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September 4, 2013 cjnews.

com

The Canadian Jewish News

RH 5774

T Page B25

What you do matters to others


Continued from page B24 I found this incident thought provoking, dynamic and exciting. Israel is a very warm country, and Im not just referring to the weather. People do not hesitate to openly express their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Other peoples business becomes their own business. Just earlier that morning, I was going to cross a busy street to get to a coffee shop; I looked left and right for oncoming traffic but was a few meters from a crosswalk. A grey-haired man with a newspaper walking by paused for a second and with his free hand, he shook his finger at me as though I was a child and said this is dangerous. In North America, people often censor their emotions and opinions which, at times, creates a civil and cool distance between people. I would be remiss to say that North American society is not caring, but it tends to be experienced as an individualistically driven society and this level of exposure can be very challenging. However, because of the profound human need for a person to feel noticed, valued and cared for, we have created institutions, like synagogues, that have become our families and second homes. In essence, we have tried to create a stationary Jerusalem bus where people can feel free to express how much they care. It is both wonderful and difficult to live in a light where what you do as a person, and particularly as a Jew, matters to others. It is equally as rewarding to know that what other Jews do, matters to you as well. Despite our initial discomfort with this level of caring frankly, it is important that we learn that everything we do matters; our decisions and our behaviour has an impact on us and those around us. All people of Israel are responsible for one another was not a new teaching for me. It was, however, taught in a new, striking way on a mundane bus on the narrow streets of Jerusalem. I wanted to share this story with you because it will influence the way I experience 5774 and I hope it will do the same for you. Have a healthy, vibrant and meaningful year. Tina Grimberg is a rabbi at Congregation Darchei Noam. She shares her love of Jewish tradition through the medium of story telling, art and literature. She shares her life with her husband Moshe Shizgal and their son David Avracham.

A winters day in Jerusalem

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RH 5774

cjnews.com September 4, 2013

The Canadian Jewish News

Wishing our Clients, Staff and Friends A Very Healthy, Happy & Sweet New Year

Making 5774 meaningful by speaking up for refugees

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flooded with Jewish people. anadian Jewish advocacy began And in the end Blair was tragically in the early part of the 20th century as the Canadian Jewish Allisuccessful. Canada had arguably the ance which was an amalgam of 13 Jewworst record when it came to allowing ish organizations flanked by the workfor Jewish immigrants or refugees just ing-class Poale Zion and Arbeiter Ring. prior to the outbreak of the Holocaust. Indeed there was much opposition Whereas the Dominican Republic offered to take in thousands of desperto the forming of an organization, ate Jews escaping Nazi madness, Candemocratic in nature that would be ada was nailing its doors shut; truly a both Canadian and Jewish. shameful period in our history. Nonetheless this was an idea whose Flash forward almost 90 years. Sadly time had come; the issue at hand, what CJC is no more. Indeed many felt that to name this new Jewish advocacy we have come a long way since the group. Jewish Peoples of Canada, Jewish Canadian Council, the Congress early part of the last century so Jewish advocacy in Canada needed a reof Jewish Canadians, the Jewish CanBernie Farber adian Council were some of the names write. Others were less sure pointing that were being bandied about. to our history that demonstrated there In the end, in March 1919 dozens of Jewish groups was always a need for Jews to be keenly aware of their and philanthropists came together in Montreal and surroundings. Canadian Jewish academic icon Irving voted for delegates to their new Jewish voice in Can- Abella noted last month in The CJN, How sad. How ada; the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC). The name unnecessary. The two most muscular, most respected was hotly debated and its meaning became pivotal; voices of Canadian Jewry [here Abella was referring to it told Canada that Jews were first Canadian and with both the CJC and The CJN which thankfully seems to that emphasis we married our Jewish heritage to our have been saved] have been stilled with no evidence belief in this wonderful country. that they can be replaced. That 1919 initial Congress made two important Nonetheless changes came. Today Jewish advocacy decisions, the first was to declare its loyalty to Canada in Canada focuses on Israel; to be sure a strong emand the second, which foretold much of the advocacy brace of support for the Jewish state is paramount. work to this very day, was to establish a Jewish Immi- Domestic issues not solely identified as Jewish or grant Aid Society. Its aim was to assist Jewish immi- unrelated to Israel advocacy seems to have become grants and refugees coming into Canada. less of a priority. In the early part of the 20th century, while the One decision reached in 1919 at the first Congress United States was seen as the Goldineh Medina, of Canadian Jews however remains strong and in Canada became very often the most desired second place; the need to show our support for refugees who choice; not America but close enough. Yet with sad are targeted by less enlightened states for humiliaechoes of immigration policy today against Roma, tion, degradation and even death. And a key voice there was a wholesale determination by Canadian which has arisen from our community has been the government authorities to keep Jews out of Canada. organization established by writ of the first Congress Warned Frederick J. Blair, the Director of Immigra- of Canadian Jews, the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society tion in the years before the Second World War, unless (JIAS). safeguards are developed Canada is at risk of being Continued on page B27

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