Demonstrate community unity by celebrating our Jewish culture

Many events this Canada Day weekend mark the beginning of Edmonton’s reputation as a city of festivals. Festivals are a wonderful opportunity to get to know our city, neighbours and the many cultural groups that make up the fabric of Edmonton. The Aviv Israeli Folk Dance Association will bring our community and culture to the Mill Woods celebrations on Monday. Please join them and cheer them on.    

Our participation in the Heritage Festival has been instrumental in having a local presence and conversations with thousands of Albertans. It is an opportunity to represent the culture and country of Israel with the greater community, while enjoying our dance, food and more with one another. We are seeing increasing attempts to normalize the demonization of Israel devoid of any knowledge about the nation, through the offering of activities at other events and continued rallies.    

This Saturday, there is a "Peace and Unity" festival taking place at the Westridge Community League organized by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. While the organizers did not invite any Jewish group to take part, the agenda includes a talk about genocide and a peace and freedom wall. At the Works Design Festival in Sir Winston Churchill Square, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is offering a workshop called “The Fruit of Resistance.”   

If you are not familiar with SJP, this National Post article explains more about this student group, an unofficial club at the University of Alberta. What we have seen on campus is now taking a more active role in our city spaces.    

We field many calls, texts and concerns about activities taking place in the city, whether it is graffiti, social media posts, and workplace or schoolyard events. We encourage you to use the portal on our website where you can notify us, so that we can see trends, have evidence, and advise where needed. Pictures are incredibly useful. Edmonton Police Service encourages you to report these to their hate portal as well, as sometimes it is helpful for another investigation, even if it is not something for them to pursue.       

While we did not end up with a Stanley Cup parade, we saw great unity in our city with the playoff run. Let this be an example to all of us about how we can unite with one another for the common welfare and celebrate our blessings to live in Canada.      

We are enthusiastic about embracing fresh faces in our Jewish community, whether from across Canada or those who are arriving from Israel and Ukraine. If you know of a newcomer, please encourage them to come to our event on July 12. If you want to be part of the efforts to welcome newcomers, please let us know as we will form a committee over the summer.

I wish you a peaceful Shabbat long weekend.  

Shabbat shalom,