As a native Calgarian who was actively involved in Canadian Jewish life in both Calgary and Toronto for more than 30 years before making aliyah in 1991, I am writing to you as a concerned Israeli mindful of the love, the work and support that the Canadian Jewish community has always had for Israel.
Last week, students at Tel Aviv University marked Nakba (catastrophe) Day – the date on the Gregorian calendar when Israel achieved statehood in 1948 – with an approved campus ceremony. Like many of us here, I hope that Canadians who support Tel Aviv U will make it known, as have members of Israel’s Knesset, that it is disgraceful that such an event was held. This was an offence to Israel and its sovereignty. The university management should have cancelled the event. I hope that Canadians who financially support Tel Aviv U will voice their lack of support for such an event.
Rena Dvorkin Cohen,
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Parents sacrifice for day school (1)
As a 15-year-old Jewish day school student, I see the sacrifices parents make in order to provide their children with Jewish day school education (“Day school parents feel the tuition pinch,” Live and Learn, March 8). A Jewish day school allows its students to develop their Jewish values and identity while still integrating a general studies curriculum. In addition, it maintains and gives a sense of community. Sadly, many parents turn to public schools due to the financial weight that a Jewish day school comes with. Parents are feeling burdened by the expensive Jewish day school tuition and are aggravated that nothing is being done by the leaders of our community.
It is completely unjust that the Ontario government is funding private Catholic schools, but still provides no funding for Jewish day schools. The lack of government funds forces parents to pay expensive tuitions, while at the same time paying for public schools through taxes. If funding for Jewish day school is not provided, then funding of all private schools should be cancelled. The situation is leaving parents with a hard choice – go into debt to send your children to Jewish day school or risk weakening an already threatened community.
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Parents sacrifice for day school (2)
I was assigned to write a letter to the editor for my Grade 10 civics class, and while searching for an article to reply to, I stumbled across “Day school parents feel the tuition pinch” (Live and Learn, March 8). As a Jewish high school student whose parents make great sacrifices to send me to a day school, I find it very upsetting that the Ontario government has been paying full tuition for the education of Catholic religious students but not for Jewish schools. Many Jewish parents are struggling to keep their children in the Jewish day school system because of the rising tuition costs. Day school students benefit from positive influences that guarantee the next generation will grow up with strong, religious values. In a world with growing distractions, this is vital.
If the government refuses to fund the full cost of a private, religious school, then the least they can do is fund the general Ministry of Education courses within the private school curriculum. As it stands now, Jewish parents’ hard-earned money is going toward the education of other religious students. If the government was to begin funding other religious schools, then many Jewish students whose families cannot afford the outrageous tuition prices would finally be able to receive a Jewish education
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Jonathan Pollard has been in jail for 27 years for passing classified information to an ally during peacetime, an offence that has historically garnered an average sentence of two to four years. Jews and non-Jews alike must not rest until Pollard is free. Let us not forget that Pollard’s actions, although illegal, were guided solely by a genuine concern for Israeli security. He has expressed remorse and overpaid his debt to society.
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JPPS known for warmth, academic achievement
As a teacher, parent and sister of graduates of Jewish People’s and Peretz Schools, it warms my heart to read Leslie Solomon’s letter “Children thrive at JPPS” (May 17). Our school has always been known for its warmth and concern for the whole child and its continual excellence in academic achievement. Despite the unfortunate unfavourable PR that has been circulating lately, I am witness to the fact that our school remains successful in its goals whatever the circumstances. Our teachers are not depressed. Our teachers are not discouraged. Our teachers are ready and eager and enthusiastic to continue the joy we take in educating our students.
Cote St. Luc, Que.
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Donate blacksmith’s tongs to Yad Vashem
I read the article “Warsaw museum to document Polish Jewry” (May 3) about the tongs that Stanley Diamond acquired in the late 1990s from the elderly blacksmith Czeslaw Szymanski from Poreba, Poland, an apprentice to Moszek Widelec (1908-1941), a blacksmith who was shot by the Germans while trying to smuggle food into the Warsaw Ghetto. Widelec was Diamond’s father’s first cousin. Diamond wanted to give the tongs to the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum, but their space is limited, so he will give them to Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which will use them to illustrate the story of the vanished Jewish life of Poreba. Why not give them to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, where so many tourists come from everywhere? The information about the tongs should include the following: “Before World War II, there were many Jewish blacksmiths in Poland.” I think Yad Vashem is more important than the museum in Poland.
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Dismantle Jewish settlements?
Tamara Micner invokes the golden rule in listing her menu of what constitutes all that is fair and equitable in a just society (“Leave vengeance to a higher power,” Letters, April 19). Among the platitudes and generalities, she makes reference to one very specific injustice that appears on her moral compass. She wants a discussion on “dismantling the Jewish settlements in the West Bank” to take place. Although she lectures us on treating one another as we want to be treated, dismantling the homes of 300,000 people and the effect it would have on these families does not disturb her.
Possibly, she would do well to read the article “Arab who sold property to Jews sentenced to death,” which happens to appear in the same issue as her letter. No place on earth should be declared Judenrein, least of all the West Bank.
Cote St. Luc, Que.