Week of May 15
Hello from Halifax
I would like to thank Ralph and Shirlee Medjuck and the Atlantic Jewish Council for arranging subscriptions for Atlantic Canada. It’s so great to feel plugged into the rest of Jewish Canada and to see some content from our neck of the woods. The content is fresh and interesting and there is always something great to read. Thanks!
Breaking the silence
It felt very gratifying to light the sixth candle in honour of the gay and disabled victims of the Holocaust at the Yom Hashoah Community Commemoration in Toronto.
For many years, the gay experience in the Holocaust was characterized in German as “Totgeschlagen, totgeschwiegen” (beaten to death, silenced). Today, that silence is being broken, and Kulanu Toronto is proud that Toronto is helping to break that silence. It is our community’s duty to remember all those who perished in the Holocaust, including those who were branded by the pink triangle.
In defense of Yiddish
The word vinkl in Yiddish means corner. It breaks my heart to think that the new CJN doesn’t have a corner for Yiddish speakers and readers, most of whom are CJN subscribers. And you’ve canned Hebrew, too.
So, in exiling Yiddish and Hebrew from your pages, you are exiling the base of modern Jewish identity in order to gain what? Will it strengthen the belonging of the young and slow down their assimilation?
Some may say that as a former writer for The CJN who has been left in the vinkl, my comments may be sour grapes. I hope that is not so. The CJN has the marvellous opportunity of reaching out to the many cultural and religious voices that exist in Canadian Jewry – and grabbing the younger audience in all its variety. Showing that different Jewish voices can peacefully play in the same sandbox is one way of helping our young people stay with us.
I think we all have to remember that as a community we are part of a goldene keyt, a golden chain of culture that links past to present religiously, and secularly. The strength in the chain is in the tension of both parts of our Jewish expression.
Rethinking BDS protest
Thank you for publishing my letter (“BDS: A prof’s response,” The CJN, April 24).
I think some clarification is needed though. The more I thought about the issue the more I realized that “working to rule” could also punish those who do not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.
I have come up with a more targeted approach, and one that is currently being considered by an international professional academic body. I have decided to place a sign on my door, and am urging like-minded academics to do the same, where the sign clarifies my affiliation with Tel Aviv University and for supporters of the BDS campaign to take note of my affiliation. I go on to state that they can take whatever action they deem appropriate, meaning that they can turn around and not work with me (i.e. boycott me) or perhaps rethink their support of the BDS campaign and continue to work with me.
This will target BDS supporters while not affecting those who are against the BDS campaign or otherwise just do not support BDS campaigns on campus.
I hope that this idea catches on. Even those who might not be affiliated directly with an Israeli university or organization can indicate that they might collaborate with such groups or individual professors, or that their offices are “BDS-Free Zones.”
Looking for S. Pasternak
A friend from Poland asked me to find Szymon Pasternak, who was saved during World War II by his neighbour.
The last letter that was received from Mr. Pasternak came in 1989 from 556 Coldstream Ave., Toronto.
The previous family name of Pasternak was Czarnaczapka, and he lived in Kosemino and then moved to Siemitkowo.
Please help me to find the person, if he is still alive, or his relatives.
25 Ankor St.