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The Canadian Jeiwsh News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Creative matchmaking

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It was Oct. 30, 1971. I was 13 years old, and I was about to lose something I enjoyed every day. The folding of the Toronto Telegram was my first exposure to the end of a newspaper. And now, almost 42 years later, we are about to lose something unique: The CJN. 

I experienced the biggest laugh of my life while watching the 1982 movie Airplane II. One of the characters was talking about something important that was in all the papers – the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Canadian Jewish News. The CJN had made it to mainstream Hollywood.

In my university days, I wrote for, and was co-editor of, the Jewish student newspaper, Images, a joint effort of Jewish students from the University of Toronto and York University. Secretly, I had a desire to write for The CJN.

In the summer of 2010, CJN editor Mordechai Ben-Dat was looking for something a bit different for a monthly column to occupy the inside back page of the paper. I spoke to him about the topic of the environment and sustainability, and from that conversation, the Sustainable Jew was born.

When the column started to appear on a regular basis in January 2011, my hope was that by facilitating a better understanding of the various sources of greenhouse gas pollution, the column would inspire personal, community and business action toward becoming “Sustainable Jews.”

Over the last 2-1/2 years, I wrote about various aspects of sustainability.

I shared stories with you about many interesting people with diverse experiences and backgrounds, in our community and in Israel.

I spoke on the topic of sustainability at a number of local Jewish day schools, and watched as students and staff of these schools worked together to bring new ideas forward and tried to make a difference to our world.

Some synagogues began to take action on sustainability. Some looked at ways to generate money by taking advantage of the then-lucrative solar-energy programs offered by the Ontario government. Other synagogues and organizations began to look at their own operations and found ways to reduce energy consumption and hold the line on cost increases as energy rates fluctuated. 

 Another new opportunity is about to open through creative matchmaking. I recently attended a session, sponsored by the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Fund, which brought together representatives from the Canadian oil sands industry and representatives selected Israeli companies with expertise in treating wastewater and other byproducts of the resource extraction process. The opportunity to improve our world is enormous.

The end of The CJN will save trees and the energy used to create new and recycled newsprint. But The CJN’s ability to inform and engage the community will be missed.

I want to thank my family, my loyal readers and Mordechai for the opportunity to write for paper. May we continue this journey for tikkun olam in the electronic edition of The CJN or its eventual successor.

Winegust@gmail.com

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