Week of June 12
Times are changing
I read with great interest the article written by Talia Soberano (“The Inclusion Project,” The CJN, May 22).
Times have changed with help coming from many sources. A child with a learning disability has a good chance to succeed in life.
I was also told to leave school and became a server or cleaning woman. That was 60 years ago, and I definitely fell through the cracks.
My late husband and children helped me get through many difficult years, with my math, writing and reading skills. Organizations like Literacy Unlimited helped me much later in life. I only wish there were the resources around when I was growing up. Bravo Talia Soberano.
Dollard des Ormeaux, Que.
Rudeness and tolerance
The May 29 Rabbi 2 Rabbi column (“Testing the limits of tolerance”) leads me to the following conclusions.
Firstly, Jews on the far right are not taught tolerance. (I say this at the risk of some controversy). By definition, their beliefs are at the extreme, radical end of the spectrum and for self-sustainability alone, their pronouncements cannot afford officially to recognize Jews located elsewhere on the spectrum.
Modern Orthodoxy seems to have figured it out. I have seen no evidence of intolerance here. Modern Orthodox Jews I know attend celebrations or funerals and shivahs wherever necessary and work in Conservative shuls and teach in mixed environments, with a kippah the only obvious, visible evidence of their affiliation.
The “New York Times man” was a rude, ignorant and inconsiderate individual who just happened to be observant as well. I cannot imagine any other Orthodox individual who would condone such conduct.
Recognizing Herb Gray
I was saddened to read Michael Taube’s apologia for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s poor decision not to grant Herb Gray a state funeral (“Why Herb Gray didn’t have a state funeral,” The CJN,
Taube defends the prime minister by denigrating Gray’s accomplishments and suggesting that Gray’s Jewishness was a factor – which he dismissed – in considering whether to grant him a state funeral.
The Jewish community is rightly proud of Gray’s accomplishments, but this is hardly the reason why he should have been granted a state funeral. Taube’s suggestion to this effect smacks of tokenism.
Gray served the people of Windsor and of Canada with dedication, desire and with wit for more than four decades. He was a role model and a mentor to many Canadians, attracting many into public life.
He practised politics of a different sort than those of today. If you want to know why he deserved a state funeral, read the tributes by ordinary Canadians to him in the pages of Canada’s newspapers. That the Governor General of Canada, the Chief Justice of Canada and four former prime ministers, including Progressive Conservative Joe Clark chose to attend his funeral, and the prime minister and leading figures in the Conservative Party did not, speaks for itself.
Harper had an opportunity to make a generous and statesmanlike decision. Instead, he chose the path of partisanship.
Vice-Dean research, Faculty of Law
University of Ottawa
Expressing offensive views
In speaking about Donald Sterling (“Public punishment for private views,” The CJN, May 22), Rabbi Jay Kelman says that stripping a person of some of his property for his views is “excessive punishment” and that Jewish law punishes only for actions, not for thoughts. I believe this is a misreading of the intent of the Torah.
Jews are supposed to be “a light unto the nations.” Jews should have immediately chastised Sterling, not for his views, but for expressing those views. Expressing views is a damaging action – as is a refusal to rent to blacks.
In doing nothing, as Rabbi Kelman suggests, Jews and Judaism become culpable partners. Judaism requires action, not only thought. Protection of Sterling, one of our own, is not what I would consider to be a proper result of Torah study. Punishment should follow public or private speech. n