Week of July 28, 2016

Week of July 28, 2016

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Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO
Letters to the Editor THE CJN PHOTO

Playing politics

The headline read “Tory MP calls on government to apologize for St. Louis.” There is nothing wrong in that request, except one must ask, where was Deepak Obhrai, the Alberta Conservative MP, when he served in the Stephen Harper government as parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs and for international human rights?

What Obhrai said at a fundraising event on June 7 about the regrettable actions of the Canadian government in 1939 was not new. But one has to wonder why his call on the Trudeau government has been made at this time. Politics anyone?

Sidney Margles 

Cote St.-Luc, Quebec


The Green party responds

Many friends in the Jewish community have shared with me a concern that the Green party of Canada resolutions process has created the impression that the party is anti-Semitic (“Green party slammed for resolutions on JNF, BDS”). It is such a horrible thing to contemplate that it is hard to have even written the words. The Greens globally hold to six core values, which include respect for diversity, non-violence and protecting human rights. It would be impossible to hold to a worldview that failed to respect all peoples, and still be a Green.

Some have drawn inferences in that the resolutions appear to single out the State of Israel. Here again, another core Green value is respect for grassroots democracy. Observing that value means that the Green party resolutions process does not include any co-ordinated vetting. No one knew until the resolutions were tabled that there would be two related to Israel and none on other nations. Still, it is worth noting that the Green party already has policies denouncing human rights abuses by China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others. We already have policies supporting a two-state solution in the Middle East. Greens resolutely support the right of the State of Israel to exist.

The priority we give issues is best judged by the 2015 election platform and what I chose to raise in debates. In the leaders debates, I was the only leader to raise the murder of innocents by the Assad regime in Syria. I was the only leader to talk about our loss of sovereignty in the Canada-China Investment Treaty. We care about Canada’s role in the world. We know that Israel is a key ally and friend. We happen to believe it is possible to both love and criticize friends. But the Green party will never condone or comfort those who express hatred or anti-Semitism. As for the resolutions to be discussed and debated at our upcoming convention, I will not personally support them. I hope that our respectful process of debate will result in consensus decisions.

Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands   

Ottawa


The real cost of a get

I have just gone through the process of the get, so I read “How I learned about the real cost of a get” with particular interest. Happily, my experience did not mirror that of the author’s.

I contacted the beit din shortly after my separation, but since my husband and I continued to live in the same house for some months, I had to delay the get until we were living separately. The rabbi with whom I initially spoke followed up with me regularly not only to inquire about my readiness for the get, but also to check that I was faring well.

Upon our arrival at the beit din, my husband and I were joined by three rabbis, two witnesses and a scribe, all of whom introduced themselves and addressed both of us equally. I did not, for one moment, feel humiliated or treated with anything other than kindness and respect. I asked questions when I needed clarification, and I was responded to patiently and without judgment. 

The author writes that her husband received a certificate that states: “This certificate applies only to the man above mentioned and is not to be taken as evidence regarding the status of his wife.” I received a certificate that states: “This certificate applies only to the woman above mentioned and is not to be taken as evidence regarding the status of her husband.”

The get is a sad occasion. I choked up when the certificate of get was placed in my hands, but the process itself was compassionate and supportive, and I left feeling that I had been a participant in an important Jewish ritual.

Shira Lester 

Toronto 

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