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North America

  • Toronto’s Orthodox Community Adjusts to Nicole, Nee Mordechai

    Mordechai’s community and friends are still adjusting to his decision to become Nicole — some better than others. Mordechai used to be known in his Toronto Orthodox community as Nord, short for Nord the Barbarian, which referred to his girth and hairiness. He now wishes to be called Nicole, and has chosen Neshama, or Soul,… More ▸

  • Around the Jewish World Few Canadian Conservative Rabbis Expected to Perform Same-sex Rite

    Don’t expect many Conservative rabbis in Canada to perform same-sex commitment ceremonies, even with permission from the movement. “I haven’t polled our members, but I haven’t heard of one who has indicated that they will officiate at commitment ceremonies,” said Rabbi Wayne Allen, president of the Rabbinical Assembly’s (Central) Canada region, as well as spiritual… More ▸

  • In Its Old Age, Toronto Congregation More Accepting of Jewish Traditions

    During a more radical period of its history in the 1930s, worshippers at Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple were forbidden to wear a kippah or tallit during services. But these days, the 2,000-family Reform congregation, which marks its 150th anniversary in September, takes a far more accepting view of traditional Jewish garb and ritual objects. “At… More ▸

  • After Attack on Jewish School in Montreal, Politicians Speak out

    Canadian politicians are condemning the firebombing of a Jewish school in Montreal. Quebec Premier Jean Charest called Wednesday on all Quebec residents to stand with the Jewish community against hate crimes, such as Saturday’s attack on the Taldos Yakov Yosef school. “I think it is important that all Quebec see very clearly on this issue… More ▸

  • Prime Minister’s Pro-israel Stance Lures Some Canadian Jews to Tories

    Speaking recently at a large pro-Israel rally in Toronto, prominent Canadian filmmaker Robert Lantos voiced his frustration with Canada’s Liberal Party. Lantos thanked the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for its “principled support” of Israel, then said: “I hereby take off my lifelong federal Liberal hat to you. Symbolically, I toss it away,… More ▸

  • As Castro Ails, Jews in Cuba, Miami Watch with Baited Breath

    Cuban Jews on both sides of the Florida Straits are reacting with emotions ranging from joy to sadness to unbridled patriotism following the announcement that Fidel Castro — for the first time in 47 years — is no longer president of Cuba. An official statement read Monday on Cuban TV said Castro, who turns 80… More ▸

  • To Delight of Israel Supporters, Canada Finally Comes off the Fence

    After more than a decade of studied neutrality that Israel supporters felt benefited the Jewish state’s enemies, the Canadian government is displaying the shift in its Middle East policy that it long has talked about. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declaration last week that Israel has a right to defend itself from attacks by Hamas and… More ▸