EDMONTON NEWS Volume 27, No. 4
May your seder table be filled with love and friendship as you celebrate all the beautiful traditions of Passover
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Volume 27, Number 4, April, 2016 PUBLISHER / EDITOR: Deborah Shatz ADVERTISING: Daniel Moser FOUNDING PUBLISHER: Barry Slawsky
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Purim fun in Shushan at Beth Israel Purim was celebrated with a smorgasbord of activities this year at Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton, culminating with a fantastic ‘Purim in Shushan’ party on March 24. The Beth Israel Social Hall was converted into a Persian palace and marketplace with lush golden linens and vibrant decorations to give the room a definite Shushan flavour. The brilliant decorations were matched by the warm ambience in the room, the live entertainment and the delicious Persian feast expertly prepared by Eddie and Susan Yedgarova. “What an awesome Purim!” declared Rabbi Daniel Friedman. “Once again Tsipora Reboh and her team put on an outstanding performance!” Rabbanit Batya Friedman agreed. “From the décor to the drumming to the juggler to the henna and fortune teller tents, it was truly an extraordinary event! It was wonderful to see some new faces there; clearly word is getting out that we are the place to be on Purim! We can’t wait to hear what next year’s theme will be!” “The kids all loved the Pre-Purim Party with Hadassa,” added Rabbi Friedman, “and the adults enjoyed the revelry at the l’chaim ‘after party’! The Mishloach Manot project was an amazing success and JFS and Leket Israel did well with the Matanot L’Evyonim.” “Thank you to everyone for making this Purim one of the most successful and fun ever!” concluded the Rabbanit. There were 260 people in attendance, noted Beth Israel president of the board Stan Kitay. “It was a terrific evening all around,” said Kitay. “There was great food and a great atmosphere; it was superbly organized and a whole lot of Purim fun.”
View more Beth Israel Purim photos at edmontonjewishnews.com.
Edmonton Jewish News
Diskin provides garments for the heart What rings in the air on Motzai Yom kippur? The sound of the shofar, of course. But almost immediately after that, it is the telephone. “She’s gone” whispers the raspy voice at the other end of the line. “Gone???” Leah is gone. No, not as in, gone to shul; she’s gone to a better world. Just one day earlier, her family shared a seudas hamafsekes at her bedside, hoping for a miracle. And now five young children sit down to mourn. Not many people come to pay condolences on the day after Yom Kippur. It’s an overwhelming time of year, those crammed days before Sukkos. …….. “It’s almost dinner time” Gilah, Leah’s younger sister observes, her eyes bloodshot with grief. “Anyone remember that these kids need to eat?” Tzippy, another sister, sighs. “It’s Erev Yom Tov; people are busy. They don’t think. “ She gets up and shuffles to the kitchen, hoping to find some bread in the freezer. At the entrance to the kitchen, she startles. Pans of freshly fried schnitzel, piping hot rice, and stir-fried vegetables line the counter. A clear container of thick, fragrant vegetable soup stands beside the pans. Someone has remembered, after all. Leah is not here to make sure her children are fed, but there is someone else in the world that cares. “Diskin” says the label on the containers. And Diskin, whoever that is, continues to send. Meals that nourish the body and warm the heart. “Don’t worry about a thing,” the kind man who delivers the meals assures. “We will take care of all the food for Yom Tov.” Yom Tov? Who has even thought about Yom Tov? Five young orphans sit on low chairs, barely digesting the fact that their mother will no longer be there to take care of them, that she will never brush their hair in the morning again or sing them to sleep or kiss them goodnight… But Yom tov is coming and the family needs food. And
Festival Hatzafon delights the crowd
although no one else has remembered, Diskin has not forgotten. On Erev Sukkos they rise from their cramped, low chairs, still grappling with shock, struggling to stanch the steady trickle of tears. They stumble about the bare apartment, trying to gather the scattered shards. It is almost Yom Tov. And there is no mother to shout, “Let’s go, kids! Into the bath this minute! Everybody needs to pitch in now!” Tzippy tries to take the reins. She opens the closet in the children’s room, only to The fifth annual Festival Hatzafon was held last month in Edmonton to rave be met by a messy tangle of reviews. The theme 'Dancing with the Stars of David' led to some wonderful hangers. choreography and delightful performances by dancers of all ages. “Riki!” she calls her Photo by Dan Moser oldest niece. “Where do you muscles fail her. All she can manage is a stifled sob. keep your Shabbos clothing?” Gila enters the room. One look at the open closet doors “I’m wearing my Shabbos clothes!” Riki protests, pointing to the light colored dress she has been wearing all week since tells the entire story. the fateful eve of Yom Kippur. There is a gash at the “I’m calling them,” she declares quietly. neckline, pinned crudely with safety pins. “Who?” Tzippy’s eyes do a quick scan of the children. Her heart “Diskin. The organization that sent the food.” sinks. Each one is wearing his or her single precious Shabbos “What’s the connection?” Tzippy’s words come out sharp outfit, slashed by the awful blade of grief; a rip that slices and irritable, a flimsy veneer for her sorrow. right through the heart. “I don’t know. But they seem so…so tuned in to the She has always known that Leah’s family subsisted on a family’s needs. I’m sure there is something they can do.” shoestring budget. Leah is - was - a wonderworker at making “Four hours before Yom Tov?” Tzippy’s voice is grim with the pennies stretch. Yet she hadn’t realized it had gone this skepticism. “In the best case scenario, they’ll throw together far. With all the stress of Leah’s illness, no one had thought some old hand-me-downs. We can’t do that to the kids, Gila. to take inventory of the children’s wardrobes. They’re not orphans. They’re Leah’s kids.” A tingle of desperation crawls up her spine. There are four Her words unleash a fresh deluge of tears. But Gila looks hours until candle-lighting. And the children have nothing to up the number. wear. Nothing. To. Wear. Like the proverbial orphans out of the storybooks. Tzippy tries to smile encouragingly, but her
Continued on page 4
Edmonton Jewish News
Purim Awakens with successful shpiel at Beth Shalom Mordi Ben Kanobi wants the entire Jewish community to know that “Purim Awakens” held at Edmonton Beth Shalom Synagogue on March 23 was truly an amazing celebration. “Once again Beth Shalom served as a unifying force for the entire Jewish community wanting to celebrate Purim in our urban/downtown location!” said Kanobi aka Rabbi Kliel Rose. The event was also supported by the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, Camp BB, Temple Beth Ora and Our Parents Home. “As of Wednesday morning we had 70-75 folks registered,” explained Rabbi Rose, whose costume matched the event’s Star Wars theme. “But by the time the event started there were over 200 people in attendance, the first time in 20 years that our Purim event drew such a large crowd.” “This event would not have been such a huge success without the tremendous support from our Purim Shebang coordinator Shira Spring,” noted Rabbi Rose. He also gave a special thanks to David M. Mannes, Chloe Soibelman, Kyle Huberman, Steven Katz, Jerrod Henoch, Faren Hochman, Ari Sniderman, Karen Cogan, Phyllis Salzburg, Sydney Cogan-Grahn, Judith Boyle, Mitchell L. Weinberg, Howard Davidow, Jeff Rubin, Gaylene Soifer, Karen Goldstein, Jared Paull, Howie Sniderman, Moreh Ben
Cont. from p 3
The phone-call to Diskin is made and the race is on. It is 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Most of the stores are closed. But Diskin will not allow children to enter Yom Tov clothing-less. Volunteers are alerted and cars are dispatched. At the last minute, one storekeeper is found lowering the shutters on his window and Diskin implores him to reopen. The storekeeper is gracious. He unbolts the door and flicks open the lights. He waits patiently as the children try on and deliberate and finally decide on their purchases. The outfits are bought. Now the children need socks and tights and shoes and bows; everything, from the bottom up. What does a mother do in this case? That’s exactly what Diskin does. They call friends and relatives and neighbors of storeowners. They beg, cajole, plead and press, with tears and blessings and promises of extra payment. Who can remain indifferent to the plight of orphans who cannot shower for Yom Tov because they do not own a fresh change of Yom Tov clothing? Kindhearted storeowners melt under the impassioned pleas. They apologize to their families, jump into their cars
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Ragosin and the Talmud Torah Choir members and so many other fabulous volunteers. This year for the first time those in attendance had the pleasure of taking Purim pictures with a high tech photo booth brought to the event by the great folks – Judith & Dave – from TapSnap Photo Booth Rentals. The Rabbi also thanked the shul’s staff – Helena & Purim fun at Beth Shalom with Shpielers Moreh Ari Sniderman and Howie Robert Cummings – for their Sniderman. support as well as to Bozena and Vera for a very delicious Purim Shpiel was dynamite and the actors were divine…” meal. “Baby I was born to Shpiel!!!” concluded Rabbi Rose. “For the 2nd year we utilized a great interactive To view more wonderful photos of the event including the multimedia Megillah reading with an additional option of a Purim Bingo for the kids,” added Rabbi Rose. “Our Megillah Megillah reading, the Purim Shpiel and some great readers were meshuganeh magnificent,, thanks to the “Dr. costumes visit edmontonjewishnews.com. Katz twins” – Jerry & Steven (not related) and of course the and speed back to their shops. They wipe the weariness off their faces and smile to young orphans who have lost their mother only four days ago; who have risen from mourning only 2 hours ago; who, after consulting with a rav, are waiting to buy clothing for Yom Tov that is approaching in a mere 3 hours. And up on High, their mother looks down and smiles. Her precious children are clad like princes and princesses in honor of Yom Tov. She knows that Hashem has not abandoned her family. There is someone worrying for them: angels of mercy by the name of Diskin. ……. The above scenario, (that occurred this past Sukkos, 5776), captures the essence of the legend called Diskin. It is one tiny heartwarming chapter among hundreds, the story of a fund that is the closest thing to a father or mother for thousands of orphaned children. And the story has not begun today. For the past 130 years, Diskin has served as a home for Klal Yisrael’s orphans. From the day it was founded by Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin, zatzal, until today, it has been a source of rescue and support to thousands of orphans and their families. This year, too, as Pesach approaches, Diskin provides
thousands of vouchers to orphaned families so that they can clothe their children in honor of Yom Tov. Orphans must no longer walk around branded. In the merit of Diskin’s untiring efforts, they can dress with dignity and pride, shopping in the same fashionable stores as their friends do. They can wear quality clothing that not only does something for their image, it does something for their heart; it mends that invisible gash just beneath their necklines and allows it to heal just another little bit. ………………… Does anyone have an inkling of the value of an orphan’s smile on High? Can anyone imagine the rewards Hashem bestows on those who make that smile possible? In honor of this Pesach, let us be among those who do. Let us offer a gift of true happiness to an orphaned family. And let us treasure the warranty that comes along with it. For Hashem, the Father of all orphans, guarantees: “Im atah mesameiach es sheli… b’yamim tovim shenasati lecha, ani mesameach es shelach. If you bring joy to mine… during the yamim Tovim that I gave you, I will bring joy to yours...” (Midrash Tanchuma, Parashas Re’eh.) For information visit diskin.org.il.
Edmonton Jewish News
Negev Gala honours a Canadian hero in Diabetes Research By Sari Uretsky Leung In 1921, one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine was made. Two Canadian doctors, Dr. Fredrick Banting and Dr. Charles Best discovered how to produce insulin. It was a discovery that would forever change the world of diabetics. Today, Dr. James Shapiro and his team of researchers are pioneering diabetes research and treatment right here in Edmonton. On June 23, 2016, Jewish National Fund Edmonton and the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University – Edmonton Branch will pay tribute to Dr. Shapiro at the 2016 Negev Gala at the Timms Centre for the Arts, University of Alberta. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 14 years old. Type 1 means that your pancreas, specifically the cells that produce insulin (Islet Cells), no longer do so. It is still uncertain why this occurs but we were told it was likely a virus that made my immune system mistakenly attack my Islet cells, as I had no family history of Type 1 Diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that is released into the body when your blood sugar levels rise and allows your body to use the sugar from your blood stream as energy. Without insulin, a person would go into a coma and die. This is why the discovery of insulin was so ground breaking. More than 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes and complications include hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulation restriction leading to amputations, to name a few. The average medical expenses for a diabetic are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes. Though insulin therapy has kept people alive, it is not a cure. People with diabetes have to test their blood sugar levels between 3 and 8 times daily by poking their fingers and drawing blood. They have to count the amount of carbohydrates they plan to consume, adjust their insulin dosages for the amount of exercise they plan to do, adjust for stress levels, for the type of carbohydrates they want to eat, and for current blood sugars and hope that what they calculate as the correct dose of insulin is correct. Then they take their insulin either through a needle or an insulin pump and then do it all again next time they want to eat or exercise. A simple cold or infection may drastically change all calculations. For the last 29 years I have endured this routine and also the hypoglycaemic episodes that occurred daily for me. Keeping in “tight control” meant the risk of having low blood sugars often. These can be dangerous and must be treated promptly. I have been lucky not to have many of the complications of diabetes thus far, although, I was starting to become desensitized to low blood sugars, which can be a lifethreatening condition. My biggest fear however, is that one day one of my children will become diabetic and have to endure everything I do. One evening, my husband and I were watching the news and a report came on about Islet cell transplants and some new research that was occurring here in Edmonton. I had never considered this procedure before as it required people to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives. Furthermore, before islet cell transplants were introduced, whole pancreas transplants were used primarily for those requiring another organ transplant. I did some research and made an appointment to find out more about the current possibilities for transplant.
Islet Cell Transplantation is not a cure, it replaces one chronic condition with another. It requires a lifetime commitment of medications, clinical appointments, special tests and procedures but it offers a better quality of life. Although the aim of the treatment is to achieve full insulin independence, it is not always possible, and Sari Uretsky Leung, an avid dancer and fitness enthusiast, was recently the often requires two to three recipient of an Islet Cell Transplant under the care of Dr. James Shapiro and his transplants. What can be team. She encourages the whole community to attend the 2016 Negev Gala on maintained in the long June 23 and celebrate their achievements. term is freedom from low blood sugar episodes, stable blood glucose levels and that this was all well worth it. Hearing stories from other excellent glycemic control. The protocol for current Islet transplant patients and the wonderful successes they have Transplantation has been named “The Edmonton Protocol” had fills me with hope and encouragement for my life and as it was developed right here in Edmonton, by Dr. James that of my family. Shapiro and Dr. Peter Senior. People from all over the world Dr. James Shapiro is being honoured at this year’s Negev come here to learn and bring back the latest information to dinner. He continues to lead the way in diabetes research their transplant teams. Weighing the pros and cons and and is currently working on exciting new ways to use stem knowing I would be treated and taken care of by the very cells in small implants to actually cure diabetes. I think best, I was ready to apply. there is finally true hope that there will be a cure for Type 1 In December of 2015, I was placed on the transplant list Diabetes in my lifetime or at least in my children’s. I hope and the waiting game began. On March 5, 2016, I received you will sincerely consider supporting the Negev Dinner and a phone call telling me to be at the University hospital joining me and my family in honouring the next Canadian within two hours. A deceased donor who was a match for me hero in diabetes research. From Banting and Best to was found! Since then, I have had more blood tests and Shapiro and Senior. blood pressure checks and shots of blood thinners and blood Sari Uretsky Leung is the Artistic Director of the Aviv sugar pokes then I ever could have imagined was possible. I Israeli Folk Dance Association in Edmonton. was on heavy drugs to wipe out my immune system and prep for the procedure. They were able to harvest the Islets and infuse them into my liver through a rather large needle. When Dr. Shapiro came to see me on rounds he nodded and said “good job.” I’ve learned he is a man of few words but I trust him implicitly. After three days in hospital I was sent home to let the Islets rest and hope that they make a new home in my liver. At this point, three weeks after my transplant, I still do not know how well these Islets are working and it will take another three to four weeks to know for sure, but I recently ate my first meal in close to 30 years without taking any extra insulin! I have been listed for a second transplant already and am optimistic
Edmonton Jewish News them on our religious documents, such as bills of marriage and divorce! How much more concerned must we be about supporting them throughout our societal and political interactions! Second, we are bound by the principle of dina d’malchusa dina – we must obey the law of the land. Believe it or not, it is still treasonous to act against the monarchy. And so unless they are corrupt or oppressive, we are halachically obligated to support them. The third reason is practical and has to do with our love for the State of Israel and the safety and security of our brothers and sisters in Israel. Recently, British Prime Minister David Cameron criticised ‘settlement construction’ in ‘East Jerusalem.’ In 1967, Israel captured the eastern part of its capital city from Jordan. Prior to 1967, no modern sovereign nation-state had ever laid claim to the area. And so when Israel claimed it as its own, it did not steal it from anyone. Contrary to popular myth, the Palestinian people never owned the territory and in fact rejected the United Nations’ offer to have it in 1947. And so despite the fact that the nations of the world wanted to recognize that piece of land as Palestinian territory, they never claimed it as their own. Israel was the first modern state to stake a legal claim in the eastern part of Jerusalem. To draw an analogy closer to home, although there were indigenous people living in the land that today we call Canada, those people never staked a modern legal national claim to the land. The first do so were the British and therefore Canada today is under the rule of the Queen of England. And so when PM Cameron criticizes Israel for building homes in East Jerusalem, he might as well criticize every public action carried out by the Canadian government, with the approval of the Queen’s representative, the GovernorGeneral. Who gives them the right to build on land belonging to Inuit and First Nations people? In other words, as long as Great Britain retains its stake in Canada, as long as the monarchy remains in place as our sovereign ruler, Britain has absolutely no right to criticize Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem or the Golan! Of course, the major difference between Israel’s ‘occupation’ and Britain’s is that nobody denies that the
Passover and the British Monarchy By Rabbi D. Friedman Beth Israel In 2005, Queen Elizabeth II came to Alberta for our centennial celebration. Rabbanit Batya and I had the good fortune of being invited to the official state dinner with the Queen. Nevertheless, she didn’t limit her interactions to leaders of the province; she made sure Rabbi Daniel Friedman to make a number of public appearances, including a visit to the Provincial Museum, which was subsequently renamed the Royal Alberta Museum. My mother-in-law, Sylvia, happened to be in town and was thrilled to have the opportunity to greet the Queen. Spending her formative years in France, she had always had immense respect and wonder for the royal family and was also looking forward to reciting the special bracha one makes when one sees a monarch. Anticipating busy crowds, Sylvia set out early to get a good spot on the road where the procession was due to take place. Can you imagine her surprise when she was first in line and only about a hundred people showed up to greet the Queen?! The truth is, many people believe that the monarchy is an antiquated relic of earlier forms of human progress. In our age of tabloid magazines, respect for the royal family has all but disappeared. Is it not time to become a republic? Particularly, at this time of year, as we approach Passover and celebrate our freedom from the Egyptian monarch, Pharaoh, many of us probably ask why we would support the rule of Queen Elizabeth II. Isn’t it time we freed ourselves of the shackles of monarchic rule? As tempting as it may be to jump on the republican bandwagon, as Jews we have many important reasons to be staunch supporters of the monarchy. Firstly, the Talmud (Gittin 80) states that we must be so concerned for good relations with the gentile monarch that we must recognize
May the warm and beautiful traditions of Passover bring joy to you and your family
Brews and Jews
The Edjge, JNF and JCORE teamed up to host a young professionals pre-Purim Jews and Brews party at the Fantasyland Hotel. Pictured above Shane Asbell and Rabbi Kaplan. British came here from abroad and colonized Canada. In contrast, everyone agrees that the Jewish people are the true indigenous inhabitants of the Land of Israel! The only complication is that for the two thousand years that most of our nation lived in exile from our homeland, others came and repopulated the area. And so upon our return home, they too claimed indigenous status. But never did they claim to establish a nation-state; and never did Israel occupy sovereign territory that belonged to anyone else. Really, we should not have to defend our right to the Land of Israel. Anyone who has ever read the Bible, or studied a little history or archaeology knows who the rightful owners of Israel are. But until Moshiach comes, we live in an international society and we must play by their rules. L’shana haba b’Yerushalayim!
Edmonton Jewish News
Another film in the program is “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” a drama written and directed by Natalie Portman and based on the novel by Israeli writer Amos Oz. Set in Jerusalem, the film tells the story of a woman who slowly falls into depression during the development of the State of Israel. The story is powerful and the cinematography is flawless. It is also a great opportunity to see Portman as the lead, speaking fluently in Hebrew and delivering a fantastic performance. For those looking for a more cheerful story, there is the Israeli film “Peter the Third.” “If I had to pick a favourite it would be “Peter the Third.” I thought in the first five-ten minutes: it’s fast, it’s zippy, it’s clever, it grabs you in. I really liked that one a lot,” Koplowicz enthused. For music fans, there is “Rock in the Red Zone,” a political documentary about musicians in Sderot, a southern city in Israel that is regularly attacked by rocket missiles from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In the film, the Closing the 2016 Edmonton Jewish Film Festival on May 24 is director Laura Bialis travels to the city to the highly acclaimed film "Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of portray these artists whose lives are constantly Sholom Aleichem." under threat. Along with the screenings, the EJFF will also engaging documentary that will surely be a crowd-pleaser. announce the first recipient of the inaugural Earl Parker With Bikel’s passing last year, the film is a great tribute to Award for Jewish Film. Having opened the competition last the Oscar-nominee and Emmy award-winning actor. month, the festival hopes to receive submissions from across Viewers can look forward to seeing Bikel perform on screen, the country. singing his songs and playing the roles he was most “It’s open to anyone, any age, Jewish or not. It just has to renowned for. be a Jewish film project,” Koplowicz explained. By allowing The 2016 Edmonton Jewish Film Festival will run from anyone in Canada to apply, the festival reaches a broader May 15 to May 18 and again from May 22 to May 24 at public. “In a way it puts our festival a bit more on the map,” Landmark Cinemas 9 in Edmonton City Centre. For more Koplowicz continued. For a complete application form, information and to purchase tickets, visit: please contact Orna Richter at email@example.com. The http://www.jewishedmonton.org/edmonton-jewish-filmdeadline for submissions is April 15, 2016. The $500 prize festival-home. The EJFF has a blog too! Make sure to visit will be awarded at the reception for sponsors on opening that as well at: http://ejff2016.tumblr.com. night. See you at the movies! The festival will close on Children May 24 with the screening of Healthcare “Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes Women of Sholom Aleichem,” an
Edmonton Jewish Film Festival Gears Up for its 20th Anniversary By Esther Viragh Spring has finally arrived in Edmonton. For those of us who hate the winter, this is a genuine relief. With the warm weather come the best festivals the Jewish community has to offer, including the Edmonton Jewish Film Festival, which takes place May 15- 18 and 22-24, and is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary! “I’m very excited. I think we have some very good films that we’ve picked out this year,” said festival organizer Sam Koplowicz. Every year, Koplowicz pre-screens dozens of films and selects 25, which are not only the best in his eyes but also the most diverse. These films are then passed on to the Film Selection committee to watch and vote upon. This year, 11 were chosen for their relevance, intelligent storytelling and visually stunning images. The goal is to offer the very best in contemporary Jewish film chosen from countries from around the world. The festival kicks off on May 15 with the afternoon screening of "Dough," a lighthearted comedy about a Jewish baker and his shop. “This is the kind of film you want to see in the festival. It’s fun, the acting is very good, the script is very good, it has a positive message, it shows diversity, so it has a number of underlying themes that make it really good,” said Koplowicz. After the comedy, an invitation-only reception will be held to thank all of the sponsors who have so generously supported the festival. “I would encourage people to buy a sponsorship because that really furthers one of the objectives of the festival, which is to provide funds for the P2G program,” Koplowicz urged. That is the portion of the program that allows for exchange trips between Edmonton Talmud Torah students and students from the Emek Hahula School in the Galilee Panhandle. Funding for that portion comes solely from the festival. The festival’s evening opening film will be “Deli Man,” an entertaining documentary about the history and culture of the American delicatessen. “Only the meshugganas (nut cases) go into it,” says David Sax, one of the people interviewed in the film. Why they choose to remain in the business is for the audience to find out.
Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) wishes all our members and friends a joyous Passover Holiday! We are deeply grateful for your generosity and support of our mission, which makes a tremendous difference in the lives of children, patients, and women at CHW projects in Israel.
Claudia Goldman CHW National President
And a Healthy Passover to all our Donors, Supporters and Friends
Alina Ianson CHW National Executive Director CHW Board of Directors
EDMONTON CHAPTER CO-CHAIRS
Michelle & Sam Marcushamer Phone: 780-444-4193 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Hendin & Miriam Cooper CHW Edmonton Co-Presidents
CHW passionately supports programs and services for Children, Healthcare, and Women in Israel and Canada. 1.855.477.5964
Edmonton Jewish News G-d has created for us. But times are tough for so many families in Alberta, and our clients at Kids Kottage are struggling more than ever. When a little one’s mother isn’t even sure how she can manage to keep a roof over her children’s heads, or food on their table, how much time will there be, really, for play this summer? We try our best to help them, supporting them as we do throughout the year with our 24-hour crisis nursery, our parenting and food security courses, our follow up workers and community referrals. But we also offer families the chance to get away and attend our family camps, where their only priority is to spend a few days with their children, growing closer and remembering what’s most important – family. Our camp program teaches these children valuable skills and a sense of self-worth they may be lacking. They learn about leadership, courage, friendship, decision making and inner strength, as well as how to navigate through the
Celebrating G-d’s Gifts this Spring By Kids Kottage Spring is finally here, and as we celebrate the end of another long winter, we also turn our minds and our hearts to G-d, thanking him for the gift of life he granted to us all during the Passover. There is so much that we have to be grateful for during this Passover, celebrating with our families, our friends, and filled with love for G-d and the world around us. Here at the Kottage, as the days grow longer and the last of winter’s chill fades away, we’re filled with that gratitude too. We are surrounded by G-d’s gifts every day, and the most precious of those gifts are children. For them, spring is a time of hope, excitement for the future, where summer lies just around the corner, filled with seemingly endless months of freedom, growth, and exploration in the wonderful world
Seventy percent of Israelis will be joining those ladies in banishing the hametz from their homes and digestive systems for the week. But while they will be cleaning, shopping and dusting off their Passover recipe books, puzzling out how to get through this week without bread, pasta and rice, I’ll be chilling out and stocking up on the banned goodies before they perform their annual weeklong disappearing act. Although we choose not to rid our house of hametz or refrain from eating it, it doesn’t mean we don’t honor or celebrate the holiday; we do. For the past six years I’ve been taking turns hosting the seder – and yes, that part we do without the presence of hametz at the table. We read the Passover Haggadah, we dip our fingers in wine as we recite the plagues, we recline. But mostly we wait for the bit where we can eat the food, sing the songs and let the kids hunt for the afikomen. In hol hamoed, the week after the seder, Israeli supermarkets hide their wheaty wares on burka-dressed shelves, forbidden to purchasers one and all. Most restaurants keep kosher and the whole country is shrouded in a barbecue fog as Israelis cook up their choice of the tastiest alternative to wheat – meat! We tend to eat at
On living in Israel and not keeping kosher for Passover By Nerys Copelovitz (Kveller via JTA) -- So I’m just going to come right out and say it: We don’t keep kosher for Passover. I feel a bit like a party-pooping high school senior who chooses not to go to the prom revealing that. After all, we moved to Israel to bring our kids up Jewish and live close to our Israeli family. But we are secular Jews and the simple truth is that we pick and choose how we observe in line with our beliefs about what’s important for us and what’s not. I’ve read on Kveller about how Mayim Bialik makes her Passover meaningful, how Amanda Bradley secretly loves Passover and Tamara Reese’s wonderful ideas to make observance less intimidating. I applaud and respect all those suggestions, opinions and choices. I know that people who observe the holidays from a strong sense of spirituality and tradition get a tremendous amount of nourishment from them. That’s something to envy.
woods, shoot a bow and arrow, weave a dreamcatcher, or any number of other camping skills. Years after our kids have these experiences, they still talk to us like it was just yesterday. This spring, it’s another of G-d’s gifts that we’re so grateful for: the support of the community that has enabled us to keep helping these families, for the past 20 years. With your help, we are changing children’s lives and teaching them that the world is much bigger than the little part of it they’ve seen so far. For information visit kidskottage.com home during this period, delving into our pile of forbidden hametz like thieves. If we feel a little like “outsiders” in the swimming sea of observance, it’s OK. It’s true in a way that we are choosing all the fun, warm and fuzzy bits of the holiday while ignoring the restrictive, roll-up-your-sleeves challenging parts. As secular Jews, the rules and dogmas of religion don’t play a big role in our lives. I don’t think it makes us any less Jewish – it just makes us less observant. We are still book-loving, family-hugging, charity-giving, kugel-eating Zionists struggling to make it work in our homeland and to find a way that’s meaningful to us. Even without observing the weeklong prohibition of hametz, my kids still learn about the history of their people at school and from the seder, and they are still laying down traditions to be carried over to their children. They inhale the spirit of the holiday, even if practically we don’t do everything that Exodus commands us to do. So happy and kosher Passover to those of you who do – and just happy Passover to those of you who don’t. May we always be free to determine our own way. (Nerys Copelovitz lives in Israel, where she is the mother to two teens and a first-grader. You can catch her ruminating on Jewish, Israeli and parenting issues on thoughtfondue.com.)
Edmonton Jewish News
Cultural photo exhibit graces the foyer at Talmud Torah School by Regan Treewater-Lipes “Synagogues of East-Central Europe 1782-1944” is an internationally acclaimed touring exhibit sponsored by the Hungarian Embassy in Ottawa, full of history and culture. Such a collection of scholarly treasures would certainly only be found in a museum, a gallery or perhaps a university. But for two weeks in March this world-class exhibit was housed in none other than our very own Talmud Torah School! Following its run at the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies (University of Alberta) the collection graced the foyer and library of Talmud Torah, transforming the entrance into a vivid walk through history. Generously provided by the Hungarian Embassy, this exhibition of photography is “a journey in space and time, displaying aspects of Jewish life and its economic and cultural flourishing within multi-national empires,” states Peter Kirschner (President of the Hungarian Jewish Cultural organization). But a school full of children was certainly not the originally targeted audience. What could kids ranging in age from 5-15 really gain from a presentation designed for adult patrons? “I thought that because it was very visual, with lots of beautiful photography, it might be appealing to younger schoolchildren. It could also help them think about what a synagogue is and how they can be designed to look so many different ways,” says Professor Joseph Patrouch, director of the Wirth Institute. In fact, it both appealed to and captivated classes of students as their teachers filed them past each piece. It was striking how varied their reactions were – some stared intently, some spotted similarities between their own shuls and the grand opulence of those in the photographs; others were seized by images of destruction and fell instantly speechless. Later, a four-year-old girl stopped and asked me, “Are these pictures of Israel?” I told her they were not, and explained that the pictures came from many places Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, just to name a few. She looked confused, “Jews live in those other places too?” she asked me. Her mother then joined us and followed her daughter’s gaze to the ornate bima of Prague’s Old New
Synagogue. “I’ve been there,” she said enthusiastically, and her daughter’s eyes widened further. Then with excitement and curiosity Wirth Institute Director Joseph Patrouch with TTS Admin Assistant Natalie the little girl switched to Soroka, Principal Judith Boyle and Adam Chrobak, Hungarian Research Hebrew and began Coordinator at the Wirth Institute. peppering her mother with the general public upon appointment. questions. Needless to say, with the Wirth Institute’s dedication to Principal Judith Boyle, of Talmud Torah School, very Jewish Studies – both research and education – our Talmud correctly pointed out that this exhibition was not only Torah students can potentially access an incredible resource significant for the unique and enriching experience it to better understand their heritage from a scholarly provided to the children, but it also resonated deeply with perspective, augmenting the comprehensive Jewish the educational faculty and staff. Many of them were able to education they receive at school. After the retirement of the trace their own lineages to the Central European towns and University of Alberta’s last professor of Jewish Studies, it is cities depicted in the photographs. both reassuring and comforting to see that the Wirth Through the kindness of the Wirth Institute, Talmud Institute has put such emphasis on both Jewish history and Torah’s students were able to get to know these powerful Holocaust memory preservation. In fact Professor Patrouch images over several days – becoming more and more familiar was even a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of with the complex and striking significance of the exhibit Jerusalem in 2014, and has since been working diligently on each time they walked into the school. Such a shared strengthening opportunities for scholarly exchange and endeavour as this – spearheaded by Professor Patrouch and cooperation between HUJ and the U of A. his Wirth Institute colleagues – is one that should be This newly forged relationship between Talmud Torah showcased and celebrated. This extension of generosity has community and the Wirth Institute has tremendous paved the way for future intellectual exchanges and potential to further our children’s already rich educational scholarly opportunities for our young budding intellectuals. experience – to inspire them to ask questions, and learn how Founded in 1998 the Wirth Institute has demonstrated a to appreciate the academic search for answers. I don’t know profound commitment to the preservation of Jewish memory if that little four-year-old girl will remember the passion and culture – but this educational commitment is not limited with which she started asking her mother about Prague’s to U of A students. It also welcomes the greater Edmonton Old New Synagogue, or if those older students who visited Jewish community, including -- as we have seen -- our the exhibit with their teachers grasped the magnitude of youngest members. Since 2007 the Tova Yedlin Lecture what this collection of photographs symbolizes for the Jewish Series has brought world renowned scholars from all corners world. As the sombre day of Yom Ha’Shoah grows closer, I of the globe to publicly lecture on topics concerning Jewish doubt there is anyone who can ignore the colossal life in Central Europe during the 19th century. Since 2004 importance of preserving Jewish history and culture – and the Toby and Saul Reichert Holocaust Lecture Series has the continued efforts of the Wirth Institute aims to do just proudly presented lectures on Holocaust education. And that. most recently the Wirth Institute founded the Rudolf Vrba As Peter Kirschner assures, “We also seek to remind Holocaust Reading Room which houses a collection of rare future generations of the immense responsibility to ensure books and archival materials and is even open to members of that no such disaster ever befall humanity again.”
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Edmonton Jewish News themes, customs and foods. The clever clues, from A to Z, are thought-provoking and range from easier spotthe-answer picture puzzles to more challenging questions (“At last the Jews had found their home, how many long years did they roam?) that will keep kids engaged and entertained. Balsley keeps things interesting with a variety of activities, including puzzles, mazes, riddles and maps. There's an illustrated answer key at end, along with a brief explanation of the holiday. More Than Enough: A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland; illustrated by Katie Kath (Penguin Random House; ages 3-5; $16.99) This lively book is a riff on the Passover favorite “Dayenu,” a song that echoes with the theme of gratitude. Readers follow a contemporary family as it readies to celebrate the holiday, including a trip to the farmer's market, where it doesn't take much to convince mom to adopt a kitten from a shelter. They chop apples for charoset, dress up for grandmother's seder and hunt for the afikomen. The word “dayenu” repeats throughout the story. The colorful, cartoon-like illustrations bring the story to life — many are full-page or double-spread. The happy ending includes a Passover sleepover. The book concludes with an author's note, glossary and the music to “Dayenu." Kayla and Kugel's Almost Perfect Passover by Ann Koffsky Apples & Honey Press; ages 3-5; $9.95 In this second "Kayla and Kugel" book, the fun starts right away as the young girl and her dog invite readers into their home for a seder. When Kayla makes her own Haggadah, the rambunctious Kugel gets tangled in the ribbon and knocks over the glue. In simple, easy-to-follow verse, Kayla tells young readers some of the basics of a seder. She smiles at the sweet taste of charoset, but her braids stand on end and she scrunches her face at the bitter taste of maror, symbolizing slavery. Kids will enjoy the mayhem when the mischievous Kugel sets the family off on an adventurous hunt for the afikomen. The end pages include a search-and-find activity. The author's note from Koffsky poses open-ended, engaging questions to spark family conversations, such as “Why do you think many holidays have songs to go with them?” A Place for Elijah by Kelly Easton Ruben; illustrated by Joanne Friar Kar Ben; ages 5-9; $17.99 This endearing story — the first Jewish picture book from the acclaimed author of “The Outlandish
Passover books for one kid — or many By Penny Schwartz (JTA) — Afikomen hunts, a rambunctious pup and the catchy classic "Dayenu." All are featured in a half-dozen new Passover books for children that will inform and entertain even the littlest kid — or a whole herd of 'em. The eight-day holiday kicks off this year on the evening of April 22. Why not pick up a new tome for the tyke in your life? Prices are about two zuzim and up. Passover is Coming by Tracy Newman, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli Kar-Ben; ages 1-4; $5.99 This colorful board book is the latest addition to a lively series that introduces young kids to the Jewish holidays. Here, the green buds of spring are the first hint that Passover is coming. Readers follow a family as it prepares for the holiday, from spring cleaning and using home-grown parsley for the seder plate to learning the Four Questions and anticipating the hunt for the afikomen. The joyful refrain — "Passover is coming!"— repeats at the end of each verse and is sure to build excitement as the date approaches. Pesach Guess Who? by Ariella Stern; illustrated by Patti Argoff Hachai; ages 3-5; $9.95 Hachai continues to create lively, interactive books appealing to haredi Orthodox families. Young kids will enjoy the rhyming clues to “who am I” questions — “I'm a food that's baked in a hurry, but I still taste great, don't worry!”— in this lift-the-flap book about Passover. The whole mishpacha – mom, dad and the five kids – all lend a hand to sweep and clean the house. They watch as workers bake handmade matzah and make startled faces as they bite into the bitter herbs. The end page poses a series of holiday observance questions (the answer key is color- and numbercoded) and there’s a glossary, too. ABC Passover Hunt by Tilda Balsley; illustrated by Helen Poole Kar-Ben; ages 3-8; $17.99, hardcover; $7.99, paperback A lively alphabet hunt is on in this large format, brightly illustrated book that introduces young kids to Passover
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Adventures of Liberty Aimes” — opens on the first night of Passover as a young girl named Sarah is anxiously setting the table, making sure to include a place for Elijah. As the seder unfolds, a rainstorm and cold winds threaten Sarah's neighborhood, and there’s a power failure. The lights stay on in Sarah’s home, however, and one by one, the neighbors appear at the family's door and Sarah sets another place. First it's Mrs. Faiz, the florist, then Bagel Ben and Doughnut Dan. Kids will take notice when Music Man Miguel and his mischievous monkey Manny join the growing crowd. But when the young boy who sells magazines arrives, Sarah is worried that there is no longer a seat for Elijah. Kids will be surprised by the story's satisfying end. The large illustrations match the gentle tone of the story and capture the multicultural life of the neighborhood. Ruben told JTA she was inspired by the Haggadah passage “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” She wanted to evoke the sense of tolerance and welcoming strangers – a prominent theme of the seder.
Edmonton Jewish News
What’s on at the 2016 Edmonton Jewish Film Festival Here is a peek at the feature films that will be screened at the upcoming Edmonton Jewish Film Festival, from May 1518 and 22-24 at the Landmark Cinema 9, City Centre. For ticket information and to look at the trailers visit jewishedmonton.org/filmfest. Dough (2015) Director: John Goldschmidt (United Kingdom) Language: English Genre: Comedy/Drama Sunday May 15 at 3 pm (94 minutes) An old Jewish baker (Johnathan Pryce) takes on a young Muslim apprentice (Jerome Holder) to save his failing London kosher bakery. When his apprentice's marijuana stash accidentally falls in the mixing dough, the challah starts flying off the shelves! Dough is a warm-hearted and humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places. Deli Man (2013) Director: Erik Greenberg (USA) Language: English Genre: Documentary Sunday May 15 at 7:30 pm (90 minutes) This fun and entertaining documentary serves up a mouth-watering look at Jewish deli in North America, as it salutes the inspired owner-operators who keep the savory, nostalgic food and culinary tradition alive. Rock in the Red Zone (2014) Director: Laura Bialis (Israel) Language: Hebrew with English Subtitles Genre: Documentary Monday May 16 at 8 pm (87 minutes) On the edge of Israel’s Negev Desert lies Sderot, a city of factory workers and rock musicians, the children of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. Despite being pummeled for years by homemade missiles, the people of Sderot persevere, all the while creating unique musical rhythms that have transformed Israeli music. A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015) Director: Natalie Portman (Israel/USA) Language: Hebrew with English subtitles Genre: Drama Tuesday May 17 at 8 pm (95 minutes) Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman stars in this extraordinary adaptation of Amos Oz’s celebrated memoir. The powerful saga is Oz’s love letter to his mother (Portman), who struggles with postwar realities and her own depression while raising her son in Jerusalem at the end of the British mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. Kapo In Jerusalem (2014) Director: Uri Barbash (Israel) Language: Hebrew with English subtitles Genre: Drama, History Wednesday May 18 at 8 pm (98 minutes) In 1946 a pair of Auschwitz survivors arrives in Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, a rumor spreads that Bruno, a doctor, was a sadistic bloc head (“Kapo”) in Auschwitz. Doubt begins to nibble away at Sarah’s heart, while she tries her best to believe in him and support him. The film chronicles a journey through the gradually fading memory into the human and the monstrous, in Auschwitz and after it. Brothers (2008) Director: Igall Niddam (Israel) Language: Hebrew, English (subtitles) Genre: Drama Sunday May 22 at 3 pm (116 minutes) The conflict which arises between two brothers – one a Torah scholar and the other a kibbutznik - reflects that of a society torn between its religious and political principles. With restrictions on the increase and injustices multiplying, Israel today is on the brink of civil war. This film opens a subtle yet essential debate on the question of separation of the state and religion in Israel. Before the Revolution (2013) Director: Dan Shadur (Israel) Language: Hebrew, English (subtitles) Genre: Documentary
Sunday May 22 at 6 pm (60 minutes) Challenging popular misperceptions of permanent enmity in Iranian-Israeli relations, filmmaker Dan Shadur recounts the utopian existence of Israelis living in Tehran. Everything changed with the 1979 overthrow of the Shah and the arrival of the Islamic revolution. What begins as a nostalgic look back at the glory days in the Iranian capital becomes a suspenseful thriller, as the Israeli expatriates flee to safety in the face of shifting political dynamics and rising turmoil. Peter the Third (2015) Director: Tommy Lang (Israel) Language: Hebrew, English (subtitles) Genre: Comedy, Drama Monday May 23 at 3 pm (81 minutes) Peter, a 65 year old widower and a theatre actor who never got a leading role forms the unlikely friendship with Alona, a 28 year old talented waitress who writes blogs in her spare time. Together they form "The Widows and Widowers Party" while his Romanian friends pitch in for their cause. Peter offers Alona a place to stay and wisdom of life. She offers him the leading role of a lifetime. Blind Love: A Holocaust Journey through Poland with Man’s Best Friend (2015) Director: Eli Rubenstein (Canada) Language: Hebrew, English (subtitles) Genre: Documentary Monday May 23 at 6 pm (27 minutes) Blind Love recounts a trip to Poland of six blind Israelis and their guide dogs who took part in the annual March of the Living. The film poignantly captures their special bond
and the importance of building a society where everyone is cherished – young and old, strong and weak, able and disabled – a world not filled with blind hate, but instead with blind love. A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt (2014) Director: Kai Christiansen (Germany) Language: German, English (subtitles) Genre: Biography, Drama, History Monday May 23 at 6 pm (90 minutes) This is the story of a blind hero - Berlin brushmaker Otto Weidt – and the daring rescue of his blind and deaf Jewish employees from the concentration camps as well as his tragic love of Alice Licht, and his desperate journey to save her and her family from the gas chamber. Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem (2014) Director: John Lollos (USA) Language: English Genre: Documentary, Biography Tuesday May 24 at 8 pm (90 minutes) The stories of two beloved Jewish icons are woven together in this enchanting documentary: Sholem Aleichem, the great Jewish storyteller, and Theodore Bikel, troubadour, actor and one of the most popular stage interpreters of Aleichem’s work. The prose of Aleichem (1859–1916) portrays like no one else the true soul of the tragicomic Jewish shtetl life. Fiddler on the Roof, the Broadway and Hollywood musical adaptation of Aleichem’s Tevye the Milkman stories, has immortalized both Aleichem and Bikel, who passed away in 2015.
Edmonton Jewish News
I celebrate Passover because my parents couldn’t By Olga Chernov-Gitin (Kveller via JTA) – My son is 4 1/2, a delightful age when he is still full of sometimes grammatically incorrect sentences that provide a glimpse into the magical and unique way that children see the world. In everything, my husband and I look for teaching moments. Our policy is to tell the truth, even if we need to simplify it a little bit. Like most first-generation Americans, he hears the words “when I was little …” from us a lot. It’s followed by a comparison of how different his American childhood is from our Soviet childhoods: everything from toys and food, to freedom of religion and celebrating diversity. Once we went to our local Chabad for a model matzah baking. At the end, the kids received real shmurah matzah, and the rabbi even mentioned to us that it comes from Dnepropetrovsk, in Ukraine. (When I was little, there were no matzah bakeries in Dnepropetrovsk.) That morning, as I was getting my tortilla out of the fridge, I mentioned to Will that once Passover starts, I won’t be eating any tortillas and we giggled about the difficulty of spreading peanut butter and jelly on matzah without breaking it. Somewhat thoughtfully, Will remarked: “You’ll probably be really sick of matzah by the end of Pesach! Aaaaaand, you can’t have pancakes!” Even though I was already risking being late for work, I decided that the moment was right to share my thoughts on Passover with my son since he had brought it up. “You know what? You’re right, by the end, I do miss real bread,” I said. “But you know what else? I’m really happy when I eat matzah. It reminds me that I’m free to eat it and free to celebrate Pesach. Did you know that when I was little,
Talmud Torah Choir performs
we weren’t allowed to?” Aha! I saw the spark of interest in his eyes; my cue to continue. “When I was little, and even when Grandma Yana was little, we weren’t allowed to celebrate Pesach and eat matzah,” I said. “In the Soviet Union, the government didn’t want Jews to celebrate their holidays. We couldn’t go to Members of the Talmud Torah Choir joined their teacher Moreh Ben Ragosin at the library and learn to both the Beth Israel and Beth Shalom Purim parties last month. make matzah. And Jews couldn’t even speak Yiddish in public. Can you imagine what free of corruption and outside political influence. it would be like if you were only allowed to speak Russian at My son is the new generation that will not know political home and never, ever outside?” oppression and religious suppression. He is the pure generation that hears about things so unthinkable to him Confused surprise flashed across my son’s face. “Is that why everyone only remembers some words in that he probably assumes we exaggerate. Watching him Yiddish but not all?” he asked. “And is that why you want me grow up free and teaching him what it means to be Jewish is to speak Russian? So I don’t forget it like they forgot an honor and a joy. It is something I do openly, buying Jewish books in Barnes & Noble and celebrating holidays in public Yiddish?” Bingo! A connection had been made. It was imperfect, but spaces. These are such simple things, yet so unthinkable for my I’ll take it. parents and grandparents. They managed to pass on what I came back to eating matzah. Yes, I miss hametz by about little they knew out of sight and with some apprehension. I Day 5. But the truth is, Passover is one of my favorite eat matzah for them, to be reminded that Jewish freedom holidays precisely because it celebrates freedom. Freedom of comes with a heavy price. But in today’s America, passing on my Jewish people from slavery, freedom of the significance of that freedom is both my luxury and my refugees/Americans by choice like us to be Jewish, and most responsibility. recently, freedom of self-determination for Jews in Ukraine, Olga Chernov-Gitin is a first-generation American who who joined Ukrainians of all backgrounds to proclaim that lives with her husband and two children in Conshohocken, they, too, Pennsylvania. want to live
Edmonton Jewish News
Israel Advocacy: The Case for a Positive Rethink By Steve McDonald When speaking to Jewish audiences about advocacy, I often refer to my own background as a Jewish convert in making the point that we sometimes have to apply a fresh perspective – and have a collective “out-of-body” experience – to understand the reality of our own circumstances. Sometimes we are too close to the situation to evaluate it with clear eyes and objectivity. Among the many things that make me proud of my father is the fact that, early in his career, he chose to serve the public as a police officer. I have heard it said that police disproportionately interact with the most challenging and marginal elements of society, perhaps just 5% of the public, on a regular basis. Just as one in such a role knows that his or her daily encounters are not representative of broader society, we as Jews – who understandably take notice of antisemitism and anti-Zionism – must be cautious not to attribute these toxic manifestations to the majority of Canadians. I could write an entire series of columns on how we as a community have far more allies in the non-Jewish world than we often realize. Instead, I’ll offer two factors internal to the Jewish world that suggest pro-Israel advocates should be optimistic. 1. There is far greater unity of purpose – and welcoming of diversity – in the Jewish world than we often realize. In the past, there was significant disagreement between Jews on the best means to secure the future of the Jewish people in an often hostile world. The community was split along various lines: between Zionists and non-Zionists, assimilationists and Orthodox Jews, socialists and capitalists. Today, post-Shoah and post-1948, the overwhelming majority of Jews are Zionists in that they believe the State of Israel should exist and thrive as a democratic Jewish homeland. Among Zionists there is extraordinary diversity: we are Labour and Likud, religious and secular, social activist and academic alike. There is ceaseless debate over how Israeli policies can best secure the ideals of Zionism and how Diaspora Jews can engage Israel in a meaningful way. This is all healthy. We wouldn’t be Jews if we didn’t subject these issues to serious thought and debate. But this occurs within a strong consensus that Israel’s existence is fundamentally just, a blessing to the Jewish people and the entire world, and ultimately the centrepiece of our collective future just as it is our ancestral homeland.
Lorne Dach celebrates Purim
These aren’t just clichés; they are ideals brought to life every time a young Jewish Canadian boards a plane for Birthright, challenges anti-Zionism on Facebook, downloads the latest Israeli music, or volunteers for the IDF. 2. Despite facing serious challenges, Israelis are far more successful, happy, and optimistic than we often realize. While Israelis have suffered in every generation from war and terrorism, none of this detracts from the fact that the IDF has proven its capacity to provide Israelis with secure MLA Lorne Dach attended several Purim parties with the Jewish community borders and an this year. He joined in the fun at Talmud Torah School, as seen above with Jr. astonishingly high level of High student Misha Pesin. He also participated in the celebrations at Beth public safety. This is no Israel, Beth Shalom and with Chabad at the Fantasyland Hotel. mean feat in the Middle East, let alone for a country world – ahead of Canada, the United States, and most of smaller than Vancouver Island. Europe. At the same time, Israel has seen remarkable economic What would early Zionist thinkers like Theodor Herzl and and technological success. From 1992 to 2013, Israel-China his contemporaries say if they could read these statistics and trade skyrocketed from $50 Million to $10 Billion annually. walk the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv today? Israeli exports to Europe have nearly doubled since the How often do we forget how far we have come as a people? boycott-divestment-sanctions movement was launched in I had the honour this February of leading a group of 2005. Trade with emerging markets like India has likewise spiked. Outside Silicon Valley, Israel now has the highest Canadian masters-level students on a public policy study trip to Israel, one of many fact-finding missions we organize concentration of high-tech firms on the planet. Success at a macroeconomic level does not mean there (CIJA annually brings some 200 Canadians to Israel). The aren’t serious challenges. The cost-of-living, for example, students, all of whom are non-Jewish, were amazed at the continues to be a burden for many Israelis. But with each innovation, diversity, and vitality shown by Israelis despite passing generation, Israel grows stronger economically and living in the world’s most unstable neighbourhood. They Israelis are afforded greater opportunities to learn, work, instantly saw what we should never lose sight of: a country and a people from whom we can learn so much. and engage the world. Indeed, Israel embodies so much of what’s right in the Israelis also enjoy a remarkably high quality of life. world today – and it is on this basis that we should share all Israelis have the same life expectancy as Canadians (81) and that Israel has to offer with the world around us. Israel boasts a universal healthcare system that typically Steve McDonald is Deputy Director, Communications and beats Canada in international performance rankings. According to the OECD’s 2015 “Better Life Index”, which Public Affairs, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs measures various social and life factors, Israel is the fifth (CIJA) happiest country in the
Edmonton Jewish News
Boys Town Jerusalem at Home with Rabbi “Koby” From the day that young Rabbi Yaakov “Koby” Artzi began his (first) job as the Dorm Parent for twenty-five tenth graders at Boys Town Jerusalem, life began to change in a big way. “We have come together; we care about each other, and we are building something meaningful for ourselves and others,” said 16-year-old Noam Yisraeli. “In short, it’s a revolution!!” For this particular group of students, the revolution came none too soon. “Most come from broken homes or homes beset by illness and poverty," notes registrar Rachel CohenPur. “It was never easy for these boys to concentrate on their schoolwork or their future. That they have become strong, positive young men is a tribute to the energy and love that Rabbi Koby has given.” The rabbi’s day begins at the crack of dawn. Quietly, without waking his wife or infant son, he cooks up a batch of hot cocoa to bring to “his boys” when he wakes them for morning prayers. At their breakfast together following services, Rabbi Koby makes time for a short inspirational message on Jewish ethics. After school, he is in the dorm to welcome the boys back for the afternoon and evening activities which they organize. “When I arrived on the job last year, most of the kids were glued to their mobile phones or sat around the TV in the evenings,” he recalled. “Now the phones have disappeared, and the TV has been off for months.” Instead, the tenth graders are occupied with
projects that they initiated, from fixing up their rec room to writing a weekly newsletter to delving into Jewish sources in search of knowledge. Most important, there is plenty of time devoted to discussing the questions that fill the lives of these adolescent boys. “Every boy – even from the best home – is full of doubts and challenges at Rabbi Koby (centre) with this age,” Rabbi Koby explains. “Someone needs to show them the way, especially those who have no father. I want each boy to realize that he is very important and he has a place here. Mostly, I listen. The boys feel comfortable to open up about something painful at home or at school, and we work to solve the issue.” Clearly, the results are…revolutionary. “Rabbi Koby’s Boys” are a strong, cohesive group with self-confidence and spirit. “Kids who are not in the dorms know that they are missing out,” says Shachar Mordechai. “We are creating a great place to live. We are even raising our own money to buy books, snacks, and more, but we are also taking generations are sprouting gray hairs or wearing glasses, and the older generation is showing the passage of time -- perhaps bearing new wrinkles or suntans, signs of physical struggles or new, post-retirement adventures. The fundamental mitzvah, or obligation, of the seder is "v’higad’ta livincha" -- you shall tell your children on that day. This observance is, at its core, the enactment of the chain of Jewish tradition. Parents tell children our people’s story of enslavement and liberation, of despair and hope, so that all of us will carry the story with us, so that we will be inspired to live out its teachings of justice, of loyalty and of freedom. While the obligation of Haggadah-telling is directed toward parents, it turns out that grandparents and greatgrandparents -- or their contemporaries -- have much to contribute to this transmission. In cultures throughout time, including ours, it is the elders who can best convey tradition to the youth. Older adults have much to draw on -- abundant seder and Passover observances, to be sure, but also life experiences that shed light on the themes of the holiday: oppression,
Around the seder table: from generation to generation By Dayle Friedman (Jewish Exponent) -- On seder night, many of us will return home. Maybe not home to the house in which we grew up, but home to our extended family or to our family of choice. We will come back once again to the same scene -- the familiar aroma of matzah ball soup, a gleaming seder plate and dear ones arrayed around the table. We will sing, recite familiar words and perform rituals that instantly take us back to all the seder nights we have shared in the past. As we gaze around the table, though, we will see that all is not the same. Sadly, some people who have long graced these gatherings are missing, as their lives have ended in the year we’ve been apart. New little ones and spouses have joined. And among the returnees, we see that time has passed. With so many of us living into our 80s and 90s, we can easily have four generations at our seder table. Since last year, children have suddenly grown up, the middle
his boys at Boys Town Jerusalem. responsibility for improving our environment and our Jewish knowledge.” The boys are not alone in their growth. “I am gathering so much new understanding and strength from these students,” says the wise and wonderful Rabbi Koby, who is just under a decade older than his boys. "It is a beautiful revolution – that is working!” For more information visit btjcanada.com or contact the Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem at 416.789.7241 or email@example.com.
limitation, liberation, hope, justice. We can learn from their explicit telling, and also from their implicit telling -- the way they live and have overcome challenges, have stood tall in who they are, or have fallen and striven to get up again. Our connection to wisdom is infinitely enriched by elders -- at the seder and whenever we take time to attend to their stories and insights. At the seder, we open the door to Elijah the prophet. Elijah represents the promise of redemption, when all the world will be released from intolerance, injustice and war. He also represents a narrower, profoundly personal hope. He will, we are told, turn the hearts of parents toward children, and the hearts of children toward parents. At the seder, we are reminded that we can deepen and heal our relationships across the generations as we all grow older. When we are young adults, coming back to the seder may make us aware of what we criticize in our parents, the ways that we are struggling to define ourselves. As we learn and change, and become more settled in ourselves, we can redefine our relationships with parents and older relatives. One gift of today’s extended longevity is the opportunity to
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Edmonton Jewish News their miniature jungle in the very front of the store that contains an impressive array of tropical plants including fig trees, a giant banana and brugmansias with foot-long trumpet shaped flowers and more, providing tangible proof of what can in fact be accomplished. There are also a multitude of other varieties of plants thriving throughout the store as you do your shopping, and the expert staff members are always eager to share free cuttings of any plant in their garden (assuming it can be safely pruned at the time) with anyone eager to try their hand at propagating plants themselves. “We don’t really sell any plants here,” Andrae goes on “we sell the idea of growing plants, and the knowledge and means to do that. With our help, you will never have to be afraid of the challenges of gardening, in whatever terms that may mean to you, and wherever you may find the space to do so.” Truly a unique experience in Old Strathcona! In addition to providing an intense array of organic soil amendments and plant nutrients, custom built hydroponic systems, and the latest in horticultural lighting technologies, All Seasons Garden Centre most importantly provides personalized customer service to help determine the best options for each customer, and to ensure that everyone who comes through their door leaves with a green thumb and a smile. An exciting new product that All Seasons is offering for 2016 are non-GMO seed potatoes, locally grown around Stony Plain and Spruce Grove. “’EarthApples’ seed potato varieties are picked for their great taste and ease of growing, and most can even be grown in containers for those without access to an outdoor garden” says Andrae. “Many people do
It's time to start your garden With Passover just around the corner, the spring festival offers the opportunity to move from hesitation to empowerment. Each year the Seder ends with the declaration of 'next year in Jerusalem,' a Passover resolution if you will. This year make another resolution and fulfill it by grabbing the spade by the handle, and starting your very own garden. In a world increasingly removed from the sources of the very food we eat and indeed from nature in general, few things bring such satisfaction as growing and nurturing plants, whether for our own sustenance or simply to enjoy a little more of the living green world around us in our daily lives. “We have seen an increase in customers wishing to reconnect with their own food supply,” says Andrae Marchak, owner of All Seasons Garden Centre, an independent business that has been meeting the horticultural needs of both novice and experienced gardeners in Edmonton area of Old Strathcona since 1992. “Food prices have been on the rise for a number of years, while the sources and quality of what we eat have become more and more dubious, so there has been a growing movement towards people wanting to know exactly what goes into what they are consuming.” Andrae and his team of knowledgeable staff showcase and demonstrate the proficiency with which one can grow both outdoors and indoors with the right know-how and supplies. Coming into the store is an experience itself, as you first walk in you are transported through the magical world of
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come to new understanding, healing and closeness in our relationships with parents and elders. We can, with work, grow into humility, admitting and accepting our own and our elders’ imperfections. Knowing that the time we have together is not limitless can spur us to let go of grievances and to cherish one another in fresh and lovely ways. The seder can open our hearts and deepen connection across the generations of our families and communities. The Haggadah tells us "bichol dor v’dor," in every generation we are each obligated to see ourselves as if we personally emerged out from mitzrayim, the narrow place. The narrative of the Exodus is our people’s collective story, but it is also our individual one as well. Each of us has
experienced or will yet face narrow straits of discouragement, disappointment and loss. Each of us knows what it is like to feel released, to recover hope and ambition, to head toward our own Promised Land. The elders at our seder table can point the way for us. They can remind us of resilience, for they have faced crisis, survived loss and endured change. They can be models of grit and of discovering the sweet vistas of wide open spaces of possibility after feeling that all was lost. We have only to ask and to listen, to be inspired and encouraged. With our elders as inspiring living examples, we can all emerge in
All Seasons Garden Centre owner Andrae Marchak not realize that so many plants that we usually only think of growing in the ground outdoors can be successfully grown indoors or on apartment balconies with the right approach and materials.” For additional advice and growing tips for this new crop, visit earthapples.com. As we emerge from our winter hideouts into the warmth and brightness of the spring sunshine, we are reminded of what a nourishing activity gardening can be. It is a fulfilling and meditative process that keeps our minds and bodies active, and gives us the opportunity to create our own personal oasis wherever you may find yourself. If you started a garden from scratch now, you could begin to see the "fruits" of your labour by Shavuot, and harvest the real fruits well before Rosh Hashana! All Seasons Garden Centre is located just off of Whyte, at 10027 81 Avenue – for more information about the multitude of services that they provide, simply drop by or call 780-4482385. freedom from our narrow places. We can join together to sing songs of hope, of joy and of praise. Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman offers classes, spiritual direction and training through Growing Older, her Philadelphiabased national practice. Her newest book is the just-released "Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife."
Edmonton Jewish News
between the Talmud Torah Society and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, particularly with regard to potential conflicts of interest for decision makers who sit on both boards. Please note that the opinions expressed in that letter do not reflect the opinions of the editor or staff of Edmonton Jewish News; that is clearly printed as a disclaimer in our credits every month on page 2 of the newspaper. In the last several weeks I have received a number of strong complaints about the letter from both the Jewish Federation and the Talmud Torah Society. They both regard the content as false and the tone as damaging. They give strong assurances that the board members who sit on both boards are smart dedicated members of the community who are volunteering hours of their own time for the betterment of our community resources and they are extremely mindful of potential conflicts and recluse themselves as needed. They also strongly refute the notion of a takeover. I apologize for any personal and organizational damage that has taken place as a result of publishing the letter whose author requested that his/her name be withheld. It is certainly not my intention to damage the reputation of the
School, the Society, the Federation or the board members. Nor would I want to dissuade smart caring members of our community from volunteering on boards. As editor, I was satisfied that the author had knowledge about the current events and had spoken with several Talmud Torah Society board members (past and present) and I myself reached out to some Talmud Torah board members (past and present). As of today, I have been criticized by representatives from both boards for not doing more to verify the accuracy of the letter. Jewish Federation of Edmonton president Ellery Lew disputes the perceptions of the author of that letter and Laurence Abbott on behalf of Talmud Torah Society does the same. This letter from the editor along with their letters to the editor appeared on our website and facebook page immediately after the March edition was published and they appear here in print form. Edmonton Jewish News provides a platform for different viewpoints on matters of interest to our community. Many news outlets do publish letters by authors who have requested that their names be withheld or interview people for articles who wish to remain anonymous. However in light of the current situation, Edmonton Jewish News will henceforth refrain from doing so.
letter prior to publication. Unfortunately, damage to reputations has been done, and the authors who chose to remain anonymous have done a disservice to the Talmud Torah Society, JFED, and our community. The accusations in those letters were engineered to deliberately sow seeds of division by questioning the integrity of members of our community; members who commit their time, energy, wisdom, experience to caring for and sustaining these organizations. Our message to the community is that the TTS Board remains intact and committed to looking after the affairs of the Society. In no way has JFED bullied the Executive of the TTS Board into resigning. With just one exception, all of those who resigned their Executive positions have chosen to remain on as Directors of the TTS Board. Ours is a small community, and, as was expressed in one of the letters, volunteers sometimes wear many hats. Doing so, though, does not prevent them from acting in an ethical fashion. Mor Barzel, Cheryl Goldstein and Steven Shafir are TTS Board members who deserve our thanks for their contributions to so many organizations in our community. They have always acted conscientiously and recused themselves from discussions and decisions in which their respective commitments, relationships and roles may have put them in a perceived or actual conflict of interest. The Talmud Torah Society and JFED are entities that remain
independent of each other. Each organization serves a vital purpose in our community. The Talmud Torah Society is committed to negotiating with the JFED in good faith to determine the feasibility of building a JCC on Talmud Torah Society lands in a manner that is fair and transparent. The suggestion that we would give away our lands to the Jewish Federation of Edmonton is irresponsible and untrue. Additionally, although JFED has rolled out a new process for handling the monies that they allocate for bursaries, they have not imposed any process or expressed any restrictions on the Talmud Torah Society concerning how we supplement these bursaries. The Talmud Torah Society remains committed to ensuring that there are no financial barriers for any family who wants their child to have a strong Jewish education. Finally, we would like to take the opportunity to thank those people specifically named as Executive members in the Letter to the Editor â€“ namely, Rebecca Asbell, Shira Spring, Adam Merrick and Matt Dance for their unwavering dedication to the Talmud Torah School over the past number of months. Their continued support of the Talmud Torah Society and its Board of Directors is key to the future growth and direction of the School. In the interest of reaching out to the community and to the anonymous authors of these letters, we wish to express our sincere interest in a thoughtful and respectful dialogue where we treat each other with dignity, acknowledging that we all care about our school and our community. Letâ€™s move forward in a constructive and positive way. Editor's note: Edmonton Jewish News did in fact contact some TTS members (past and present) to verify the information contained in the original letter to the editor. Since the writing of the above response, TT Society has acknowledged this contact.
Letter to our Readers from the Editor By Deborah Shatz, Editor Edmonton Jewish News (EJNews) - It has come to my attention that there were some inaccuracies printed in a letter to the editor that appeared on page 7 of the March 2016 edition of Edmonton Jewish News and I would like to take this opportunity to correct those errors. The entire board of Talmud Torah Society has NOT resigned. The sentence should have read that several members of the Talmud Torah Society executive have resigned. According to the Talmud Torah board, these members of the executive were not "bullied" into resigning and in fact some are still members of Talmud Torah Society's board, though they no longer hold executive positions. They also did not resign at the behest of the Jewish Federation but each for their own personal reasons. In the rest of the letter to the editor, the writer expresses perceptions and concerns about meetings that are occuring
Talmud Torah Society's Response Submitted by Laurence Abbott Talmud Torah Society Board We, the Board of Directors of the Talmud Torah Society, met on March 14, 2016 to address several issues including the recent letters to the editor published in the Edmonton Jewish News and the Edmonton Jewish Pipeline. Both of these letters erroneously state that the Jewish Federation of Edmonton (JFED) has taken over control of the Talmud Torah Society Board (TTS Board) and that JFED has forced the resignation of the Executive of the TTS Board. The letter in the Edmonton Jewish News additionally states that JFED wishes to dictate to the Society how the latter will handle its monies for bursary supplements. All of these charges are false. At our meeting, we unanimously passed a motion that expressed our collective disappointment and displeasure with the untruths and slanderous accusations in these letters. No one from either publication contacted the TTS Board or offered an opportunity to read or respond to either
To all our readers and advertisers: Thank you for welcoming Edmonton Jewish News into your homes each month. We appreciate your encouragement and participation both in our print edition and on-line at edmontonjewishnews.com. Todah and Chag Sameach to everyone! from Publisher Deb Shatz and Accounts Manager Dan Moser
Edmonton Jewish News The Integrated Bursary Program was announced recently in the Hakol community publication dated February, 2016 and further details can also be found on the Federation website. The program addresses how Federation funds are to be applied for the purpose of providing subsidies to families in financial need. It does not apply to Talmud Torah Society Funds. Decisions about those funds are for the Society only. Federation has no authority to determine how Society funds are or may be used. Conflicts of interest, if any, should be declared and addressed by each organization. If Federation has concerns with conflicts of interest of its Board or Executive, Federation addresses those concerns, and will continue to do so. Neither organization can tell the other what it can or should do about conflicts of interest. Neither organization does. The Integrated Bursary Program and negotiation in respect of the Talmud Torah lands are unrelated. The first meeting of the negotiating committees from both the Edmonton Federation and Talmud Torah was recently held. The meeting was productive and constructive. The committee made decisions as to the process the negotiations will follow and the decisions were nearly all unanimous. To those present, it was patently obvious that the Talmud Torah Society was and is represented by individuals independent of the Federation whose primary concern is, as I said above, the welfare of the Talmud Torah School and Society. None of those representing the Talmud Torah Society in those
Letter from Jewish Federation of Edmonton By Ellery Lew, President The Jewish Federation of Edmonton A “letter to the Editor” was published in the Edmonton Jewish News on March 10, 2016under the headline “What’s going on at Talmud Torah Society?”. In it, the anonymous writer claims, amongst other things, that the Edmonton Jewish Federation has taken over the Talmud Torah Society. That claim is unequivocally untrue. That article goes on to say that the Edmonton Federation: 1. Bullied the entire board of the Talmud Torah Society into resigning 2. Is negotiating “with itself” 3. Intends to “take over” the Talmud Torah land. All of these claims are inaccurate and baseless. Anonymous writer (“caring community member”): it is a shame you did not speak with some of the members of the Talmud Torah Board (past or present) before putting pen to paper. You would have heard the truth. I cannot speak for the members of the Talmud Torah Board. From what I have observed , the vast majority are committed, caring community members themselves, trying to ensure what is in the best interests of the Talmud Torah School, Society and, most of all, the children who attend. Your article fails to give them the credit they deserve.
my father would be in his glory – a true king surrounded by his family ready to retell the exodus story. We sang every single song to every tune that we could remember until late into the night. Today, my home is “Passover Central” where my children and grandchildren gather every year to retell the story and perpetuate our family traditions. This year, when we chant “Next year in Jerusalem,” it will have a very special meaning to our family as my older son and his family are making Aliyah this summer. But the story of Jewish Exodus is more than just one told in prose, prayer and song around the Seder table once a year. Far from over, it continues to unfold in modern day society.
A Passover Message from Linda Kislowicz
(March 28, 2016) Growing up in Montreal, the month between Purim and Pesach was filled with great anticipation. Anticipation of spring, the annual clean up, shopping and preparation of Pesach treats and then the ultimate – the Passover Seder! The Seder in our home was a very memorable event. Our family would gather around the table and
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Page 17 negotiations would permit the Federation to “take over” the Talmud Torah lands (even if Federation did wish to do so, which it does not). It is obvious that both sides intend to work towards an agreement to build a JCC on Talmud Torah lands if the parties are able to come to a fair and equitable arrangement. Federation wants the same result, no more, no less. In particular I would like to thank Rebecca Asbell for her 10-year long and continued commitment and service to the Talmud Torah School and the community in general. I personally believe your letter did her a tremendous disservice. Rebecca remains an active member of the Board of Directors of the Talmud Torah, and has not resigned from her post on that board. The Board, Executive and staff of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton wish for nothing but a strong, viable, healthy Talmud Torah School, literally one the pillars of our community. We also continue to be mindful of our obligations to our donors to ensure Federation funds are used effectively. We will continue to work with our beneficiaries to achieve the proper balancing of both the objectives of providing financial assistance to those in need, and ensuring responsible, effective use of donor funds. We will continue to do so with the help of the Talmud Torah Society and the Federation’s other beneficiaries. On behalf of the Board, Executive and staff of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, we wish the Talmud Torah and its Board continuing success and look forward to constructive negotiations.
Edmonton Jewish News
Happy Passover from Rick, Nikki, Zach and Jordan Vogel Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from the Zeisler Family
from the Greenberg Family Best wishes to my friends and family for a Happy Passover from Judi Card
Happy Passover from Eric and Paula Weil
The Talmud Torah grade 9 students thank the Edmonton Jewish community and Edmonton Jewish News for supporting this holiday greeting fundraising project Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Andrew and Aliya Gergley
Happy Passover from Marina and Yakov Grager Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Robin & David Marcus and family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Heidi, Clive, Max and Sam Oshry
Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Dov and Shira Banks
Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from the Allouche Family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Howard Davidow and Anita Sky
Happy Passover from Mark & Elena Solomonovich
Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Krista, Robert, Aliya, Daniel and Hailey Brick
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Jini Vogel and Andrea Krimberg
Happy Passover from the Mandel family Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Stan and Rosemary Kitay and family Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Martha Kushner and family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Naomi and Morley Wolfman
from Hal Zalmanowitz Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Boris and Teresa Sukalsky Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Melanie, Robin, Lara and Lisa Fainsinger
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from the Rabinovitch Family
Happy Passover from the Sperber Family Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Susan and Murray Lieberman
from the Ohayon Family Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Ron Sorokin, Lisa Redmond, Jaime and Jack Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Linda Goody
Nili Talmor and Michael Handman and family Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Donna and Herb Freedman
Happy Passover from Marcia Bercov Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Lawrie, Nora, Daniella and Jesse Lyman Best wishes to my friends and family for a Happy Passover from Ida Agronin Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Rebecca & Shane Asbell and family
Happy Passover from the Mazor Family
from Helen Rosenberg Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Errol, Renee, Daniel, Ariala and Aiden Raff
Happy Passover from Shira Spring, Rena and Noah
Edmonton Jewish News
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Henry and Lily Cynamon Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Joel, Melany, Jakob, Ruth, Micah and Lev Eitan Allen
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from George and Judy Goldsand and family Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from the Hatch Family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from the Marcovitch Family Wishing our family and friends a Happy Passover. from Lillian and Jack Soroka & Family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Len Dolgoy and Catherine Miller
Happy Passover from Jane, Hersh, Corey and Derek Sobel
from Jane & Randy Soifer and family Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Ken, Natalie, Marlee and Jenna Soroka
Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Robert Aaron
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Freda & Marvin Abugov and family
Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Daniel, Marina, Molly and Hannah Starkman Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from the Karpulis Family
from Ari Sniderman and Faren Hochman Wishing the Jewish community a happy and healthy Passover from Minnie and Harvey Emas
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from the Levine Family Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from the Uritsky Family
Best wishes to our friends and family for a Happy Passover from Jodi, Michael and Rebecca Zabludowski Best wishes to our friends and family for a happy Passover from Dan, Josh and Laura Moser
Edmonton Jewish News want to gently heat the milk so it doesn’t scald. Add the potato pieces to the milk and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Once cooked, set the potato and milk mixture aside. In a separate skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil and the butter over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Place three-fourths of the onion mixture in a blender, and continue to cook the remaining portion until golden brown and more caramelized, another 10 to 12 minutes, then set aside for garnish. Add the potatoes and milk, broccoli, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg to the blender or food processor with the onion; blend until combined. Begin adding the stock until you have achieved your desired consistency, adding more if you need. Season to taste with more salt if necessary. Divide the soup among 4 bowls, top with a spoonful of the caramelized onions, a pinch of nutmeg and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. KALE SALAD WITH CANDIED ALMONDS, APPLES AND MAPLE DRESSING Serves 4 Ingredients: For the dressing: 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil 2 tablespoons (30 ml) maple syrup 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice Salt to taste For the candied almonds: 1/2 cup (69 g) whole raw almonds 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon salt For the salad: 1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves roughly chopped 1/2 cup (75 g) crumbled feta cheese 4 scallions, thinly sliced 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith, Northern Spy or Braeburn), halved, cored and thinly sliced Preparation: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (148 C). To make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated, then set aside.
A light and tasty Pesach lunch By Megan Wolf (JTA) -- Even during Jewish holidays, when food is so abundant, it is possible to eat well. My cookbook, “Great Meals with Greens and Grains,” highlights many of my favorite plant-based, vegetarian recipes that not only are healthy but delicious. And many of its recipes are kosher for Passover or can be easily modified by removing or substituting a single ingredient. The following three recipes would be great when served as a light dairy lunch following a traditionally heavy seder. They are colorful, flavorful and packed with good-for-you ingredients. BROCCOLI AND PARMESAN SOUP Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 heads broccoli 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, divided Salt to taste 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) low-sodium vegetable stock (or more, depending on how thick you like your soup) Preparation: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). Remove the bottom portion of the broccoli stalks and peel the thick outer layer with a vegetable peeler. Separate the florets from the bunch and chop the stalks so that you are using the entire broccoli. Although the stalk is a bit fibrous for a salad, it is perfectly usable for this application. Toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil and salt to taste, spread on a baking sheet and roast until soft and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Heat the milk in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat — you
April 2016 To make the candied almonds: In a bowl, toss the almonds with the olive oil, maple syrup and salt, spread in one flat layer on a parchment- or foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. To make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the kale, feta, scallions, apple and warm almonds, toss with the dressing and serve immediately. Tip: If you don’t have almonds, you can use any other nuts on hand — pecans or walnuts would be delicious. SPICE-RUBBED EGGPLANT WITH QUINOA AND CHERRIES Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 large eggplants, halved, tops left intact For spice rub: 4 teaspoons (8 g) ground cumin 2 teaspoons (4 g) smoked paprika 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil For the quinoa: 2/3 cup (140 g) uncooked quinoa (certified kosher for Passover) 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) water 1/3 cup (53 g) unsweetened dried cherries or raisins 1/3 cup (20 g) chopped parsley, divided 1/3 cup (33 g) thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts), divided Salt to taste 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). To make the eggplant: Place the eggplant halves cut-side up on a nonstick baking sheet. With a sharp knife, score the eggplant diagonally every 1/2 inch (1.3 cm), then run the knife down the center of the eggplant. Be sure to only score the flesh of the eggplant; do not pierce through the skin. To make the rub: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the spice rub. Massage the spice mixture evenly across each of the eggplant halves, being sure to rub it into the flesh. Turn the eggplants cut-side down and roast for 45 to 50 minutes, or until very soft and cooked through. To make the quinoa: Combine the quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and continue to cook until the water has evaporated and the quinoa is fluffy, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix the cooked quinoa with the cherries or raisins and set aside. When the eggplant is cooked, add half of the parsley and half of the scallions to the quinoa, stir to combine and season to taste with salt. Top each eggplant half with equal amounts of the quinoa mixture, then top with remaining parsley and scallion, drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice and serve immediately. Excerpted from “Great Meals with Greens and Grains,” by Megan Wolf. Copyright © 2016 Megan Wolf. Reprinted with permission from Page Street Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
Edmonton Jewish News
This month's update from Talmud Torah School: Purim
It was a busy month at Talmud Torah School but everyone joined in the Purim fun.
The entire school participated in a wonderful Purim carnival; they enjoyed the Megillah reading and eating delicious treats.
All the teachers and students wore colourful costumes and had a great time!
Edmonton Jewish News
Chabad featured Purim fun on a global scale (EJNews) – International Purim was a fitting name for the Chabad of Edmonton’s annual Purim festivities, which were as large and encompassing as the globe itself with 450 community members in attendance. A multimedia Megilla reading was led by Rabbi Mendy Blechman before guests were ushered into the main banquet hall of the Fantasyland Hotel where they were greeted by flags from all over the world, internationally themed decorations on every table and the globe itself, in the form of Rabbi Dovid Pinson. Dressed as a puffy green globe Rabbi Dovid entertained the crowd and emceed the event leading the children on a parade around the room allowing everyone to enjoy their wonderful costumes and traditional Purim merriment. As adults enjoyed appetizers including sushi hamantashen, the room was full of activities for the countless children in attendance. There was a bouncy castle where children could jump, connected to a large inflatable slide. Balloon animals, cotton candy and face painting were also available. A highlight of the night came when Karlheinz
Why Be Jewish: A Testament By Edgar M. Bronfman Published by Signal: March 2016 ISBN: 978-0-7710-1737-7 Reviewed by Deborah Shatz Edgar M. Bronfman was the quintessential zaida at the age of 84 when he imparted his love for Judaism to the world. His journey and his beliefs are poignantly presented in his swan song, recently published testament entitled “Why Be Jewish?” The Canadian billionaire and philanthropist describes Judaism as an ethical way of life that is focused on love for family, love for community, love for nature, and kindness towards others. It is steeped in beautiful and meaningful traditions and rituals. Bronfman acknowledges that the belief in a supernatural deity is a fundamental part of Judaism but he asserts that it is just one aspect of Judaism and that it is not essential to the practice of Judaism. He describes a secular form of the religion where questioning is revered and belief is not mandated – where deed is more important than creed. Bronfman distinguishes himself as a secular Jew rather than an atheist, saying that in the face of the universe’s beauty and complexity he isn’t actually sure of anything. He is not prepared to discount the existence of G-d but nor is he
The Chabad Purim party was a huge success focused on fun for the young and the young at heart. The event featured Rabbi Dovid as a globe as well as reams of children parading around the room showing off their costumes. Photos by Meital Siva and Dan Moser the Bubble Man performed his bubble tricks and put his creative bubbling on display for the crowd. Truly the event was the embodiment of everything that is Purim. For more photos of this wonderful event, visit
edmontonjewishnews.com and enjoy our photo gallery – by Edmonton Jewish News’ accounts manager Dan Moser and Chabad photographer Meital Siva.
a believer in an all knowing entity. With this as his premise, Bronfman reaches out to the disenfranchised, unaffiliated Jews who may also have doubts and are not comfortable praying to a deity and he unfolds for them a practice of Judaism that is loving and nurturing. He says that “Judaism does not demand belief but rather asks us to practice intense behaviors whose purpose is to perfect ourselves and the world.” Bronfman believes that the Judaism tent is large and inclusive and there is certainly room in it for secular Jews who are striving to follow the tenets of Judaism – repairing the outer world (tikkun olam) and repairing our inner world (tikkun middot). Layer by layer, Bronfman describes his own journey of appreciation as it relates to the practice of Judaism. He discusses the many components of Jewish holiday celebration and the performance of rituals, offering possible adaptations to enhance the significance of the “doing” without dwelling on the “believing.” Completed just weeks before his passing in 2013, Bronfman provides anecdotes from his lifetime of experiences to illustrate the beauty and meaning behind what he considers to be key components to the practice of Judaism. He draws from his personal life, from his relationships with family members and friends as well as his business life. He discusses the Torah and the Talmud and the mitzvoth (prescriptions for how to live) as well as hesed (kindness) and tzedakah (justice). He presents several stories from the Bible thoughtfully in terms of the lessons they teach and the moral dilemmas they
pose. He also describes some of the key biblical figures and the roles they play in the foundation of the religion. He outlines the major Jewish holidays and milestones and lovingly discusses the rituals associated with each. In “Why Be Jewish?” Bronfman presents an introductory primer on Judaism to anyone who wishes to learn more about the practice of Judaism. It is a wonderful conversation with a wise man who has much wisdom to impart. There are many who would disagree with his basic premise that Judaism does not require a belief in G-d but no one could dispute the fact that Bronfman loved Judaism and spent his lifetime committed to living a good Jewish life. Edgar M. Bronfman was the longtime CEO of Seagram Company Ltd. He also served for over twenty years as president of the World Jewish Congress and was the founding chairman of the board of governors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Through the Samuel Bronfman Foundationm he nurtured initiatives to cultivate Jewish learning, including the Bronfman Fellowships and MyJewishLearning, Inc. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999. Edgar M. Bronfman passed away in December of 2013. "Why Be Jewish" is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in learning more about the practice of Judaism. Bronfman delivers his message in a grandfatherly way designed to stimulate the reader to live a better life. Although it is easy to read and easy to understand, the book should be savored and revisited. Its contents should be discussed around kitchen tables and coffee shops, by people of all ages and backgrounds.
Edmonton Jewish News
Edmonton Jewish Hockey League celebrates 30 years On April 30, the Edmonton Jewish Hockey League will celebrate its 30th anniversary. In honour of their 30th year of play, the EJHL is inviting all past and current members along with the community at large to come celebrate at the annual EJHL Awards Banquet which this year will also be a celebration of the life and history of the league. The EJHL is known city wide as one of the most consistently and successfully run recreational hockey leagues. The league plays with it’s own unique set of rules, and features four teams filled with mostly members of the Jewish community of Edmonton. In the league’s current incarnation, the Acme Scrappers, Aldan, the West Edmonton Mall Maulers, and the HeAtBaGs square off every week in a bid to win the league championship and hoist My Son Stanley’s Cup. This year the league champion will be decided on Sunday April 17 at 1:30 PM at Argyll Arena between West Edmonton Mall led by team Captain Adam Zepp, and the reigning champions the HeAtBaGs led by EJHL scoring champion Noah Soifer. The EJHL will host the banquet on the night of April 30, at the Szechuan Castle (15415 111 Ave) which features an all you can eat Chinese buffet. Entertainment will be provided by Calgary’s own Brian Stollery, Winner of Canada’s Next
Cont. from page 17
On March 20, 19 Yemenite Jews were rescued and brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency. Some 200 Yemenite Jews have been rescued in recent years as threats against the Jewish community have increased. Since Operation Magic Carpet in 1949, the Jewish Agency has brought 51,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel. Approximately 50 Jews remain in Yemen, 40 of whom live under the protection of Yemenite Authorities in Sanaa, a closed compound adjacent to the US Embassy. If they choose to immigrate to Israel, the Jewish Agency has pledged to make the necessary arrangements. In 2015, Israel welcomed over 30,000 new Olim. The Jewish Agency continues to work closely with the Ministry of Absorption and Immigration to bring Jews from France and Ukraine. There has also been a 77% increase in immigration from Brazil. The Jewish Agency is fulfilling its mission to provide safe haven and the opportunity to be part of the Jewish state for Jews from countries with deteriorating economic and social conditions who choose to join their
Top Comic. The event will be free for all league members, plus one. Alumni and community members are invited to partake in the Please RSVP to Dan at
evening at a cost of $25. firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the highlights of the evening will be the handing out of league awards for the season as well as crowning the latest league champion and holder of My Son Stanley’s Cup for the year. The following awards will be handed out to the deserving league members: League Most Valuable Player – nominees: Dylan Muscat, WEM; Liam Muscat, WEM; Noah Soifer, HeAtBaGs; Dan Smith, HeAtBaGs. League Most Improved Player – nominees: Leor Benjamin, Aldan; Tommy Brauner, HeAtBags; Bryce Harper, WEM; Sam Stevens, WEM. League Top Defenceman – nominees: Rory Perkins, Aldan; Ilya Ostrovsky, Acme; Brock Richardson, HeAtBaGs; Kent Richardson, HeAtBaGs. League Top Goaltender – nominees: Daniel Moser, HeAtBaGs; Jacob Oshry, Aldan; Mike Schayer, Acme; Sam Stevens, WEM. League Zayda of the Year – nominees: Larry Fliegal, chevrai in Israel. On the home front, we are preparing for a different Exodus. In the days immediately following Pesach, our annual delegation will embark on a transformative journey as they trace the history of our European ancestors on the March of the Living. This year, close to 700 Canadian youth, young adults and adults will join thousands of people from all over the world on an intense two week journey that takes them through Poland and Israel. One of the many unique elements of the March of the Living experience is the participation of a group of Holocaust survivors that accompanies the youth contingent and shares personal stories and memories of life before, during and after the Shoah. The March of the Living Digital Archives Project will be filming live survivor testimonials at the very place where the horrors of the holocaust took place. This footage will be a very precious and lasting educational resource long after the survivors are unable to accompany the groups. Visit www.molarchiveproject.com to view existing films.
The Muscat brothers lead team West Edmonton Mall onto the ice. Photo by Adam Zepp WEM; Barry Slawsky, HeAtBaGs; Lewis Wasel, Acme. League Mensch of the Year – nominees: Justin Antflick, HeAtBaGs; Roman Bogdanov, Acme; Mark Drelich, WEM; Rory Perkins, Aldan. League Rookie of the Year – nominees: Rhys Demskie, WEM; Liam Muscat, WEM; Jacob Oshry, Aldan; Sam Stevens, WEM. The March of the Living is extremely powerful in its ability to capture the history, the horror, the bravery, the resistance and ultimately the excitement and deep meaning of the establishment of the state of Israel. Ceremonies to commemorate Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron and celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut feature very prominently in the program. Participants return home with a deeper understanding of their heritage that remains with them for many years. If you have not yet personally experienced The March of the Living, I encourage you to do so next year. Visit www.marchoftheliving.org to learn more. As we anticipate winter’s end, the beginning of Spring and the coming of the holiday of freedom, we should recommit ourselves to retelling the story ’k’ilu’ , ‘as if we ourselves’ were slaves in Egypt and so ensure that every generation that follows continues in this very important tradition. Linda Kislowicz is President and CEO of Jewish Federations of Canada - United Israel Appeal.
Edmonton Jewish Hockey League 30th Anniversary Gala Saturday April 30 at 7:30 pm At the Szechuan Castle: All you can eat Chinese buffet 15415 – 111 Ave NW Edmonton Last year's champs
Featuring Calgary’s Famous Funnyman Comedian Brian Stollery • EJHL Awards Banquet • End of the Season Party • Celebrating 30 Years in Edmonton • Great Food • Great Entertainment • Great Company
Funnyman Brian Stollery
Cost: Free for current league members (plus one guest per member) $25.00 for league alumni as well as community members Everyone is welcome RSVP to Dan at email@example.com
Dr. Donald Chin Dr. Grace Lee Dr. Dave Yuen
Edmonton Jewish News
Edmonton Jewish News - Digital Edition - April, 2016 - Passover