Withholding support to universities
When I received the annual call for pledges to continue to support three Canadian universities, I had this to say: “I will resume my support when I see the development of a policy ensuring that your university will no longer hide behind free speech in order to allow propaganda against the State of Israel and intimidation of Jewish students.”
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Marriages at the temple
In the article “New Montreal rabbi hopes to ‘open doors’” (March 8), on the hiring of Reform Rabbi Lisa Grushcow at Montreal’s Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Janice Arnold writes that the temple allows same-sex and interfaith marriages to be performed there, if there is a commitment to create a Jewish home. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Reform movement’s rabbinical association in North America, has consistently opposed interfaith marriage (intermarriage). In their journal American Reform Responsa (Vol. XC, 1980) on the topic Reform Judaism and Mixed Marriage, they quote a resolution passed in Atlanta in 1973 that reads: “The Central Conference of American Rabbis recalling its stand in 1909 that mixed marriage is contrary to Jewish tradition and should be discouraged, now declares its opposition to participation by its members in any ceremony which solemnizes a mixed marriage.”
In performing interfaith marriages, Temple Emanu-El goes against the Reform movement’s own stance on this issue. In a National Jewish Population Survey in 2000, by Antony Gordon and Richard Horowitz, it was shown that 53 per cent of young Jews belonging to the Reform movement marry out. With such an attitude toward intermarriage, is it any wonder?
Rabbi Mordechai Bulua
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Regarding the article “Beth Tikvah implements Torah egalitarianism” (Feb. 16), to be precise, Beth Tikvah Synagogue has marked Shabbat morning bnot mitzvah during the Torah service since the congregation’s inception. A bat mitzvah chanted the Haftorah and its accompanying blessings but did not receive an aliyah. Her father received the Maftir Aliyah at the Torah. Secondly, with kudos to Betty Rumberg, the first non-bat mitzvah adult woman to receive an aliyah at the Torah at Beth Tikvah was Gail Sandler, following the promise of a woman receiving an aliyah at the Torah on a donation dare from the rabbi during the Yom Kippur War. The promise was fulfilled.
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Remembering the Struma
On Feb. 24, Romania paid homage to the 768 Romanian Jews who lost their lives 70 years ago trying to escape war-torn Europe for British-mandated Palestine on board the ill-fated SS Struma, which was sunk by a Soviet submarine in the Black Sea. However, Romania still has far to go to atone for its crimes against humanity during that dark period of our history. During World War II, the pro-Nazi, fascist and antisemitic regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu was directly involved in the murder of as many as 400,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children in Romania and throughout Ukraine and Moldova. Romania has yet to officially acknowledge, apologize and/or offer reparations of any kind for its past heinous and barbaric behaviour toward the Jewish People. Perhaps, it’s about time that it did.
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I read Ellen Weiser’s article “Memories of old Toronto” with a smile on my face (March 8, cjnews.com). Taking a walk down gastro memory lane warmed my heart. I lived just north of Wilson and Bathurst, so we didn’t share all the same eating experiences, but my favourite by far was Basil’s Restaurant. Every Sunday night, my dad would drive down Avenue Road to University Avenue, turn left on to Gerrard Street, and always find a free parking spot, and I do mean free. We would patiently wait in the line until the maitre d’ called the infamous “party of four” before we were seated in the best booths in the city. My meal was always the hamburger special, with chocolate cream pie for dessert. Weiser was right on with the rice pudding for the parents. Thanks for bringing back this wonderful memory for a native Torontonian.
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Novels about Shanghai
Regarding the article “Hollywood courts local thriller writer” (Feb. 16), on David Rotenberg’s new book, The Placebo Effect, it is noted that that Rotenberg also wrote Shanghai: The Ivory Compact, a historical novel about the city. Kindly note that in 2011, the Vancouver writer Daniel Kalla wrote an excellent novel on Shanghai during World War II called The Far Side of the Sky.