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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘winnipeg’

Teen Convicted of Attacking Jewish Student

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

A teenager in Winnipeg who attacked a Jewish student in a racially motivated assault will be sentenced next month, following his conviction on charges of assault with a weapon.

The 17-year-old high school student used a lighter and attempted to burn the hair of a 15-year-old female Jewish student at his high school in November 2011. The girl suffered no serious injuries in the attack.

A school official said the attack was accompanied by racial comments. Law enforcement officials in Manitoba considered pressing hate crime charges but eventually chose not to, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

The attacker, whose anonymity is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced June 27, the newspaper reported.

Winnipeg Rabbis Split on Bill Favoring Gay-Straight Clubs

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Two leading Orthodox rabbis in Winnipeg are split over part of a bill, proposed last December, which would require any school that receives provincial funding to allow students to create a gay-straight alliance club.

Fearing that Christian schools will be forced to accept such clubs, many Christian leaders in Manitoba have opposed the bill. But in the case of the province’s Jewish community, the two leading Orthodox rabbis have landed on opposite sides of the debate.

“The Torah rejects homosexuality,” Rabbi Avraham Altein, the longtime head of Chabad Lubavitch in Winnipeg, told the Canadian Jewish News. “Religious schools should not be forced to accept a gay rights group.”

But while Altein has written a letter to Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger protesting the bill and taken to the airwaves to make his views heard, Winnipeg’s other prominent Orthodox rabbi has taken a much different approach.

Rabbi Ari Ellis, who leads Winnipeg’s largest Orthodox congregation, told the news agency that he originally planned not to get involved in the debate on the bill until he heard Altein claiming that the bill stood in opposition to Orthodox Judaism.

“As an Orthodox rabbi and a Jewish educator, it is my belief that a gay-straight alliance could be a welcome institution in our schools and communities,” Ellis told the newspaper.

Gray Academy of Jewish Education, the only K-12 Jewish private school in Winnipeg, has had a gay-straight alliance for several years, according to head of school Rory Paul.

Princeton’s Rabbi James Diamond Killed in Traffic Accident

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Rabbi James Diamond, the retired director of Princeton University’s Center for Jewish Life, has died in a traffic accident after leaving a breakfast Talmud study group.

Rabbi Diamond, 73, who retired from the center 10 years ago, was killed when a speeding car crashed into a parked car which the rabbi was entering on the passenger side. The driver of the parked car, Rabbi Robert Freedman, who also attended the study group, was hospitalized. He is expected to recover from his injuries.

Diamond was the director of the Center for Jewish Life from 1995 to 2003. He also served as executive director of the Hillel at Washington University in St, Louis from 1972 to 1995, and at Indiana University from 1968 to 1972.

He was ordained in 1963 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and later taught courses in modern Hebrew literature and Judaic Studies at Washington University, Princeton University, and in the Princeton community.

Diamond was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judy, three children and six grandchildren.

“If I’ve touched lives and given some people an idea that Judaism is broad and deep and a source of great meaning, and that being a Jew is a great gift, then I’ve succeeded,” Diamond said of his work with Jewish students in an interview with the New Jersey Jewish News after announcing his retirement in 2003.

Report: ‘Sustained, Ongoing Undercurrent of Anti-Jewish Bias in Canada’

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Canada continues to struggle with record-high levels of antisemitism, according to The League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.

The audit documented 1,297 reported antisemitic incidents across Canada in 2011. Although this marked a decrease of .7% from the previous year, Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, said the organization “can take no consolation from the negligible decrease…when the antisemitism targeting Canadian Jews remains at such all-time high levels.”

Incidents of vandalism – “attacks on synagogues, school and Jewish cemeteries” – rose 14.2%, while violence fell by 20.8% and cases of harassment dropped by 5.1%.

The true gravity of the problem in Canada is better understood, said Diment, by observing long-term trends: antisemitic incidents have grown twenty-fold since B’nai Brith started monitoring antisemitism thirty years ago, “while a five-year view shows a 24.6% rise.” He also noted that “the Jewish community is the most targeted minority in hate crimes motivated by religion.

“Thirty years after the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we continue to see rocks being thrown at synagogue and school windows, deaths threats being sent via social media, visible Jews being taunted and physically assaulted on route to their homes and places of worship and even a young Jewish girl’s hair being set on fire.”

Ontario, the most populous province in Canada and home to Canada’s largest Jewish community in Toronto, saw a decrease of 3.7% in incidents from 2010. The province of Manitoba, which has a tight-knit Jewish community in Winnipeg, experienced a 30% increase over the same period. In Montreal, home to Canada’s second-largest Jewish community, the 303 reported incidents represented an increase of 9.4%.

There is little indication that the numbers would drop significantly in 2012, as the Montreal Gazette recently reported that “[i]n mid-April 2012, about 15 of the 50 Jewish owned homes in Val Morin [a town outside Montreal] were vandalized. At least two of the homes were defaced with anti-Jewish hate messages and swastikas.”

The audit seems to echo the conclusions of a similar study in Europe when it states that “a global propaganda movement that attempts to re-cast Jews as ‘oppressors,’ ‘colonialists’ and ‘despoilers’ in the Middle East” has the practical effect of inflaming hatred against Jews in Canada.

Nevertheless, Dimant expressed appreciation that “all levels of government [in Canada] work with B’nai Brith and its League for Human Rights to suppress antisemitism throughout the country.” Indeed, the numbers do not square with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s staunch support for Israel and the Jewish people, nor his unequivocal condemnation of exactly the kind of anti-Israel propaganda that the audit cites as inflaming prejudice against Canadian Jews. What’s more, a February 2012 poll found that nearly half of all Canadians expressed support for his government’s Middle East policy.

Former Mossad Chief to Speak to Winnipeg’s Jewish Community

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Efraim Halevy, former head of Mossad, is coming to lecture at the annual Distinguished Lecture series in Winnipeg, on May 3, 2012.

The series benefits the work of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (JHCWC). The evening with Halevy is the primary fundraising event for the Centre which manages museum displays and the Holocaust education and awareness programs. The JHCWC also maintains historical materials which preserve the history of Western Canada`s Jewry, in particular in the province of Manitoba. The community`s genealogical research archives are also maintained on site.

The collection includes copies of community newspapers dating back as early as 1910, over 7000 photographs, a complete database of Jewish gravestones (current to December 2010), and countless manuscripts and papers. This archive is constantly growing; for example, we recently received the Yiddish papers of Adele Wiseman, Canadian literary luminary.

The JHC’s many publications on Western Canadian Jewish history include: Coming of Age: a History of the Jewish People of Manitoba, Our Musical Heritage: a Century of Jewish Musicians and Music in Winnipeg, and nine volumes of essays in Jewish Life and Times, with special volumes on Jewish women, Jewish radicalism in Winnipeg, pioneer life and Jewish Farm Colonies.

Previous invitees to the annual Kanee Distinguished Speaker Series lecture, have been internationally-known speakers such as Sir Martin Gilbert, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt and Ambassador Dore Gold. In 2012 it is Efraim Halevy, former Chief of Israel’s Mossad.

Halevy will speak at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. His topic, “Impossible Missions: Israel’s greatest threats inside and out” candidly outlines the country’s modern day challenges.

The Centre invited Israel’s legendary security consultant, negotiator, political provocateur, speaker, author and retired Mossad Director, many months in advance. His talk, however, comes as Israel grapples on the international stage with its rift between the security establishment and the country’s political leadership.

Winnipeg, nestled at the geographic centre of North America, may be the beneficiary of significant insights from Halevy, renowned for his iconoclastic views.

His often controversial stance is based on a 40 year career in the Mossad. Having moved up the ranks from intelligence officer in 1961 to years as Director of Israel’s elite Institute of Intelligence and Special Operations, Halevy is uniquely positioned to cut through the rhetoric of USA, Israel, Iran, and Syria.

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions after a lecture of about an hour. It is expected that Halevy will reveal provocative plans and fresh insights for co-existence once and for all.

With service to no less than five Israeli Prime Ministers, countless international dignitaries, and hundreds of missions and negotiations in his charge, he has worked ceaselessly in the cause of Israel’s security. Much of it in “secret diplomacy.”

It is expected that the evening will also touch on the prestigious Shasha Centre for Strategic Studies. The Israeli-based centre researches policy and presents white papers to stimulate public discussion leading to practical policies to effect sustainable change in the Middle East. This meshes well with the education initiatives of the JHCWC as well as its mandate to monitor news and events pertaining to racism, anti-Semitism, and world news affecting the Jewish community.

Winnipeg audiences anticipate fresh perspectives from the man who began to share behind the scene details on his watch in his book, “Man in the Shadows.”

As anonymous in his civilian look as George Smiley, the lead character in a John le Carré novel, Israel’s modern day spymaster and now editorial writer and professor holds that creative solutions must be found and soon.

On Iran Halevy has said, “They don’t know how to extricate themselves. We have to find creative ways to help them escape from their own rhetoric.”

Contrary to the panic generally promoted about Iran’s nuclear arms status, the evening is likely to touch on his views of Israel’s military and strategic might – “I believe that Israel is indestructible.”

Pragmatic and hopeful Halevy is known for his initiatives to “start the ball rolling.”

While to many outside of Israel the situation looks dire, Winnipeg’s audience may find solace in Halevy’s sign off line in a recent Jerusalem Post editorial, where he wrote, “The impossible happens twice a week in Israel.”

The lecture is a public event open to all. For more information on the work of the Jewish Heritage Centre visit http://www.jhcwc.org/

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/uncategorized/former-mossad-chief-to-speak-to-winnipegs-jewish-community/2012/04/30/

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