Harper no defender of birds
Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserves many of the accolades bestowed upon him at the recent Jewish National Fund Negev dinner for his support of Israel (“Harper announces first trip to Israel,” The CJN, Dec. 5), there is one area in which he is not so deserving. The JNF will name the Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary in northern Israel after Harper. Meanwhile, here in Canada, the Harper government is offering not sanctuary, but open season on hunting the mourning dove, the small, gentle bird that symbolizes peace.
This hunt had been banned in Ontario from 1955 until it was re-opened by our federal Conservative government in September 2013.
What ironic hypocrisy!
Federation assists with tuition
Michael Kinrys is quite correct that all families make choices and undertake sacrifices to send their children to Jewish day schools (“Tuition help falls short,” The CJN, Dec. 12).
Kinrys may not be aware, however, that UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish day schools have a unique progressive tuition assistance program for families with low and modest incomes. Federation, through its annual campaign, has been allocating $10 million each year to local Jewish day schools to reduce tuition rates for more than 2,200 children from low- and modest-income families. The innovative iCAP tuition pilot program at Robbins Hebrew Academy, supported by UJA Federation and the Avi Chai Foundation, is a new concept that sets a multi-child discount for families who are otherwise paying full tuition fees.
Federation and the Jewish day schools work very hard to make schools accessible and welcoming. Families interested in ensuring an excellent, vibrant and rewarding Jewish and general studies education for their children are encouraged to contact their local Jewish day school for more information.
Ed Segalowitz, Executive Director
Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
More advocates for Israel welcome
I will gladly be the first to welcome new players into Canada’s Israel advocacy scene, both on and off campus (“New group’s advocacy methods ruffle feathers,” The CJN, Nov. 14). But it would be a grave mistake to overlook the significant and continuing contributions of Hillel groups across the country with the assistance of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
As a non-Jewish advocate for Israel and a former Hillel advocacy staffer in Ottawa, I saw first hand the game-changing impact of CIJA’s innovative, agile advocacy strategies in the hands of Hillel students. Campaigns like Size Doesn’t Matter and Truth in Context have shifted the campus conversation in Israel’s favour over the past few years. In fact, at schools such as Carleton University, where standing up for the Jewish state was once a dangerous endeavour, standing up for Israel has become a popular mainstream position.
CIJA and Hillels “get” campuses because they listen to campuses and develop meaningful relationships with student leaders based on shared values. Their impact continues to grow, marginalizing those who hate and strengthening the righteous.
Sect not targeted for anti-Zionism
Prof. Yakov Rabkin’s suggestion that the extremist Lev Tahor cult is being victimized on the grounds of its anti-Zionist ideology is appalling (“Prof who studied radical sect offers perspective,” The CJN, Dec. 19).
While youth protection agencies in Quebec and Ontario have ample evidence of the mistreatment of children in the sect, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Lev Tahor came under the scrutiny of Canadian authorities because of its anti-Zionist stance. Even the Jerusalem-based anti-Zionist Edah HaChareidis organization has denounced the cult.
With the welfare of innocent children at stake, it is irresponsible for Rabkin to inject his entirely irrelevant anti-Zionist views into this unfolding drama.
David Ouellette, Associate Director, Public Affairs (Quebec)
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs