Be strong, unafraid and empathetic

To say we have been living for more than two years in difficult, disquieting times abuses the term “understatement.” The global Covid pandemic, the occupation of downtown Ottawa and a handful of Canadian-American border crossings by a frightful confederacy of anti-democracy, grievance-shouting protesters, and now, Russia’s murderous invasion of Ukraine pile anxiety upon anxiety in our battered psyches. And those of us determined to help make Jewish education truly affordable in Ontario press on through the multiplier angst to bring fairness and just dealing to Ontario’s educational system.

The question begs itself: How should we, as individuals and as a community, approach our important challenges during such unsettling days?

Rabbi Marc D. Angel of New York suggests a possible path for us. He points for guidance to the words of the customary congregational invocation in some synagogues after the celebration of the completion of the reading of one of the Five Books of Moses.

“Hizku —strengthen yourselves, be resolute; ve- ye-ametz levavhem–and God will give courage to your hearts. First, you need to strengthen yourselves, develop the power of empathy and love. Then, God will give you the added fortitude to fulfill your goals. If we strengthen ourselves, we may trust that the Almighty will give us added strength.

“Be strong, unafraid, empathetic; if we hone these values within ourselves and our families, we may be hopeful that the Almighty will grant us the courage to succeed in our efforts.”

Rabbi Angel’s instruction is forever timely and deeply relevant for our times. The holiday of Purim that we celebrate next week reinforces it. For the festival’s key message resonates with that of Rabbi Angel: our strength multiplies when we come together, act in assembly, and unite in common purpose to achieve a true and worthy result.

That message – from Purim and from the unbroken, millennial cycle of reading of the Torah – is the inspiration guiding our approach and strengthening our resolve for the various challenges that lie ahead.


If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in educational funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at

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.


Shabbat shalom.  Chag Purim Samayach.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

March 11, 2022

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