The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Friday, August 29, 2014

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Assad champions human rights

Tags: Letters

It seems as if the entire world watches and observes on a daily basis the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Bashar Assad regime. The one exception is the United Nations and its associated body, the Human Rights Council (HRC), where there is an inability and an unwillingness to condemn the Syrian government for the atrocities being committed over the past year. To add to this absurd situation, is the fact that on March 23, the HRC formulated a resolution denouncing Israel for alleged violations of human rights on the Golan Heights. The issue was brought before the council by a representative of the Assad regime. This, while more than 8,000 Syrians have been murdered by Syrian government forces and tens of thousands of Syrians have sought refugee status and asylum in Israel’s Golan Heights. It should be noted that 55 per cent of the members of the HRC are Muslim countries. The membership includes Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Cuba, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, Djibouti, Senegal, Mauritania, Malaysia and Russia. Of course, it is universally recognized that these countries are the bastions and protectors of human rights within their own countries.

Bert Raphael

Thornhill, Ont.

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Author rejected chassidic roots


I was greatly saddened by the article “Breaking away from the Satmar” (March 29), about Deborah Feldman’s bestselling book, Unorthodox, in which she chronicles her rejection of the Satmar world of her childhood and embracement of secularism. Orthodox Judaism encompasses a spectrum of philosophies and lifestyles. While, arguably, the Satmar represent one extreme, there are multiple Orthodox communities in which one does not encounter primitive “gender roles, restrictions in education, racism, homophobia [and] anti-Zionism.” It is a pity that Feldman thought she had to become completely secular in order to “achieve authenticity and self-determination.” One can enjoy the richness of secular culture, embrace diversity and find fulfilment as a woman in horizons beyond one’s home and community, while still keeping the beautiful, daily rituals that have preserved Judaism throughout the ages and serve as a constant reminder that we are beings created in God’s image and must behave accordingly.

Ellen Warner


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More on Schwartz’s


I found the article “Landmark deli Schwartz’s enters new era” (March 15) very interesting and thought I would add my two cents’ worth to the history of Schwartz’s. Seventy-eight years ago, I was a student at Devonshire Public School, in Montreal. My parents owned a lunchroom, but every Friday my mother gave me 15 cents to have lunch out. As soon as the lunch bell rang, I would dash out to the Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, where I enjoyed a smoked meat sandwich and a Coke. The article is correct – the deli was owned by Reuben Schwartz. It consisted of a store with four tables. At the time, there was another deli owned by a Mr. Schwartz, where Schwartz’s is now. I don’t know the reason for his leaving the store, but that is when Mr. Reuben moved to the present location and the legacy of Schwartz’s began.

Sol Cartman

Cote St. Luc, Que.

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Teaching the Holocaust


I strongly commend the efforts of the Holocaust Museum Houston in running the Butterfly Project (“Butterfly Project recalls children killed in Shoah,” Feb. 24). Working with survivors and volunteers to gather 1.5 million butterflies to commemorate the deaths of the 1.5 million children who were murdered in the Shoah is an important mission. As a 15-year-old history student who is learning about World War II, I realize the importance of carrying on the memories of the Holocaust. It shocks me that there are young people whose knowledge of the Holocaust is limited, and the steps that the Butterfly Project is taking to change that are truly remarkable. It infuriates me when people claim that the Holocaust is old news and that Jews should stop making a fuss over it. Not only is the Shoah still relevant to genocide that is occurring today, but it is an event that will forever mark the history of humanity. We cannot let it fade out of our hearts and minds or risk this type of event occurring again.

Esther Blinick



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