Letters: Week of October 31
Remember the FSU Shoah survivors
It is as though the Iron Curtain was never lifted. Another year, another Holocaust Education Week (HEW) in the offing, another lost opportunity for it to bring its formidable expertise to examine the fate of tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors still living in countries of the former Soviet Union.
Surely this vast constituency is worthy of study, and not only objectively as a scholarly inquiry, but subjectively to explore the puzzling paradox of a caring people who neglect their own.
Our lack of engagement personally and communally with them is an issue we should confront now, while they are still with us.
Overwhelmingly we bundle these survivors with the needy poor, a catch-all that dodges their status as a people whose plight is a direct result of what we absolutely and directly share with them: being Jews.
May the next HEW conference include the survivors living in the former Soviet Union in its scholarly embrace. No longer out of reach, behind an Iron Curtain that’s no longer there, these patient people have been waiting to tell their stories.
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Library exhibit was a success
The Hamilton Public Library’s recent exhibit showcasing two of Israel’s charitable programs with an international reach that have benevolently touched the lives of so many, without regard for race, religion or nationality, were motivated only by an unconditional desire to help those who face the darkest moments of their lives (“Exhibit caused too much damage,” Letters, The CJN, Oct. 17).
As members of Hamilton Jewish Federation’s public relations committee, which helped put on the exhibit, my colleagues and I are well aware of one repeated criticism of the federation and of library officials regarding the initiatives we took related to last year’s Gaza exhibit and our subsequent recent library exhibit. However, it is important to be aware that this isolated complaint stands alone against a backdrop of overwhelming support and accolades received from so many in our Jewish community, and from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
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We must speak with unity
I concur with Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CEO Shimon Fogel when he says, “We can’t have it both ways” (The CJN, Oct. 3). Truer and more important words have never been uttered.
We should have it one way – meaning, that the Jewish community from the grassroots level and up should speak with one united voice, at least on major issues.
Too often, most dedicated groups, selfless and tireless individuals and small organizations are seeking guidance, struggling for much-needed support from the mainstream organizations, when taking a stand, whether by open protest or lectures, are ignored, alienated and barely listened to.
We are fortunate to have the Stephen Harper government on our side, but in many cases we must fend for our own interests, i.e., combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, Israeli Apartheid Week, and the demonization of Israel in the media, academia and some religious institutions.
We, the Jewish People, must take a united stand and act and speak with one voice, at least on issues of major concern for all of us.
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Parents do not become children
We do not become parents to our parents (“Parenting the parent,” The CJN, Oct. 10).
We do not reduce them to children. We remain the children and they the parents, regardless of their infirmities. The role we adult children take on is filial maturity.
The Torah tells us to honour our parents and not to consider them as burdens. This is not the Jewish way of behaving. Honour thy mother and father.
When life does not go the way we want it to, it does not mean that life is not fair. Life is full of ups and downs, and God is not in the business of what is fair, not fair or unjust. He gives us life and we are responsible for doing good.
Just live and do the best you can with what you have been given.
Etta Ginsberg McEwan