Standing tall to vanquish injustice and injustice

The advent of a new calendar year is an appropriate moment to restate “first principles”.

  1. The community’s mission – indeed the mission for every Jewish community throughout the long history of our people – is to strive to make Jewish education in our community affordable for every family that wishes to send its children to a Jewish day school.
  2. UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is committed to ensuring the affordability of Jewish education as its top priority.
  3. But we must not forget that Ontario’s educational funding policies are discriminatory.
    • Students across the province with learning disabilities do not receive equal treatment in relation to supportive health support services.
    • Students in independent schools receive no funding whatsoever for even a portion of the cost of the general studies curriculum. Yet, all the western provinces and Quebec, on the other hand, do provide some funding to independent schools for the cost of general studies.
  4. Despite the important, laudable decision by UJA Federation to conscript and mobilize resources to resolve the crisis of affordability, it is still of paramount importance to seek justice and fair treatment from the Government of Ontario.

•••

The commentary by Rabbi Marc D. Angel on this week’s Torah portion, Va’era, offers guidance on how and why we should not abandon the justice we seek from the government.

“And the Lord said unto Moses: Rise up early in the morning and stand [tall] before Pharaoh.” (Shemoth 9:13)”

“Often enough, people are confronted with…injustice; but instead of standing tall in opposition to the perpetrators … people bow their heads. They lose self-confidence. They think: I am too small and too weak to resist. It’s best to go along or to stay quiet. Resistance can be unpleasant, even dangerous…While retaining our inner humility and gentleness, we must not bend our heads in the presence of…unjust people.

“How can humanity overcome widespread apathy in the face of injustice? How can the arrogant be humbled? There is only one answer, and it is for each person to assume personal responsibility. It is for each good and moral person to express indignation…

“And the Lord said unto Moses: Rise up early in the morning and stand [tall] before Pharaoh.” (Shemoth 9:13)”

“We are likewise commanded to stand tall before the Pharaohs of our times, to resist the agents of oppression, falsehood and injustice who undermine the fabric of our society and our world.”

Rabbi Angel offers excellent advice. Let us act on it.

•••

Shabbat Shalom.

GAJE

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