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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Rabbi protests charter with ‘Quebec kippah’

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MONTREAL — Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, director of Chabad of NDG, has come up with an imaginative way of peacefully protesting Bill 60, the proposed charter of Quebec values: “the Quebec kippah.”

The cap is festooned with the province’s blue-and-white Fleur-de-lis flags.

“It’s selling really well,” said Rabbi Bernath. Available at qkippa.com, they cost $10 each. Handmade in Quebec, a limited run of 400 is available, each individually numbered.

Rabbi Schachar Orenstein of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue is one of the enthusiastic customers, and has made a point of wearing one on his visits to hospitals.

“I bought 60 and distributed them to my congregation. Many doctors at the Jewish [General Hospital] are wearing them. If I had the budget, I would purchase for the entire hospital staff,” he emailed.

“I like to think of it as the Marois protest kippah and would like to see if the government will force people to take off the Quebec kippah.”

Another Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Dovid Weinbaum, is putting up a spiritual resistance to the charter.

The program director of Living Legacy said the “Share the Light for Religious Freedom” campaign coinciding with Chanukah is meant to dispel the “gloom and despondency” the bill is creating among people of all faiths.

A law that “seeks to curb religious freedom adds to the darkness” in the world, he said.

“The festival commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Greeks,” he explained. “While the Greeks were happy for the Jews to live in Israel, they did not want them to practise their religion –sound familiar?”

The organization is encouraging everyone to perform a mitzvah, no matter how small, in the belief that such collective action may generate “a glorious floodlight that will show Quebec as a beacon of religious tolerance in an increasingly dark world.”

A number of community and civic leaders, Jewish and non-Jewish, have been invited to lead the way by declaring they will do a good deed, including Anthony Housefather and William Steinberg. The mayors, respectively, of Côte St. Luc and Hampstead appear in a video that is to be posted on YouTube.

The campaign is being run in conjunction with the YM-YWHA, where Living Legacy sets up its Chanukah Wonderland installation for children each year.

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