Week of February 13
A BDS ‘compromise’
A recent story (“Where’s the line in campus debates about Israel?” The CJN, Feb. 6) reported about a controversy within Hillel about its decision to disallow Jewish organizations that support the boycott of Israel, or at least Israeli “settlement” products and services, from using Hillel as a platform.
May I suggest a compromise? Hillel should allow these organizations to express their views as long as they simultaneously oppose the Palestinian fiction of “right” of return and demand that the Palestinians remove Jew- and Israeli-hatred from their educational curricula.
Ukraine’s fight concerns us all
I am a longtime subscriber with a serious interest in politics, both Canadian and international. I have been consumed with the events in Ukraine since November, not only because my paternal ancestors lived there, but also because of its active fight for democracy. I have been disappointed to see that Canadian Jewish News has ignored this story.
I believe Ukraine has significance for Jews, not only for those who live there, but for those of us who hate totalitarian or anti-democratic regimes. If the Jewish community in Canada does not see the need to show an interest in Ukraine, may I suggest that they read “An Open Address to the Jews of the World,” by the Jewish historian Vitaliy Nakhmanovich, which was recently published by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress: http://eajc.org/page34/news43050.html.
The meaning of ‘never again’
Avrum Rosensweig asks whether “never again” has an expiration date (“An expiry date for ‘never again’? The CJN, Feb. 6).
The answer is, yes it does.
“Never again” will expire when decent, good-intentioned people distort its purpose and meaning for political aims. Rosensweig urges us “to re-embrace our commitment to ‘never again,’” particularly toward refugee claimants to Canada, who are “regularly turned away from our hospitals, and more, seriously, our shores.”
Rosensweig should know that “never again” was our vow to never again permit the enemies of the Jewish People to succeed in the vilest expression of their hatred. “Never again” had nothing whatsoever to do with the issues Rosensweig cites, as justifiable as they may be, regarding our present Canadian government policies.
Cote St. Luc, Que.
A prayer for the Queen
I was fascinated to read Rabbi Philip Scheim’s column (“We have truly come a long way,” The CJN, Feb 6) about saying prayers on Shabbat for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The problem is that Harper is not the head of state, the Queen is, as you will see if you look at Canadian coins and stamps. For this reason, the Kiever shul in Toronto uses the form of prayer, standard throughout the British Commonwealth, which refers to the Queen, not Harper. This usage was formerly common throughout Canada, but dropped out of use in recent years. There is a halachic opinion that since the Queen is only a constitutional monarch, she has no power and, therefore, is not worth praying for, but the fact remains that all acts of Parliament have to be signed by her or her proxy, the governor general. The advantage of praying for the Queen is that you can still pray for the welfare of Canada, regardless of who you vote for.
Trip to Sighet
The municipality of Sighet–Maramorish, Romania, and the Sighet Jewish community is planning memorial ceremonies from May 16 to 20 to commemorate the deportations of the Jews from Sighet during World War II. There will be opportunities to visit the local Jewish cemetery, archives and walk in the footsteps of your ancestors. An exhibit will be launched and we are looking for pictures prewar and postwar, as well books, memoirs or research papers. For more information, please email Peninah Zilberman at email@example.com, or call 416-781-0330.