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March 27, 2008

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Card Issue Dropped

OTTAWA — The federal privacy commissioner has ended her investigation into Rosh Hashanah greetings sent by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to people with Jewish-sounding last names. Jennifer Stoddardt said she dropped the matter because political parties aren’t covered by federal privacy laws, Canadian Press reported. Some Jews complained last fall that they received the cards at home and wondered how Harper got their names and knew they’re Jewish. Others got cards despite being gentiles. Stoddardt said she’ll probe how parties handle personal data and advise Ottawa on changes to the Privacy Act.

CJC In Swastika Flap

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. — Canadian Jewish Congress says it was only seeking information when it wrote recently to Kirkland Lake, Ont.’s town council about the name of the town’s Swastika Avenue. CJC director of community relations, Wendy Lampert, said she wrote council after a “community member” raised the issue with CJC, the Kirkland Lake Northern News reported. She asked why council reportedly chose in 1998 to name the street after the infamous Nazi symbol. The town said the name was actually chosen in 1911, years before World War II, and that Swastika, a village  that’s now part of Kirkland Lake, is 100 years old this year. Lampert said she considers the matter closed.

Cash To Hospital

TORONTO — Walter Arbib, CEO and co-founder of Toronto’s Skylink Aviation, gave $300,000 to a West Bank hospital for needy mothers and their babies, in order to “further the possibility of peace,” he told the Globe and Mail last week. The Tunis-born Israeli-Canadian gave the money to Bethlehem’s Holy Family Hospital, which provides low-cost obstetrical care. It’s Arbib’s second donation in the West Bank.

Rabbi To Get Degree

TORONTO — Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, the rabbinic director of Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish learning and the first female rabbi in Toronto, will be given an honorary doctorate of divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on April 30 in New York, Kolel announced last week. The honour recognizes her 25 years in the active rabbinate.

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