Wednesday, April 25, 2012

HOOPS 4 ISRAEL "H4I" expands its reach

One of the most anticipated annual Jewish sporting events in Toronto is the basketball charity tournament Hoops 4 Israel or "H4I".

A volunteer initiative administered by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto's young adult engagement division, Community Connect,  H4I has raised more than $500,000 over the past six years for programs in Israel that support at-risk youths.

The competition's tremendous growth has allowed it to expand its mandate to help equally underprivileged youth in Toronto. H4I will contribute a part of its proceeds to the JCC Chai Sports and Center Camp Scholarship funds for summer programs.

The three-on-three half-court, round-robin games are fast-paced and competitive, providing great entertainment for all who attend. This year, spectators are invited to the Kimel Family Education Center at 9600 Bathurst St., Sunday May 6, starting at 9 a.m. to root for their favourite team.

Take a look at last years action:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Remembering Rabbi Jonathan V. Plaut

The Jewish communities of Windsor, Ont., and Jackson, Mich. are mourning the loss of Rabbi Jonathan V. Plaut, who held many civic and religious posts throughout his illustrious career. He died April 17 after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 69.

His family was of the utmost importance to him. He was a devoted son to both his mother, the late Elizabeth Strauss Plaut, and father, Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, the former spiritual leader of Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple and president of Canadian Jewish Congress, who passed away in February.

Ordained in 1970 by Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, the younger Rabbi Plaut first served Congregation Beth El in Windsor as senior rabbi until 1984. During his time in Windsor he was also editor of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Society and Through the Sound of Many Voices: Writings Contributed on the Occasion of the 70th Birthday of W. Gunther Plaut. He then assumed the pulpit of Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, Calif., where he remained from 1985 to 1993.

Rabbi Plaut, earned a doctorate from HUC in 1977, then taught for eight years at Santa Clara University. Since October 2000, Rabbi Plaut had held the position of spiritual leader at Temple Beth Israel in Jackson, Mich.

Funeral services will be held at Holy Blossom Memorial Park in Toronto, and there will be a memorial service at Congregation Beth-El in Windsor. Further accounts of the rabbi’s accomplishments are listed here. May his memory be for blessing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mend fences: Life's too short

Dear Ella,
At every major holiday or family event, I encounter the same problem, and this Passover was no exception. My two nieces don’t speak to one another.
I have not taken sides in their feud, but have expressed my opinion about it. Although I agreed with Deborah, the younger of the two sisters, that the events that started this feud were handled improperly, I said I would not exclude Daliah, her sister, from family functions. But Daliah would not attend any gathering if Deborah was going to be there.
After 10 years, Daliah finally concluded that she had missed out on enough family functions and accepted my invitation for Passover this year. When Deborah found out, she called the night before the seder to tell me that she and her family would not be attending.
I later heard from their brother, Richard, that Deborah felt that “I had made my choice,” and I believe she is angry with me now.
I refuse to be put in the middle of this war and don’t want a repeat of this stress every holiday. It takes years off my life. How should I handle this?
Frustrated Auntie

Dear Frustrated Auntie,
Sometimes people get so caught up in their grudges and pride that they can’t see past it and how it affects their children, spouses and extended families. Life is too short to hang on to this kind of animosity for more than 10 years, but this should not be your problem. This feud belongs to Deborah and Daliah, and if they can’t see, or don’t care, what it’s doing to the rest of the family, I think you need to stop caring, too. Next time there’s a family gathering, you’re not going to be the one to choose between them. You need to drop the ball squarely in their court and let the chips fall where they may.
For your next gathering, send both of these gals an e-mail, and make sure to use both their names in the “send to” line.
It should read something like this:
Dear Deborah and Daliah,
On [insert date] we are having an [insert event]. I have invited the whole family.
First let me say that I love you both. In the past, you have made it very uncomfortable, forcing me to choose between the two of you, and I can’t do it any longer. It would be very meaningful to me if you could put aside your differences and enjoy this important day with us. I know it would mean the world to the rest of the family as well.
I hope you give this some thought before you answer out of anger. Please let me know by [insert date] how many in your family will be attending. Once you get past the first five minutes, I promise you will enjoy catching up with everyone. Please don’t let pride stand in your way. Life is too short. I hope more than anything to see you both on this special occasion.
Love [insert name]
Then sit back and wait for the reply. This isn’t your problem. You didn’t create it, and you shouldn’t be in the middle of it. Go ahead and plan your event. If they can’t get past this, unfortunately you’ll have to get used to moving on without them. It will be their loss if they choose not to attend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Urging Canada's HOC to stamp out antisemitism

In a parliamentary meeting this week preparing for the annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) observance, York Centre Conservative MP Mark Adler and Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler both rose in the House of Commons to spur their fellow parliamentarians into taking action against all forms of antisemitism.

Irwin Cotler
Mark Adler
Below is a transcripts of their remarks in the Commons.

Adler: "Mr. Speaker, on the evening of April 18th, Jewish communities around the world will come together and mark Yom Hashoa, a special day of remembrance for the suffering and murder of millions of innocent men, women and children during The Holocaust. Mr. Speaker, as Parliamentarians it is our duty to ensure that “never again” is about more than just words, it is about action.

While there are numerous examples of our governments work in the fight against anti-Semitism, I am most proud that in the 2010 speech from the Throne, our Government committed to supporting the National Holocaust Memorial, which will be located in the National Capital Region.

On April 19th, this Yom HaShoah, I ask you to join me in rejecting anti-Semitism in all its virulent forms and in remembering the victims of the Holocaust."

Cotler: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate National Holocaust Remembrance Day, a remembrance of horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, of the Holocaust as a war against the Jews in which not all victims were Jews but all Jews were targeted victims - defamed, demonized and dehumanized - as prologue and justification for their destruction.

“As a reminder of the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement to hatred and genocide; of the dangers of the oldest and most enduring of hatreds, antisemitism; of indifference and inaction in the face of incitement and mass atrocity; of the targeting of the vulnerable, whom the Nazis spoke of as having ‘lives not worth living’; of the culture of impunity; of the dangers of forgetting, ignoring, trivializing or denying the Holocaust; and, remembering also, on this centenary of Raoul Wallenberg, this hero of the Holocaust who demonstrated that one person can resist, that one person can confront evil, that one person can prevail, that one person can transform history.

“Let us pledge never again to be silent or indifferent in the face of evil. Plus jamais!”