It’s our 10th birthday! A no mean feat for an Internet news site that has consistently kept to its original mission statement.
Two years ago Tarek Fatah, the Canadian secular, progressive and liberal activist said: “Any nation, any society, any country that is created on the basis of a hatred towards the others, will soon run out of people that it can hate or groups it can decimate and it will devour itself.”
Yesterday evening in Toronto there was not a ripple of hate or intolerance. I had the good fortune of participating in Ve’ahavta’s 16th Annual Community Passover Seder. The event, under Jewish and Aboriginal leadership, was in effect one of the most important social justice events held in Canada for sometime. In excess of 295 people attended the evening which brought together adults and children of all religions without community or family, to share equally in a Seder with Jews of numerous denominations.
“Tonight we concentrate on those who are without community or family, and we ask ourselves, how we can play a role in changing such hardship using our own resources.” – Avrum Rosensweig
As Avrum Rosensweig, President and CEO of Ve’ahavta succinctly put it: “Our unique and interactive Seder allows people of all faiths to come together in order to recall this historic biblical event which teaches us about bravery, faith, and ultimate freedom. We take this opportunity in the Jewish calendar to unite as a community and to band together to remind ourselves that the comparable atrocities of today are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by any of us!”
Ve’ahavta describes itself as a “Jewish charitable social service organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the lives of people of all faiths who are marginalized by poverty. Ve’ahavta (Hebrew for ‘and you shall love’) is committed to engaging community members in a meaningful and hands-on way to support our collective mission of tikun olam (repairing the world). Ve’ahavta delivers poverty alleviation programs that break down barriers, restore human dignity, foster capacity-building, and empower marginalized individuals to break the cycle of poverty.”
My observations, listening and talking to many of the guests and eighty-ish volunteers present last evening, suggests that at least in Toronto there is a willingness from all societies to outstretch their hands and come together in dialogue, without hate and intolerance. Rosensweig’s Ve’ahavta has a formula that works well. Let others take note of it!
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SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”