Thursday, June 10, 2021

CJCF Welcomes Quebec government's adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism/Le Forum de la communauté juive du Canada (FCJC) se réjouit de l'adoption par le gouvernement du Québec de la définition de l'antisémitisme

Montreal, June 10, 2021-   The Canadian Jewish Community Forum (CJCF) welcomes the Quebec government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. 

“We commend Premier Francois Legault, Minister  Benoit Charette, and the National Assembly for supporting this milestone, worldwide initiative,”  said Frank Schlesinger, spokesperson in Quebec for the CJCF.

IHRA’s working definition on antisemitism was developed by a consortium of 34 countries in 2019. Since then, many other jurisdictions have signed on. The definition is aimed at educating people of all ages, and sensitizing individuals, institutions, and policy makers to the dangers of Holocaust denial, antisemitism, and discrimination against the Roma. 

Although Jewish Canadians represent one per cent of the total population, close to 20 per cent of all hate crimes target the Jewish community and its institutions, an appalling statistic. Noting that there is no place for violence or discrimination against any community, Mr. Schlesinger added that CJCF encourages all citizens to stand together and reject all expressions of antisemitism, racism, hate  and indifference.

About the  Canadian Jewish Community Forum

The Canadian Jewish Community Forum was formally launched on May 27, 2021 by a  group of former Canadian Jewish Congress senior leaders from coast to coast. For 92 years, until its dissolution in 2011, CJC was  recognized as  the Parliament of Canadian Jewry and served as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally.  The CJCF will  provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national, that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.

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Contact:

Mike Cohen

Communications Advisor

514-826-0383

Montreal, le 10 juin, 2021- Le Forum de la communauté juive du Canada (FCJC) se réjouit de l'adoption par le gouvernement du Québec de la définition de l'antisémitisme de l'Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l'Holocauste (IHRA). Le porte-parole du FCJC au Québec, Frank Schlesinger, a déclaré : " Nous félicitons le premier ministre, ainsi que le ministre M. Benoit Charette et l'Assemblée nationale d'avoir soutenu cette initiative mondiale éminente. "

La définition de l'IHRA sur l'antisémitisme a été élaborée par un consortium de 34 pays en 2019. Depuis, de nombreuses autres juridictions y ont adhéré. La définition vise à éduquer les personnes de tous âges et à sensibiliser les individus, les institutions et les décideurs aux dangers du déni de l'Holocauste, de l'antisémitisme et de la discrimination à l'égard des Roms.

Bien que les Canadiens juifs représentent un pour cent de la population totale, près de 20 pour cent de tous les crimes haineux visent la communauté juive et ses institutions, une statistique alarmante. Notant qu'il n'y a pas de place pour la violence ou la discrimination contre quelque communauté que ce soit, M. Schlesinger a ajouté que "FCJC encourage tous les citoyens à faire front commun et à rejeter toutes les expressions d'antisémitisme, de racisme, de haine et d'indifférence."

À propos du Forum de la communauté juive du Canada

Le Forum de la communauté juive du Canada a été officiellement lancé le 27 mai 2021 par un groupe d'anciens hauts dirigeants du Congrès juif canadien d'un océan à l'autre. Pendant 92 ans, jusqu'à sa dissolution en 2011, le CJC a été reconnu comme le Parlement des Juifs canadiens et a servi de voix démocratique et populaire de la communauté, de défenseur et d'intervenant auprès des gouvernements, des tribunaux et des autres communautés, à l'échelle nationale et internationale.  Le FCJC se veut être un forum pour éduquer, discuter et débattre des questions d'intérêt et de préoccupation, tant régionales que nationales, qui ont un impact sur le Canada, la communauté juive canadienne et le bien-être du peuple d'Israël.





communicationsmjc@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

CJCF Condemns act of “terrorism” on Muslim family

Toronto, June 9, 2021-    Leadership from the Canadian Jewish Community Forum (CJCF) have expressed their shock and horror following the attack in London, Ontario  that killed four members of a Muslim family and left one child in hospital.

“We extend our deepest condolences to this family, their friends and their community,” stated Les Scheininger, spokesman for the CJCF National Steering Committee. “The perpetrator of this crime chose to murder four innocent human beings and severely injure another merely because of their religion. This was targeted racism and Islamophobia of the worst kind.We stand with the Muslim community and with Canadians across the country in condemning this heinous act."

   About the  Canadian Jewish Community Forum

The Canadian Jewish Community Forum was formally launched on May 27, 2021 by a  group of former Canadian Jewish Congress senior leaders from coast to coast. For 92 years, until its dissolution in 2011, CJC was  recognized as  the Parliament of Canadian Jewry and served as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally.  The CJCF will  provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national, that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.

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Contact:

Mike Cohen

Communications Advisor

514-826-0383

communicationsmjc@gmail.com



Thursday, June 3, 2021

CJCF expresses deep sadness over the tragic discovery of 215 aboriginal children’s graves/ Le CJCF exprime sa profonde tristesse suite à la découverte tragique de 215 tombes d'enfants autochtones

Toronto, June 3, 2021- With the tragic discovery of the bodies of 215 Aboriginal children in unmarked graves behind a residential school in Kamloops BC,  the Canadian Jewish Community Forum wants to honour the memory of each child.

“As Jews we know all too well the pain and horror of genocide most especially so the deaths of our children at the hands of others,” said Les Scheininger, the spokesman for the CJCF Steering Committee.

“Please remember they were children, they all had a name, they were all loved by their families before they were kidnapped and taken to these awful places. They were beaten, their souls destroyed and it took us over 100 years to even begin to talk about the genocide of First Nations. May their memories be for a blessing.”

 About the  Canadian Jewish Community Forum

The Canadian Jewish Community Forum was formally launched on May 27, 2021 by a  group of former Canadian Jewish Congress senior leaders from coast to coast. For 92 years, until its dissolution in 2011, CJC was  recognized as  the Parliament of Canadian Jewry and served as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally.  The CJCF will  provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national, that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.

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Contact:

Mike Cohen

Communications Advisor

514-826-0383

communicationsmjc@gmail.com


 Le CJCF exprime sa profonde tristesse suite à la découverte tragique de 215 tombes d'enfants autochtones


Toronto, le 3 juin 2021- Avec la découverte tragique des corps de 215 enfants autochtones dans des tombes non marquées derrière un pensionnat de Kamloops en Colombie-Britannique, le Forum communautaire juif canadien veut honorer la mémoire de chaque enfant
.

"En tant que Juifs, nous ne connaissons que trop bien la douleur et l'horreur du génocide, et plus particulièrement la mort de nos enfants aux mains d'autres personnes", a déclaré Les Scheininger, porte-parole du comité directeur du CJCF.

"N'oubliez pas qu'il s'agissait d'enfants, qu'ils avaient tous un nom, qu'ils étaient tous aimés par leur famille avant d'être enlevés et emmenés dans ces lieux horribles. Ils ont été battus, leurs âmes ont été détruites et il nous a fallu plus de 100 ans pour commencer à parler de notre génocide des Premières nations. Que leurs souvenirs soient une bénédiction".

 À propos du Forum de la communauté juive canadienne

Le Forum de la communauté juive canadienne a été officiellement lancé le 27 mai 2021 par un groupe d'anciens hauts dirigeants du Congrès juif canadien d'un océan à l'autre. Pendant 92 ans, jusqu'à sa dissolution en 2011, le CJC a été reconnu comme le Le Parlement des Juifs canadiens et a servi de voix démocratique et populaire de la communauté, de défenseur et d'intervenant auprès des gouvernements, des tribunaux et des autres communautés, à l'échelle nationale et internationale.  Le CJCF fournira un forum pour éduquer, discuter et débattre des questions d'intérêt et de préoccupation, tant régionales que nationales, qui ont un impact sur le Canada, la communauté juive canadienne et le bien-être du peuple d'Israël.

 

 

 

 


 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Canadian Jewish Community Forum Preliminary Statement of Purpose

 


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE


               A preliminary Statement of Purpose for Consideration and Determination        

1. To promote participation in, engagement with, and a sense of ownership of the Jewish agenda in Canada by all members of the Canadian Jewish community by the establishment of active democratic local grassroots community advocacy groups across the country.

2. To provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.

3. To engage with other faith, Indigenous, racial, ethnic and cultural communities to find common cause in matters pertaining to the promotion of civil discourse, reconciliation, inclusivity and mutual understanding and to fight against antisemitism, discrimination, racism and hatred in all their forms. Many important issues facing society at large are  viewed to be relevant to the Jewish community. If we are to have a voice in the society we are creating together, we must discuss and address issues as they emerge together as Canadians.

4. To engage the former leadership of Canadian Jewish Congress and new young leaders to honour, learn and draw from the legacy of the Canadian Jewish Congress, that worked and fought for social justice in Canada with the purpose of making Canada a peaceful, inclusive and just society for all of its peoples.




CJCF Backgrounder




THE BEGINNINGS 

In 1919, at voting stations located in synagogues, schools and organizational offices, over 25,000 Jews from across Canada democratically elected the delegates to the first convention of Canadian Jewish Congress to be held in March of that year at the Monument National Theatre in Montreal. 

During that time, there were a number of Jewish organizations already in Canada, several originating in Europe. Among the existing entities, some represented a diversity of political, religious and philosophical viewpoints while others were communal mutual assistance societies, cultural and literary organizations, labour groups and the like. It was these organizations, on behalf of their constituents and members, that at that time clearly perceived the need for cooperation, not competition, and the benefits of one united community voice for Canadian Jewry to coordinate and advocate for its communal needs, issues of importance to the community and its participation in Canadian society. Thus, they came together to create the Canadian Jewish Congress. The choice of the name was consciously determined. It was to be clearly identified as the central Jewish body, with the descriptive adjective to ensure its Canadian perspective, and a congress, meaning a forum of representatives or delegates assembling to discuss and address matters of common concern.

PARLIAMENT OF CANADIAN JEWRY

Canadian Jewish Congress was to become the Parliament of Canadian Jewry serving as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally. Over the years, it was the forum where all issues of concern to Jews in Canada were discussed and debated, and appropriate action was determined while maintaining unity and consensus. It welcomed and benefited from the representation and active participation of Jews from every city, town and village where Jews resided across the length and breadth of Canada. It was the recognized address for the Canadian Jewish community for Jews globally.

As the Parliament of Canadian Jewry it developed a unique structure involving regular and frequent meetings of elected representatives from across Canada to the National Officers and the larger National Executive governing bodies. Every three years, National Plenary Assemblies of nationally elected delegates took place in different cities for the election of National Officers, for organizational business and for debate and adoption of policy resolutions. In addition, regional bodies across Canada existed with democratically elected representatives and leadership, providing input to the discussions with respect to national and international issues in addition to addressing uniquely local issues.

ISSUES AND ADVOCACY

In 1919, the critical issues facing the community included the oppression of Jews worldwide, the need to assist in the resettlement of Jewish refugees and immigrants to Canada, the conditions for Jewish workers and the dream to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel. Over the following decades, Canadian Jewish Congress provided activism and strong advocacy with respect to all the vital issues facing the Jewish community in Canada as well as global concerns facing the broader Canadian society. It was devoted to strengthening the safety, status, welfare and vibrancy of Jews in Canada, Israel and other Jewish communities worldwide. It fought against discrimination and the scourges of antisemitism and racism; alerted the world to the need to outlaw dangerous hate propaganda; advocated for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals; defended human and civil rights and social justice; fought for the freedom of Soviet Jewry; championed inclusiveness and dialogue among all groups and segments of society, spoke out on behalf of oppressed people; and participated in the processes of Canadian Constitutional reform and the development of the Charter of Rights. Very significant and effective components of its advocacy efforts were the strategic, well reasoned and respected interventions, submissions and participation, led by some of the most learned and respected legal experts in the country, in many of the most important judicial proceedings and commissions that formulated and developed the body of law of Canada that defined the guiding principles, values and ideals of Canadian society.

It is due to its history of being an activist and structured forum of democratically elected representatives of the Jewish grassroots, individuals and organizations from all regions of Canada and its involvement in so many important issues national and international that Canadian Jewish Congress was held in esteem and respect by governments across party lines, the media, other ethnic and religious entities and the public which commonly sought its views, insights and assistance. Its contributions for the benefit of society were widely appreciated and acknowledged.

This experience, record, history and credibility of Canadian Jewish Congress are relevant to contemporary community concerns and may be utilized to deal with the current disturbing and difficult issues during these days when so many are feeling alienated, discriminated against and sensing an absence of effective participation and influence in the development of decisions affecting their lives and matters important to them. Even as an initial step, the availability of a forum for discussion of issues of concern in a congenial, constructive and positive atmosphere would be beneficial in addressing the current issues.

THE CHALLENGES 

We are living in an exceptionally challenging and, in many ways, dangerous period of history globally. We have witnessed the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, claiming the lives of 17, including four Jews, and also at the Stade de France and other locations later in the same year, claiming the lives of 130 victims. In London, England in 2017, a terrorist attack resulted in 6 deaths and 49 injured near the Palace of Westminster and in the same year 11 died and 48 were injured in a further attack in the London Bridge and Borough Market area. Closer to home, we have witnessed attacks at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven and wounding six and at the Chabad of Poway in San Diego, resulting in one death and three injured. Nor, have we been immune here in Canada when in 2017, at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, six people were massacred and five others seriously injured. Most recently, eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were fatally shot in spas in Atlanta.

Shockingly, we have seen the Capitol in Washington and, before then, the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, the homes and symbols of free democracy in leading countries in the world, invaded and attacked. These assaults on our fundamental institutions represented attacks upon our society and way of life of liberty, safety and peace. It is urgent that the words and actions of neo-nationalists, misogynists, bigots, racists and fascists end and that governments are pressed to act clearly and decisively, using all available laws and other tools of democracies. As well, the racism, misogyny and bias that exist within our institutions, businesses, military and law enforcement agencies must be effectively addressed.

We are also witnessing the rise of intolerance and hatred toward those who may hold different political views. Freedom of political expression that does not promote hatred is a value that brought previous generations and new immigrants fleeing oppression to Canada. This value must be promoted and protected. It is incumbent upon our political leaders to create harmony and unity and not exploit differences of opinion to create divisions and hostility. As well, to encourage civility and meaningful cooperation, it is incumbent upon us as a Jewish community to reach out and enter into meaningful dialogue with other religious, ethnic, racial, national and community groups and, importantly, Indigenous peoples, as we had so actively done in past years.

Our input and participation, as a community, in other important national and societal matters such as the environment, health care, discrimination based upon gender, intolerance with respect to sexual orientation, immigration, poverty, housing, mental health, opioid abuse, education, research and innovation and the economy, just to identify several, would be useful today. As times change and society evolves, so is there a need, as a community, to be forward looking and to address new issues as they arise with contemporary reasoning and insight.

The safety and welfare of Israel are central and hold a place of supreme importance to us as a Jewish people. It is our responsibility, as a community, to ensure that the best qualities, the talents and contributions made by Israeli society are made known and receive the appropriate recognition and acknowledgement. It is incumbent upon us, through the mechanisms available to us to ensure that the good relationships between Canada and Israel are maintained and enhanced and to support the efforts of the parties in the Middle East to achieve a sustainable and equitable peace so that they may all live in safety, security and prosperity. It is also important that we communicate with the people and government of Israel with respect to our common interests from the Canadian perspective.

THE TASK

There is much that requires attention, effort and work. We have the skilled, experienced and wise people interested in helping and we have the history and credibility.  We need to attract many others from the vast  pool of talent and knowledge that exists in our community and act with democratic unity and harmony.

Our goal is to take lessons from the past and use them to inform communal policy in the present and future, to promote Jewish values of chesed, diversity, anti-racism and embrace harmony within a Canadian context and in the spirit of the former Canadian Jewish Congress by addressing the current urgent issues that our own  community and our society are facing and witnessing here in Canada and globally ie antisemitism, discrimination and racism, breakdown of civil discourse, victimization of groups based upon differences in religious, cultural or political views, the sense of disillusionment, discontent and alienation which are being exploited to create hatred and divisions, as well as the environment and other important and timely issues. There is a need for clear and real political leadership combining experience with new ideas. As has also been said, we need to apply the history and experience of Canadian Jewish Congress to inform us as we address current issues and reach out to all ages and genders, LGBTQ, Jews of colour, those with divergent political views, the previously involved and the newly interested.

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Welcome to the newly established Canadian Jewish Community Forum, composed of coast to coast leadership from the former Canadian Jewish Congress and new young leadership who seek to benefit our community and Canada. Please join us in this important work.

Follow our blog at: https://cjc1919.blogspot.com.

 




 


Former CJC leaders spearhead the formation of the Canadian Jewish Community Forum


A group of former Canadian Jewish Congress senior leaders from coast to coast, as well as some new young leadership,  have come together to establish the Canadian Jewish Community Forum (CJCF).

Les Scheininger
For 92 years, until its dissolution in 2011, CJC was  recognized as  the Parliament of Canadian Jewry and served as the community’s democratic and grassroots voice, advocate and intervenor with governments, courts and other communities, domestically and internationally. Over the years, it was “the forum” where all issues of concern to Jews in Canada were discussed and debated, and appropriate action was determined while maintaining unity and consensus.

In its statement of purpose, it is emphasized that the CJCF will  provide a forum to educate, discuss and debate issues of interest and concern, both regional and national, that impact Canada, the Canadian Jewish community and the welfare of the people of Israel.

A national steering committee was established in January, as well as a larger advisory body, and meetings have been taking place virtually.

Renee Switzer
The group hopes to engage the former leadership of CJC and new young leaders to honour, learn and draw from the legacy of Congress, a body that worked and fought for social justice in Canada. The CJC understood that making Canada a peaceful, inclusive and just society is good for all of its peoples.

It is the prime objective of the CJCF to take lessons from the past and use them to inform communal policy in the present and future, to promote Jewish values of chesed, diversity, anti-racism and embrace harmony within a Canadian context. In  the spirit of the former CJC it wishes to create a forum for the greater Jewish community to provide input and determine what the current urgent issues are that our own community and society are facing and witnessing here in Canada and globally.

The CJCF is now a federally incorporated all-volunteer organization. 

Bernie Farber

Like CJC, the CJCF believes its strength will be in regional representation. Regional bodies are now being established. More details will follow on the new organization’s rollout.

Members of the steering committee are  Les Scheininger, Toronto (former national president); Bernie Farber, Toronto (former CEO);  Renee Switzer, Vancouver  (former National Executive Chair); Dr. Michael Elterman, Vancouver (former Pacific Region Chair);Dorothy Zalcman Howard (former National Executive Chair); Frank Schlesinger, Montreal (former National Legal Counsel);  Mike Cohen, Montreal  (former National Director of Communications); Israel Ludwig, Winnipeg (former Manitoba Chair);  Len Dolgoy, Edmonton (former Alberta Chair); Hal Joffe, Calgary (former National Community Relations Chair);  Jon Goldberg, Halifax (former Atlantic Jewish Council Executive Director); Ivan Levine, Fredericton (former Atlantic Jewish Council President); and  young leaders  Henry Paikin and Jimmy Gutman of Ottawa, both of whom were very active in campus life. A Saskatchewan rep will be named soon.

Dorothy Zalcman Howard

A website (cjcf.ca/fcjc.ca)  is in development. For now you can go to https://cjc1919.blogspot.com  for more details and email thecjcf@gmail.com.



Friday, March 5, 2021

Former CJC leaders continue to meet among great enthusiasm

Former Canadian Jewish Congress leaders  from coast to coast met via Zoom on March 3 and expressed great enthusiasm that the legacy of the organization established in 1919 is not forgotten and perhaps even revived.

Some of the participants on the most recent Zoom call.

From articles  authored by former CJC Executive Vice-President and  General Counsel Jack Silverstone and National Director of Communications Mike Cohen and published in the Jewish Standard Magazine and The Suburban Newspaper, a definite desire to bring back the CJC brand was created. The response was well beyond what  could have  been imagined. Joining us for the second call were some leading recent university graduates who expressed great interest in a CJC revival.  We had so many CJC alumni eager to be part of the second call,  we had to establish a waiting list.

Initially the consensus is to focus our attention on organizing a series of lectures related to themes from CJC’s decorated past. These can be organized virtually and we hope to roll some news out to that effect soon. CJC was an organization that truly had a voice in every corner of the country and we strongly believe that this is needed again.

CJC ceased to exist 11 years ago. The prevailing view, simplified but with legitimate resonance, seems to be that CJC was a grassroots, community based, consultative organization as distinct from others today which are top down.

" I believe   that the loss of CJC  has resulted in alienation,  loss of direction and purpose, and in my community  a loss of youth involvement," said lawyer Len Dolgoy of Edmonton. "CJC  inspired  and was brilliantly led by lay people and staff."

This ad hoc committee would like to bring back the Alan Rose Fund Human Rights Lectures. Funds were collected for this purpose by the CJC 25 years ago, but they seem to have disappeared into a black hole. Alan Rose was a senior CJC executive for decades.

Eric Vernon recalled  CJC's social justice and human rights record, which  created a contemporary agenda that   captured the attention of both younger and older demographics,  both within and outside of  our community. By combining safe space for a wide range of views, inter-community dialogue and an agenda that reflects the day's priority issues we created a niche that was   historically-respectful and currently relevant.

Stay tuned folks!