This week, Canadians observed the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. For Sikh Canadians and Jewish Canadians alike, the Day of Remembrance has particular resonance. That our two communities have shared experience in facing terrorism was pointedly on display during the 2008 Mumbai attack.
The Metropolitan Opera recently announced it would cancel a planned worldwide cinema broadcast of John Adams' haunting opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. Indeed the whole opera has been criticized -- including by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer -- as humanizing and even justifying acts of terrorism.
"You're Jew-ish?" my roommate awkwardly inquired, examining me so closely I could have sworn she was looking for horns. It was clear we had both grown up in completely diverse situations, practicing different religions in very dissimilar neighbourhoods. I quickly came to realize that I was now in fact the highly unwarranted representative of the entire Jewish population.
Sometimes the worst of times may be the best of times in disguise. I repeat the caveat: sometimes. Case in point, let's look at four very different mayors from across Canada: Gérald Tremblay, Rob Ford, Naheed Nenshi, and Colette Roy-Laroche. They all faced different types of crises this summer, and their responses defined them in the public eye.
Though we were both raised Catholic, my husband and I made a conscious decision to eschew religion when raising our son. I'm a big believer in love over rites and rituals. Like many parents, we want him to make an informed decision about his own spirituality when he is old and mature enough to do so. Yet part of me wonders if agnosticism is truly the right move.
True to form of Israel's detractors, the Toronto Star published a commentary this month which engaged in historical revisionism and outright lies by claiming that Israel has no legal claim to Jerusalem and areas of the West Bank, called until a few decades ago "Judea and Samaria", and now referred to by writer Carol Trainor as "occupied territories."
Being hunted like animals is an indelible memory for me. One day, the Germans came to our factory unannounced as part of their relentless search in pursuit of prey. I distinctly remember Papa and Mama hurrying us up to the attic of the factory. This happened often. My father finally declared, "I cannot tolerate this any longer. We will go voluntarily to the trains rather than hide and wait to be captured." He was either completely nuts or incredibly courageous.
The Jewish and Muslim communities have recently expressed international outrage and concern about a German court ruling that apparently limits the freedom of those wishing to practice a ritual circumcision. Any attack upon this ritual should be viewed -- and has historically been viewed -- as an existential attack upon the Jewish people. But it is not entirely clear that circumcision is under attack in Germany...
In 1994, while in the employ of the United Jewish Appeal and Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, I was given the task of overseeing former Israeli prime minister Yitzchak Shamir's trip to Toronto. But of course, as fate would have it, Saudi Arabian sheiks were staying in the same hotel as he was. What was I to do?
It was difficult for bullies to gain a public pulpit. Letters to newspapers were closely monitored to ensure that slander and intimidation were not published. Magazines and television likewise; the professional mainstream media for the most part undertook the responsibility to self-regulate. Today anyone can publish virtually anything, and personal attacks are de rigueure.