Push back against antisemitism by showing your Jewish pride

This morning, I had a daily call with my daughters, who are now in Israel as a continuation of their trip on the March of the Living (pan-Canadian university group, organized through Toronto UJA). They told me about their visit to Har Herzl yesterday, to visit the graves of recently fallen IDF soldiers, including one of a 44-year-old father whose child left a drawing. The tears were flowing. I then opened my phone to see that four soldiers, each 19-years-old, had fallen just today. May their memories be a blessing.  

I know what it feels like to be an Israeli parent; glued to the 24-hour news cycle, wanting to understand the impacts of the latest developments, rocket alerts, and what it might mean for your child in service. This is the reality for all of Israel.  

Yisrael  Arevim Zeh L’Zeh—all the people of Israel care for one another. What my daughters came to comprehend intuitively is that these soldiers are our brothers and sisters, these soldiers are our sons and daughters, these soldiers are our people. While the world rages on, we know that the cost to our people is heavy. The sacrifices are great and they ensure that Israel prevails in a war we did not want or start.  

We are commemorating Israel Remembrance Day—Yom Hazikaron—with a service to honour the lives of fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terror Monday night. This year, it will be especially poignant, and I want to thank volunteers Keren and Aviv Scheinman who have spent countless hours ensuring it is to be respectful, dignified, and meaningful for all in attendance. Please join us at Beth Shalom and doors open at 6:30 p.m.  

Zionist is a title I declare with pride—it is the right to self-determination in our ancestral homeland. We are seeing a co-opting of this term and revision of history, especially on campuses. Across the country, and at the University of Alberta, the vilification of Zionism and the call to administration to divest of any relations to Israel has taken hold. You can hear about the impacts of this on students as well as U of A student Rachel Cook’s story by listening to testimony provided at the House of Commons yesterday and in reflections my own daughters made when speaking about their experience on the March of the Living with the Canadian Jewish News.  

We are in continuous conversation with university administration and other allies about the issues we have regarding Jewish student and staff well-being, to ensure an environment where they can learn, study and work securely. We appreciate the swift action the university has taken when we brought forward our grievances about the hate graffiti on a recent art installation placed at the Rutherford library. We will maintain monitoring and addressing these situations and keep you apprised. 

Proudly proclaim your support for the state of Israel during the Yom Ha’aztmaut event on Tuesday night and enjoy falafel dinner, an Israeli sing along, crafts and more. Two Jewish RCMP officers are joining us in this celebration and please welcome them. You have until Sunday at 4 p.m. to buy tickets. If you have newly arrived from Israel, or know someone has, please have them contact us at info@edjfed.org so that we can properly greet them to this event and the community.  

I have said it before and reiterate it again—we persist in pushing back against antisemitism in order to continue to live proud, safe, Jewish lives in Edmonton, while being connected to the greater Jewish world. Please join us at these events, and we will keep you posted on the playoff scores. A particular Shabbat shalom and shout out to Zach Hyman tonight. Work your magic Edmonton Oilers—I do not want the shame of losing a bet to my counterpart Ezra Shanken from Vancouver and having to don a Canucks jersey! 

Shabbat Shalom,