No retreat from peoplehood

In the emotional wake of the mass shootings in the US during the past four weeks and the overlap of Ontario’s provincial election and then our celebration of Shavuot, we overlooked mentioning the first major public address by Deborah Lipstadt, the American government’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Lipstadt – the courageous, renowned, resolute, scholar historian – was confirmed in her position by the U.S. Senate on March 30, 2022 with the rank of Ambassador.

She spoke on May 26 to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and later on the same day she was the keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s (YU) commencement ceremonies. At the Conference, Lipstadt discussed how anti-Zionism can serve as a mask for antisemitism. At the YU commencement she spoke of “the free-flowing nature of antisemitism and what kind of response that demands of us”.

We, in Canada, have excellent, experienced watchdog agencies and seasoned men and women who monitor and combat antisemitism. Though the anti-Jewish environments are not the same in the two countries, we know that common threads unite the haters of Jews wherever they live and have done so, alas, for millennia.

The reason we point to Ambassador Lipstadt is because of her credentials, namely as one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject and the prestige and power of her position. When she speaks it is noteworthy. The two public speeches she delivered on May 26 were masterful reflections on the current state of Jew hatred around the world, its historical roots and its interconnection to hatred of Israel.

We emphasize one key thought by Lipstadt. Indeed, we have emphasized it many times in various iterations in the past. According to the JTA report of Lipstadt’s remarks the Conference, she said: “To simply assume that if we teach young people, or even not so young people, enough about the Holocaust, that we’re going to solve the problem of antisemitism… it’s not a magic bullet.”

In other words, we must not retreat from our Judaism, from our respect for our history and from our commitment to our future. The best way to counter antisemitism is by asserting our sense of Jewish peoplehood. The best way to know how to assert that sense of peoplehood is through education. And as Lipstadt herself acknowledges, Holocaust education alone is not a panacea.

Rather, it is through excellent, intense Jewish education that young children grow and learn how to be meaningfully Jewish.

As readers know, it is GAJE’s mission to help make such education affordable to all families of the Jewish community in Ontario who wish it for their children. To that end, GAJE has launched an application in court to remedy the government’s unfair, unjust educational funding.

If you wish to contribute to funding GAJE’s lawsuit, please clichere.

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.

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Ambassador Lipstadt’s commencement address at YU can be found at: https://www.state.gov/keynote-speech-at-yeshiva-universitys-91st-commencement-ceremony-antisemitism-the-ubiquitous-hatred/

Ambassador Lipstadt’s address to the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations can be found at: https://www.state.gov/remarks-at-the-conference-of-presidents-of-major-american-jewish-organizations-antisemitism-the-interconnected-hatred/

Ambassador Lipstadt’s address to the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations can be found at: https://www.state.gov/remarks-at-the-conference-of-presidents-of-major-american-jewish-organizations-antisemitism-the-interconnected-hatred/

Ambassador Lipstadt’s address to the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations can be found at: https://www.state.gov/remarks-at-the-conference-of-presidents-of-major-american-jewish-organizations-antisemitism-the-interconnected-hatred/

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Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

June 10, 2022

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