISLES,
35 cactustzimmer
ConDominiumS
SPECIALIST
IN SUNNY
pkg., 2 bdrm.
+ solar., large
kit, BEACH
BAL HARBOUR,
SOUTH
foR REnT
terrace. Call 905-881-8380
and AVENTURA
235 buSinESS
Conservatory,
343 Clark, indoor
CONTACT ME
WAnTED
pkg., 2 bdrm.
+ solar., large kit,
75 APARTmEnTS
terrace. Call 905-881-8380
www.jodipuder.com
foR
REnT
CPA seeking to purchase [email protected]
ing practice in GTA. Serious buy75 APARTmEnTS
Conservatory, 333 Clark, 3,000 er. Email:
[email protected]
888.291.8810
s.f., 3 bdrm. renov.
PH, 3 bath,
foR REnT
3
4
C
A
R
SCADDEN DRIVE
huge terrace. Call 905-881-8380
Bathurst/Sheppard. Country feel
Conservatory,
333
Clark, 3,000
Ritz-Carlton
Managed
Residences
in the
city, spacious,
bright, clean
s.f., 3 bdrm. renov. PH, 3 bath,
apt.,
renovated,
quiet
ravine set75 APARTmEnTS
SARASOTA-FL
huge
terrace.
905-881-8380
tingcondominium
off
main Call
street.
TTC.
2 bdrm.
foR REnT
5 STAR RESORT
on
the
Beach.
35 ConDominiumS
avail.
immed.,
1 bdrm.
avail. of
Feb/
Sunset-City Lights-Sunrise
Views.
Epitome
foR
REnT
Call
905-474-3600
41675
APARTmEnTS
casual pkg.
elegance.Mar
Gourmet
kitchen-wood orand
Spacious 2 bdrm. + 1 indoor
marblepool/
floors- 638-6813.
deep, foR
60 ft.REnT
wrap-around
spot. Brand new appliances,
1BR Condo,
terrace.
World
class location & amenities
with
fitness ctre. Bath. & Eglinton area. Bathurst/Wilson,
PKG,
LKR,
W/D,
concierge-theater-guest
suites-2
parking
spacespkg.
&
Spacious
2 bdrm.
+$1350+UTL.
1 indoor
3 min walk to Glencairn
subway. (647)
35
ConDominiumS
960-2892
pets welcome. 3,017 sq.
ft. 3 bed-3
bath $2,500,000
new
appliances,
pool/
Walk to parks, shops, Village spot. Brand
foR
REnT
JudySept.
Kepecz-Hays
~ Bath.
941.587.1700
fitness ctre.
& Eglinton area.
Shul. $1350/mo. avail.
website: LongboatKeyLuxury.com
130tofLoRiDA
3270
min www.twoneptune.ca
walk
Glencairn subway.
416-398-9424
Bathurst/Wilson,
1BR Condo,
35toConDominiumS
email: [email protected]
PRoPERTY
Walk
parks, shops, Village
PKG, LKR, W/D, $1350+UTL.
foR
REnT
Shul.960-2892
$1350/mo.
avail. Sept.
foR REnT
130 fLoRiDA
(647)
416-398-9424
PRoPERTY
Hollybrook
Golf/tennis
2 indoor
bed.
Conservatory,
343 Clark,
foR REnT
convert.,
2 bth.
pkg., 130
2 bdrm.
+Avail.Jan.15th
solar., large kit,
fLoRiDA
130
fLoRiDA
min.
2 mths
905-886-4858.
terrace.
Call
905-881-8380
PRoPERTY
B”H Hallandale Intercoastal,
PRoPERTY
Great 55+ comfoR
REnT
crn.unit acrs. frm. bch. 2 bdr./2 Boynton Beach
foR 3/bdrm
REnT
beautiful
villa w/all
3bath.min3mths.Nov-April/15.
4 C A R S C A D D E N D R I V E munity,
75
APARTmEnTS
Hollybrook
Golf/tennis
2 bed.
516
641-7795
ConDominiumS
Bathurst/Sheppard.
Country feel ammenities.
B”H35
Hallandale
Intercoastal,
905 765-6141
foR
REnT
2foR
bth. REnT
Avail.Jan.15th
in the city, spacious, bright, clean convert.,
crn.unit acrs.
frm. bch. 2 bdr./2
2 mths 905-886-4858.
apt., renovated, quiet ravine set- min.
bath.min3mths.Nov-April/15.
Conservatory,
333 Clark, 3,000
190 vACATion
ting off main
street.
TTC. 2 bdrm. Boynton
Beach
Great
55+Condo,
Bathurst/Wilson,
1BR
160
iSRAEL
905
765-6141
s.f.,
3 bdrm.
renov.
PH,
3combath,
PRoPERTY
avail.
immed.,
1
bdrm.
avail.
Feb/
beautiful
3/bdrm
villa w/all
PKG,terrace.
LKR, W/D,
$1350+UTL.
3 4 C A RPRoPERTY
S C A D D E N D R I V E munity,
huge
Call
905-881-8380
AvAiLAbLE
Mar
Call
905-474-3600
or
416516 641-7795
(647) 960-2892
Bathurst/Sheppard.
Country feel ammenities.
foR REnT
638-6813.
in
the city, spacious, bright, clean Peaceful
160
iSRAEL
refuge
in the Galilee
75
APARTmEnTS
apt.,
renovated,
quiet 2ravine
of130
Moshav
Zippori. Ideal
PRoPERTY
In Jerusalem
luxury
yr oldsetapt. village190
vACATion
fLoRiDA
REnT
ting off main street. TTC. 2 bdrm. for familiesfoR
2 bedrooms+kitchPriv.
elevator,
5bdrm/3bath.
2
foR
REnT
PRoPERTY
avail. immed., 1 bdrm. avail. Feb/ e n e t t e . PRoPERTY
Swimming (Maybalconies,
overlooks the
city.
AvAiLAbLE
Mar
Call 905-474-3600
or 416foR
REnT
Spacious
2 bdrm.
+ 1 indoor
pkg.
October),
hiking,
biking,
horseIn Jerusalem
luxury
2 yr old
apt.
Pls call: 416-445-6438
638-6813.
back
riding.
Close
to
spot.
Brand
new
appliances,
pool/
270 www.twoneptune.ca
Peaceful
refuge
in everywhere
the Galilee
Priv.
elevator,
5bdrm/3bath.
2
Hollybrook
Golf/tennis
2
bed.
Frank
&Moshav
Elaine
Goldstein
fitness
Bath.
&
EglintonIdeal
area.
35 ConDominiumS
village
ofctre.
Zippori.
convert.,
2overlooks
bth.
Avail.Jan.15th
balconies,
the
city.
C
a
l
l
:
9
7
2
6
4
6
8
3
4
9
;
3
min
Glencairn subway.
foR REnT
for
families
2to905-886-4858.
bedrooms+kitchmin.
2walk
mths
Pls
call:
416-445-6438
www.cactustzimmer.com
parks,
shops,
Village
e Walk
n e t t eto
. S
wimm
ing (M
ayemail;
cactustzimmer
@gmail.com
Boynton
Beach biking,
Great
55+
comhiking,
horseConservatory, 343 Clark, indoor October),
Shul.
$1350/mo.
avail.
Sept.
munity,
beautiful
villa w/all
3 4 C A R S C A D D E N D R I V E back
riding.
Close3/bdrm
to everywhere
JODI PUDER
Happy Chanukah to All
35 ConDominiumS
foR REnT
34 CARSCADDEN DRIVE
Bathurst/Sheppard. Country feel
in the city, spacious, bright, clean
apt., renovated, quiet ravine setting off main street. TTC. 2 bdrm.
avail. immed., 1 bdrm. avail. Feb/
Mar Call 905-474-3600 or 416638-6813.
130 floriDa
property
for rent
Highest standards of care from
265 people
SearCh
Bored? over 75? looking for gin
rummy/poker players downtown.
contact Cari at 416-606-5898
ANDREW PLUM
FINE ASIAN ART & ANTIQUES
PURCHASING CHINESE,
Bored? over 75? lookingJAPANESE,
for gin
ASIAN ANTIQUES
Porcelain, Ceramics, Bronze, Jade & Coral
rummy/poker players downtown.
Carvings, Snuff Bottles, Ivory, CloisonnГ©,
paintings, etc. Over 35 years experience,
Beautiful 3 Bdrm Vacation Rental contact Cari at 416-606-5898
professional and courteous.
Call 24/7--365
days/yr
wanteD
homeTel:Boynton
Beach FL 55+
416-754-0700
Call: 416 669 1716
www.nhihealthcare.com
English
gentleman
w/reliable
Gate
guarded
all amenities
comcar & spare time will drive you
around
shops,
errands,
etc.
munity. to6 mo
min begin
12-1-14
Suits regular daily journeys. Book 300 ARTICLES FOR SALE
now,
limitedPERSonAL
spaces..
Call Lee’s
702-233-2711
[email protected]
275
445 moving
390 DRiving
general attendant care
to acute
injury care
245
employment
m Ave
Horsha
Ave
Terrace
Farrel
your
CJN
Boxenvelope.
#’s are valid
CJN Box
are valid
for 30#’sdays.
Bathurst /Briar Hill. Apt. for Rent, provide affordable high quality
for 30 days.
maid & janitorial services. For
priv. home, sep. entr., 2 bdrm,
details call 416-666-5570.
cable, hydro, yard, carpet, 2 prkg,
Classified
41
alarm, kosher kitchen. $950/mnth
265 people
305 ARTICLES WANTED
SearCh
305 ARTICLES FOR WANTED
Gr. flr, Avail. Mar 1. 416-781-2319
Harmonia Maid & Janitorial. We
provide affordable high quality
maid & janitorial services. For
details call 416-666-5570.
village of Moshav Zippori. Ideal
for
families 2 bedrooms+kitchBathurst/Wilson,
1BR Condo,
ePKG,
n e t t eLKR,
. S wW/D,
i m m i $1350+UTL.
ng (MayOctober),
hiking,
biking,
horse(647) 960-2892
back riding. Close to everywhere
Frank & Elaine Goldstein
C a l l : 9130
7 2 -fLoRiDA
646-8349;
www.cactustzimmer.com
PRoPERTY
email; cactustzimmer @gmail.com
250foR
DomESTiC
REnT
hELP
AvAiLAbLE
Hollybrook Golf/tennis 2 bed.
235 2buSinESS
convert.,
bth. Avail.Jan.15th
min. 2 mths
905-886-4858.
WAnTED
Boynton
Beach
Great 55+
comBathurst/Wilson, 1BR Condo, Del’s
Cleaning
Service,
we
clean
munity,
beautiful
3/bdrmaccountvilla w/all
CPA
seeking
to purchase
PKG, LKR, W/D, $1350+UTL. ing
condo’s,
offices,
houses
andbuyrenammenities.
641-7795
practice
in 516
GTA.
Serious
er. Email: [email protected]
(647) 960-2892
ovation clean up, after party clean,
190 vACATion
416-743-8155
250PRoPERTY
DomESTiC
130 fLoRiDA
PRoPERTY
foR REnT
hELP AvAiLAbLE
AvAiLAbLE
I can clean
your home and apt.
Peaceful
refuge
in the
Galilee
Del’s
Cleaning
Service,
clean
quickly
nicely.
Goodweprices.
village and
of
Moshav
Zippori.
Ideal
condo’s,
offices,
houses
and renfor
families
2
bedrooms+kitch250
DomESTiC
ovation
clean up, after party clean,
Call
647.867.6144.
enette. Swimming (May-
Peaceful refuge in the Galilee
village of Moshav Zippori. Ideal
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Q&A
T
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
Arieh King: redeeming the Land of Israel
Sheri Shefa
[email protected]
A
rieh King is a Jerusalem city councillor, director and founder of the Israel
Land Fund (ILF) and one of the 10 original residents of the Ma’ale Zeitim neighbourhood on the Mount of Olives, where
he lives with his wife and six children.
Through the ILF, King works to recover
and preserve Jewish land in east Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel. King is considered by some to be an expert on the
Mount of Olives and aims to block illegal
building in the area.
In advance of his Dec. 7 lecture at
Chabad at Flamingo, King spoke to The
CJN about the recent terrorist attacks in
Jerusalem and the current security challenges in the capital, as well as his vision
for the Holy City and how kidnap and
assassination attempts are not enough
to deter him from moving forward with
that vision.
Arieh King, Jerusalem city councillor and founder of the Israel Land Fund
What are your ambitions regarding
your work with the Israel Land Fund?
After working in the field of reclaiming
and purchasing land from non-Jews in Israel since 1997, after nine years, I understood… what the Arabs were doing. They
have a few funds and their goal is like that
of the Jewish National Fund, to buy the
land of Palestine for the Arab people, and
they bring in… millions of dollars every
year to buy land from Jews.
They are succeeding in the Galilee, in
Jerusalem, succeeding in buying not just
one house here and there – I’m talking
about neighbourhoods.
[The ILF isn’t doing] something new. We
are just continuing what we have been
doing for generations, which is buying
the Land of Israel. Because we have a
state, and a government, and police, so
what was obvious to do before 1948, Jews
stopped doing and now, Arabs are doing
what Jews did before 1948.
What is the message you’re bringing
to Canada’s Jewish community?
What’s happened and still happening in
Jerusalem in the last few months, [we
must understand] how we got to this
situation. During the election more than
a year ago, I said then that what we are
facing today was going to happen. It was
part of my election campaign, that if Israel, and the municipality of Jerusalem,
will not change its attitude to east Jerusalem, we will face a terrible security
situation, which is exactly what we are
facing in this wave [of terrorism]. We are
not over it.
The main thing is that Israel does not
I cannot accept that
the government of
Israel is freezing the
building for Jews
because they are Jews.
enforce the laws in east Jerusalem. This
is where everything started. You cannot
expect any human being that you are
educating for years that he can build illegally whenever he wants, he can drive
without a license, whenever and wherever he wants, he can steal electricity, he
can steal water, he can not pay taxes, and
this is today the situation and the reality
in east Jerusalem.
What can we expect from a child who
grows up to be 18 years old who was in
a school where the government sponsors
schools where teachers are teaching him
that there is no State of Israel, it is one
place called Palestine? And how can we
expect from these Arabs not to throw
stones on the people who stole their
land, according to what is being taught
at a school that we are sponsoring?
The main issue is that the government
of Israel and the municipality needs… to
enforce the law. I’m talking about every
law – parking, driving, taxes – every law.
Most of the Arabs in east Jerusalem, if
you will ask them one on one, they will
tell you that it would be a nightmare for
them for their neighbourhood to become
part of the Palestinian Authority…. Instead of strengthening these Arabs who
think like that, by not enforcing the laws,
we are allowing the anti-Israeli powers to
become stronger.
Your own home was the subject of an
attack?
Two and a half months ago, there was
an attempt to assassinate me, to kill me.
They shot [at my home], but I didn’t notice it, because it was during an evening
that they fired firecrackers.
The morning after this attack, my wife
went to do laundry, and she went to the
laundry machine and she found bullet
holes and the bullets on the floor. Then
we understood that the firecrackers were
a cover for someone. I was standing on
the balcony during the firecrackers, but
thank God, they didn’t [shoot me].
Aren’t you scared?
Of course I am. In 1999, there was an attempt to kidnap me in a neighbourhood
called Abu Dis in east Jerusalem.
I got a report from a resident from
Ma’ale Adumim… that he saw Palestinian
police in uniform and with weapons in a
part of Jerusalem, so I went there… with
a video camera, and I saw 26 policemen,
walking… in Jerusalem… so I convinced
[a government] minister to come, and
with them came the media, and they saw
that the Arabs were inside Jerusalem, so
the army came and took six of them out,
but I said, I have video of 26 of them, why
are you only taking six out?
I went looking for them, and when I
found them, they gathered around my
car… They broke into the car, and they
asked me to come out. They wanted to
take me to Jericho, so what I did was took
their officer hostage, and I had my own
pistol.
I took him in my car, and I had my pistol to his head, and they were surrounding my car, and after 45 minutes… a Palestinian policeman, who was involved in
removing the six other policemen told
them to leave… I told him I would take
the guy who was in my car until I got to a
curve in the road where he could not see
me, and that’s what happened.
Since then, I’ve been much more aware
about what is happening. When we found
the bullets in my house and when they
attempted to assassinate [my friend and
colleague Rabbi] Yehuda Glick, so I’m
much more aware. I need to check my car
every day… and do things that the police
gave me instructions to do.
This doesn’t deter you?
I cannot allow myself [to be deterred],
until the government or the municipality
of Jerusalem will not take it as their own
project, to do what I’m doing, redeeming
the land. There is no other choice. Of
course, you need to be careful. I do not
go into Arab areas like I did before. Now
I’m taking more steps to secure myself.
What is your vision for Jerusalem in
the next 10 years?
I want to see that there will be no difference between east and west Jerusalem
– meaning, the same freedom of movement that Jews have in west Jerusalem
and the same freedom of movement that
Arabs in west Jerusalem, I want to see
Jews have in east Jerusalem. I want to
see the same rights that the Arabs have,
I want to see the Jews have.
I cannot accept that the government
of Israel is freezing the building for Jews
because they are Jews. There are areas
in Jerusalem… where Arabs can submit
plans and build, but Jews cannot. Jews
who are living in the United States, in
Canada, cannot build because they are
Jews.
If you ask what my vision is… the development, the road development, light
infrastructure, sewage, electricity –
everything will be equal in the east and
the west. This is my vision. n
THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS December 18, 2014
43
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Let your heart be contrite
Backstory
Jonathan L. Milevsky
A
s the holiday season approaches, one
can already hear the predictable fever
pitch of pundits on both sides of the “war
on Christmas.” Jews are often caught in
the middle of the Scylla and Charybdis of
this struggle.
On the one hand, for the sake of darchei
shalom, the ways of peace, we accept it if
Chanukah gets pushed to the sidelines,
but there is also a required element of
pirsumei nisah, the promulgating of the
miracle, which is lost as a result.
On the other hand, we don’t want to
be too forceful in promoting the holiday.
We are aware of the resentment that can
come from this type of approach. What is
needed, then, is some common ground
that represents a way out of this struggle.
Surprisingly, the common ground is
the call to repentance at this time of year,
found in the intellectual history of both
religious traditions.
In chassidic thought, this is a very strong
theme. Chanukah is seen as an extension of
the High Holidays and the time when our
fates are finally sealed. It is seen as a time
for renewal, a concept that connects to the
new month that comes during the holiday
and the midrashic idea that the placing of
the month was one of the points to which
the Greeks objected, and it is perceived as a
time that hints at God’s forgiveness.
These ideas are found in the literature
of the Lubavitch, Sanz and Karlin dynasties, among others. The idea is also found
in Moses Chaim Luzzatto’s Way of God, in
which he calls the Hasmonean victory a
“return” to Torah and worship. Moreover,
the link to forgiveness can be seen in Rabbi
Shlomo Yitshaki’s prayer book. There, Rashi
explains that the reason the portion read in
synagogue on Chanukah relates to the gifts
of the princes is that it was the commandment to build the Tabernacle that assured
Moses he was forgiven (according to several midrashim, the Tabernacle was complete on the 25th day of Kislev, the first day
of Chanukah, but was only consecrated at
the beginning of Nisan.)
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Perhaps underlying this link to forgiveness is the slight element of solemnity on
Chanukah. Unlike the festival of Purim,
there were no festive meals instituted on
Chanukah. For this reason, Rabbi Meir
of Rothenburg (13th century) says meals
that celebrate Chanukah do not have the
status of a seudat mitzvah, a meal that
celebrates the fulfilment of a commandment. This idea is echoed by Rabbi Mordechai Yaffeh (16th century), who says
that, unlike Purim, Jewish lives were not in
danger during Chanukah. The only threat
was that Jews would turn away from their
faith, and their military success prevented
that from happening. Thus, the holiday
is one that commemorates the Hasmoneans’ submission to God.
The idea of forgiveness is also found in
relation to the Christmas season. For example, as American author B.D. Forbes
has noted, the Puritan English Parliament
in 1644 declared the holiday a day of penance instead of a feast day. Dietrich Bonhoffer, a German theologian at the turn
of the 20th century, repeats this idea and
says Christmas is a time for repentance,
not rejoicing. Moreover, German author
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Jonathan L. Milevsky is a PhD candidate
at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
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prior to the date
of the unveiling.
Carolyn Feldstein
Lola Akerman
Jerry Van
Tikvah Weis
Sydney Jacobs
Leon Kaminsky
Fanny Altro
Christoph Dohmen suggests that there
is even a similarity between the liturgy of
Christmas and that of Yom Kippur.
In an interesting conceptual parallel, the
call for repentance comes against a backdrop of a recognition of the seriousness of
the holiday. Pope Leo (fifth century) saw
the holiday as a time for reflection, not for
“dull carnal joy.” Indeed, even gift-giving
could be seen in this context. As American
management Prof. Jean M. Bartunek and
student Boram Do demonstrate, framing
the consumerism of the holiday as profane
is a misrepresentation. Bartunek and Do
say the practice of gift-giving was originally associated with charity, a way of thinking about those who are less fortunate, and
that it had the benefit of preventing rowdiness by keeping people off the streets.
Now, I am not saying either holiday
should be celebrated any differently than
it has been, nor am I promoting syncretism. All I am saying is that there is a basis
for common ground, and that should be
emphasized at this time of year. n
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THE CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS
December 18, 2014
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