Toronto’s Holocaust Education Week was great in immortalizing those who died in the Holocaust and those who survived to tell their stories. However, part of the purpose of remembering the Holocaust is to prevent it from happening again. It has to become part of tikkun olam. Holocaust Education Week was presented by Jews, about Jews and for Jews. It did not reach out to the wider community. It should have included the experiences of the Armenians, those who survived Rwanda, those from Darfur, and other religious and non-religious groups that have undergone their own holocausts, including some of Canada’s native peoples. For the world to benefit from the memory of the Holocaust, the universalization of the event and the idea of tikkun olam must be integral parts of Holocaust Education Week.
Reaching out to other communities
I was pleasantly surprised and elated that the Jewish community in Toronto has reached out, in a tangible way, to a new and different community (“Jews, Somalis launch mentoring program,” CJN, Nov. 6).
For the past 12 years, Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Ottawa and the Somali Centre for Family Services have been working together. JFS and the Somali Centre built a relationship with the Carleton School of Social Work to identify and train nearly a dozen candidates from within the Somali community as social workers. They have since graduated and work within the Ottawa social service network.
We have also begun to work with other Ottawa ethnic communities to broaden diverse services in order to meet the needs of the Arabic-speaking, Chinese and Haitian communities, to name but a few. Currently, our JFS staff includes Arabs and Muslims who reach out to their communities and, at the same time, break down the animosity between Jews and Arabs.
Building relationships with all communities is of the utmost importance. The only way for the barriers built by prejudices and hatred to crumble away is by offering our assistance, expertise, experience and friendship as Jews.
Jewish Family Services of Ottawa
Jews in the Canadian military
The history of the Jews in the Canadian military and of their exploits and experiences dispels the myth that Jews have not contributed their share in the Canadian Armed Forces. This includes the Boer War (1899-1902), World War I (1914-1918), World War II (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as Canada’s ongoing peacekeeping activities throughout the world.
Since 1759, when it is documented that Jews fought with Gen. James Wolfe, members of the Jewish community have participated in every significant conflict that has involved Canada. In the past century, Canadian Jewry, along with the rest of the Allies, under the shadow of the Holocaust, helped liberate Europe.
The Canadian Jewish Military Museum, which has a display at the Lipa Green Building at 4600 Bathurst St. in Toronto, pays everlasting tribute to the thousands of Jewish men and women in the Canadian military who helped foil the Nazis’ plans to kill the remaining Jews in the death and labour camps. Established in 2000, the museum houses a large variety of war memorabilia that has been donated throughout the years. Additionally, it is home to a Memorial Book of Remembrance, honouring the more than 550 Jewish Canadian Armed Forces personnel who gave their lives during duty.
The archives of the Jewish Canadian Military Museum, at the Toronto Zionist Centre, 788 Marlee Ave., Suite 308, preserve our history and educates the public about the Jewish role in the Canadian Armed Forces. The website address of the museum is www.jcmm.ca. For more information, call Al Reuben at 416-720-1465.
Canadian Jewish Military Museum
Endless appeals for undesirables
Killing squad interpreter Helmut Oberlander immigrated to Canada in 1954, lied on his immigration application and has been successfully fighting attempts to deport him since 1995 (“Court rules against killing squad member,” CJN, Nov. 6). A justice system that allows for a seemingly endless appeals process provides no justice at all. It is for this reason that Canada holds such great appeal for undesirables such as Oberlander and Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad. Mohammad is a Palestinian terrorist who shot up an El Al airliner in 1968 and murdered a passenger. He was convicted in a Greek court and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He was freed the following year when another group of Palestinians hijacked a Greek plane and threatened to blow it up unless the Greek government set him free.