How to ensure a legacy that has meaning

Next week brings two beginnings: Rosh Hashana 5782 and the return to school for most of our children. It will indeed be a meaningful week.

At least for a few moments next week we will likely think about the significance and the frailty of our lives even as we pray that our children – all children – will be blessed with a year of normal, in-class, person-to-person, healthy schooling.

It is no exaggeration to write that our defining hopes and aspirations as caring, committed and giving individuals – connected to our people’s past and to its future – are captured in the images of the youngsters back at school.

Two years ago, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, we referred to a statement by Prof. Irving Abella. We do so again for it elegantly and movingly gives expression to those hopes and aspirations.

“It seemed self-evident that the major challenge to our Jewish leadership in the next generation should be building a Jewish community that is not simply concerned with survival, but one that is creative and attractive to our children – a community with substance and content, a community that stresses not only memory but other important values of our traditions – primarily social justice, equity, compassion and spirituality. We pride in its activities and achievements. We will have to find ways to convert alienation to action and passivity to pride, the pride of being possessors of a great legacy, a legacy which has meaning for today and beyond.”

Prof. Abella wrote those words some 25 years ago. They appeared in a collection of essays entitled Creating the Jewish Future. They were deeply relevant then. They remain so today, as they surely will be in every generation. Bless him for having done so.

Most of us understand, however, that creating a “legacy which has meaning for today and beyond” requires excellent, immersive, meaningful, accessible Jewish education in all its diverse, effective manifestations. But to be accessible, the education must be affordable.

We point out the irony that flashes at us like a neon sign at midnight. Prof. Abella wrote those words the same year that the Supreme Court decided the Adler case, in which the Court ruled Ontario could legally fund the educational system of only one religion. The decision did not prevent Ontario from extending funding to other, independent, denominational schools. Nor, does Ontario suggest that its policy is fair to non-Catholics. Rather, Ontario simply believes it is immune from being legally compelled to change its policy. 

Readers of this weekly report know, one of the key ways to making Jewish education affordable is by asking the court to reassess the correctness and applicability of the 1996 Adler to the circumstances of Ontario in 2021. And as readers also know, that is what GAJE is doing.

The total cost for proceeding with the case, from the trial all the way to the Supreme Court, is approximately $250,000. To date, we have raised some 40 percent of that amount. As we have done each week for the past many weeks, we turn to you for help to raise the balance.

This is our generation’s opportunity to try to end the funding discrimination that has existed in Ontario for more than 25 years. If we do not try, who will?  Please help us make this happen! And please tell your friends to join in our effort.

To donate to this important cause, please click here.

(For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com)

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

We thank everyone who has contributed to the funding of the lawsuit. We are deeply appreciative of your joining our cause. It is our fervent hope that together, from strength to strength, we will be able to end the discrimination in Ontario’s educational funding.

 •••

Be safe. Be well.

Shabbat shalom. And, Shana tovah umetukah.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)  

September 3, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized
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