Problem is in the classroom
The mural at York University is secondary to the real problem, which is what is being taught in the classrooms (“York U reviews policies in wake of painting controversy”).
My children attended York, and from discussions with them and students at other universities, it is clear that there is very little attempt to make the learning experience “inclusive,” despite York’s statement about the controversy.
One student told me that her Palestinian lecturer in a social science course told the class that she intended to teach them the Palestinian narrative. This happened in a course that had nothing to do with the Middle East. When asked about this, she replied that time did not permit the teaching of any alternative to her dogma.
Another lecturer during Israel Apartheid Week gave a reading list of only Palestinian sources. When questioned why there were no Israeli sources, she provided readings from anti-Zionist Israeli writers.
Students are not going to jeopardize their marks by accusing their teachers of bias. The twisting of minds by propaganda in the guise of academia is insidious and hard to deal with.
Social justice in Canada
The article “Rekindling the light of Jewish social justice” is a welcome call to action in our country’s Jewish communal trajectory. I graduated from McMaster University in 2002 and moved immediately to New York City to participate in Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. There was nothing like it at home in Canada. The year-long program re-tooled and invigorated my relationship to Judaism.
For the first time, I met policymakers and community leaders who spoke openly about how Jewish tradition guided their work in the modern secular world. For the first time, I met Jewish communal leaders whom I could relate to as a young adult, because we had explicitly shared values about social change. For the first time, I found friends from all Jewish backgrounds eager to engage deeply with our tradition in ways that spoke to our daily pursuits. The intellectual and spiritual stimulation from my year in Avodah shifted my relationship to Judaism. For the first time, Judaism became an inseparable part of my identity.
There are many reasons why Canadian Jews ought to think bigger about our communal role as agents of social change. It’s our obligation, as our tradition teaches us. It’s also a communal game-changer. This work draws in Jews who would otherwise be on the margins, and deepens the ties of those who are already engaged. This pursuit makes Judaism relevant, and in its relevance, it changes people, it changes the Jewish community and it changes the fabric of our country.
Rachel S. Gold
Promoting the prenup
It is incorrect that the halachic prenup for Canada I released last week (“Montreal rabbi promotes prenup to address agunot”) “bypasses” the beit din in Toronto or Montreal. It names the Beth Din of America to facilitate and direct the couple to their local beit din at the time of divorce. Couples in Montreal or Toronto should not have to travel to New York for their get.
The completely logical reasons why it is so worded are spelled out in the full explanation and instructions at www.adath.ca.
Rabbi Elisha Schochet disagrees with two of my halachic positions. Both of these opinions are the clearly articulated and published opinions of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, widely acknowledged as the greatest halachic authority of our generation.
Rabbis and couples across Canada must know that by signing this agreement, they are acting in accordance with the highest and most respected halachic authorities in the world, and they are taking the most helpful step possible to eliminate the horror of agunah. How could anyone refuse to do that?
Rabbi Michael Whitman