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News headlines throughout 2016 were unrelentingly mortifying, bleak and despairing. Just this week - a Russian ambassador assassinated live on camera in Turkey, shoppers run down at a Christmas market...
This persecution has personally affected me and continues to cause me great pain, grief and sorrow. I'd like to fall in love with Pakistan again, but something holds me back. It seems to be fear of continuing to lose those that I love most. And so, I have to ask, O Pakistan, when will you stop?
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If our social media profiles can tint in support of Paris, Belgium, and Orlando, then why not change for Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq? Innocent lives taken in Turkey airport, and no vigils, or landmarks, but when an attack of similar degree took place in Brussels we did all of the above. I'm often asked why Muslims don't speak out enough, but perhaps this is something we all need to work on.
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Is it too much to ask in the 21st century to self-identify based on the beliefs you hold so dearly? After all, who has the right to tell me who I am and who I'm not? Apparently the Pakistani government does, who have declared the Ahmadiyya community "infidel" and non-Muslim since the infamous ruling in 1974.
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In Western culture, the dominating monotheistic religions have been a strong influence in alienating women from their own bodies by enforcing the belief that menstruating women are unclean and spiritually inferior. Judaism, Christianity and Islam view menstruation as a punishment from God.
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"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere." These words of Martin Luther King Jr. accurately describe the world crisis we live in today. To avoid war and attacks as such, all nations must come together for the greater good and unite in their efforts to stop all forms of cruelty, persecution and injustice perpetrated in the name of religion or else wise.
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According to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Toronto is home to Canada's largest Jewish population with approximately 200,000 Jews living in the Greater Toronto Area. If you want to be immersed in unique Jewish culture and explore all that Jewish Toronto has to offer, pack your bags and come on down!
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There is much commonality between religions in urging us to overcome our attachments to money, property and the material, to give generously of ourselves in as many ways as possible, and to realize that nothing is ours. In many ways, it's a call to overcome our selfish nature and to realize our deep interconnectedness with each other and all of creation.
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Joanne's health deteriorated significantly but her mettle remained strong. She so wanted to celebrate her last Hanukkah with Jack and the family. However as she entered the palliative care unit at Credit Valley Hospital we feared this would not be.
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I thought about my own prayer life, which consisted almost exclusively of asking God for things. That wasn't a relationship. Passover reminded me that our spiritual journey isn't about "practicing religion" -- it's about living faith.
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We make, serve and share organic food -- and as much locally grown and made as possible -- and we make sure to take everyone around our table into consideration: allergies, lifestyle, beliefs (in our home that means nut-free and plant-based, so thank goodness for quinoa!).
Ali A. Rizvi recently wrote an open letter to "moderate Muslims." I'm not sure if Rizvi's letter was directed toward me, as I don't measure my faith in chicken wing flavours, but I'm going to respond anyway. Rizvi's good will doesn't last long as he immediately begins to lecture Muslims about our "increasingly waning credibility" in the West.
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All any of us wants is to be seen and to be heard. This longing is at the core of our human beingness. Most never get the opportunity to share their life story in a way that impacts many. Why some peo...
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I grew up with the understanding that to be a Jew meant being on the side of justice. As a child, I watched my parents donate money to have trees planted in Israel in the name of their parents, who had survived the pogroms of Eastern Europe. From them I also learned the value of Tikkun Olam: "healing the world" in Hebrew -- that to help those who are suffering was an integral part of Judaism.
Israel's largely American-supplied war machine--though Canada is increasingly adding to the mix -- is perpetuating the imperial cycle of conquest: a technologically advanced force is imposing its monstrous will on a vilified, relatively defenceless people.
For a Jewish, middle class, Montrealer, I've spent a lot of my life in the company of the Buddha. I have had an 18-year on-again, off-again relationship with the Buddha. He's been by my side during the ups and downs. I never practiced Buddhism, but I have been a student of the religion for half my life.
I understand the importance of free thought and the necessity for societies to allow for variant perceptions on God including atheism. It is for this reason that I, as a religious person, strongly advocate for freedom of religion and decry these nations who persecute those who, in the process of thought, arrive at different perspectives.
I recently watched the end of Steven Spielberg's 2001 movie, Artificial Intelligence, which I haven't seen since its release. The time is the 22nd century. Monica and Henry have a child, Martin, who h...
I'm not fasting because the oldest symbol of "unity"--the Western Wall--is a battleground for religious pluralism, and I imagine that if the Cohanim were still around they would be on the side of the Haredim, not on the side of those women who, like me, want to be full participating Jews with tallit and a Torah.
Police barricades blocked hundreds of Women of the Wall supporters, a liberal Jewish women's group, who are demanding equality of worship at the Western Wall. Current customs prevent females from wearing prayer shawls and from praying and reading the Torah aloud, as men are permitted to do.
Think of the many cultures throughout history that have disappeared, some for which we've no account, and others now only known by artifacts or bits and pieces of written history. Rather than focus on the cultures that have been lost, First Nations can focus on the one that has survived thousands of years,
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.
That Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins are disappointed that religion hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur perhaps speaks to the fact that religion provides something of great importance to human beings, an importance that is beyond their grasp. Science provides the cold hard facts of life. Religion provides meaning. Even Dr. Krauss agreed that we make the meaning in our lives. Why can't that meaning come from religion?
An Orthodox Jewish woman is suing Lancôme and its parent company, cosmetics giant L'Oréal, over its alleged "24-hour" makeup, claiming that the product does not work as advertised and fades before she...
There is an interesting disconnect in our world today regarding religion. Being an adherent to a certain religion is simply seen, to most people, as a description of the way by which this individual achieves spirituality. This is not, however, the way that religions -- even more so, traditional religious systems -- actually view themselves.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that extends for eight days, requiring observers to avoid leavened bread. That's the basic rule. No problem. I don't remember the last time I ate leavened bread. Beyond this -- the rules get a little fuzzy. You could join 10 different families for Passover on the same street and have 10 different experiences of what Passover is.
As a Rabbi, I have always found it somewhat curious the way the general North American public looks upon the festival of Chanukah. While actually a relatively minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, it is given much significance in Western society.
But what I also find fascinating is the way that North America had to simultaneously transform Chanukah into a festivity that relates to the North American consciousness. If people are going to be celebrating this holiday then it better have a meaning with which these individuals can connect.
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?
On June 21, a Jewish woman was detained for hours by Israeli police for praying at the Western Wall. Why? Because she was wearing a tallit -- a prayer shawl. Some say that women who are wearing the tallit are flaunting their piety, but is this really the case? Shouldn't we, as a Jewish people, give women the benefit of the doubt when they honour Hashem?
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In September 2012, a successor to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the current Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, will be appointed. The new rabbi will begin his tenure in September 2013. If the post will not undergo a major transformation and become purely one of spiritual and educational leadership, then it is far better to leave the post empty than to continue the institution of a chief rabbi.
I find myself disheartened by the direction that the conversion debate is unfolding in Israel and the Diaspora. While we cannot hope to be, nor should we strive to be, uniform in our views, we have an obligation to be united as one Jewish people. It makes no sense that Orthodox converts, including those looking to make aliyah (moving to Israel), face the possibility of seeing their fully halachic conversions retroactively annulled.
When me and my wife were looking for our seats at a concert, a man approached me, and began to interrogate me on whether I believed in a personal god. To be honest, I did not know how to respond.