Excluded by rabbinic vote
“Wait, you’re actually interested in Jewish things outside of school?”
This is a real question I have been asked as a high school senior by other students. I am the weird one who actually enjoys being immersed in a tradition that is thousands of years old, that connects me to my family, my people, my God.
It was nice to know that at least when I was older, when I would be a maharat (Orthodox woman ritual leader), that I would be able to be a part of a community that would welcome anyone with open arms who decided to devote herself to a life of Torah and fear of God, no matter what title she may choose for herself.
Because of the new Rabbinical Conference of America statement, I can’t have that hope anymore. I will always be an outsider in my personal pursuit of Torah and God, just because of my gender.
‘We refuse to be enemies’
We live in a world which is unrecognizable from pre-9/11 times. Extremists of all shades find emotional justification and distort people’s commitment to faith, democracy and civilization to carry out mayhem in the name of what they regard as sacred and the great majority finds abhorrent.
The latest monstrosity in Paris must be condemned forcefully, but not be allowed to justify a backlash against victims of violence escaping bloodshed and trying to reach Europe and Canada. Our government should not be discouraged. As Canadians, we need to continue our humanitarian work with a balanced approach that will keep Canadians safe.
We must find a way to address the conflicts of the 21st century with contemporary understanding. Otherwise, the declarations of war and revenge will only bring more hate, more killing, more war and the vicious circle will continue until we destroy our sense of personal security and our humanity with it.
There are no adequate words to express the outrage over the killing of innocent people anywhere. But our outrage must not be selective. No one should feel they can justify taking innocent lives be it in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Israel, Palestine, Sinai, Africa, New York or Paris. As Jews and Muslims we have seen both state and non-state terror and are committed to continue our joint efforts to ensure that “Never Again” is a promise kept.
Jointly, in keeping with our group’s theme this year of twinning of mosques and synagogues, we refuse to be enemies and will not play into the hands of those who would goad us into violence and the quicksand of mutual destruction.
As Jews and Muslims, we call for healing and justice for victims of intolerance everywhere.
Shahid Akhtar and Barbara Landau
Co-chairs Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims
Early warnings about Dion
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and the Liberals are already showing their true colours (“New foreign minister has mixed record on Mideast,” Nov. 12.)
Firstly, they are pre-judging Israel as guilty for any future matters that may arise, clearly stating it will be judged differently and their tone concerning it will change. How can they do such a thing before events and circumstances even occur?
Secondly, they attack former prime minister Stephen Harper for his uneven defence of Israel, when all Harper ever did was to stand up to tyrants and clearly state that Israel has a right to defend itself. If these stands are offensive to the Liberals, perhaps we have to fear that we trusted them to speak on our behalf.