Statement on Recent Anti-Semitic Incidents in the GTA
The Toronto Board of Rabbis notes with significant concern the growing number of public anti-Semitic incidents in Toronto as well as across Ontario, Canada, and in the United States. Recently, anti-Semitic notes were left inside a Willowdale apartment building and a bomb threat was called into the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, necessitating its evacuation.
We applaud Mayor John Tory for his strong words of support against hate and call upon the Toronto Police Service to identity these types of acts as hate crimes at the earliest possible moment, to continue acting with vigilance to protect our Jewish community, and to pursue the perpetrators of hate crime with the full force of the law. We call upon public officials from all parties to condemn the current wave of anti-Semitic incidents. We further call upon members of Toronto’s many faith and ethnic groups to publicly denounce these hateful acts and all crimes perpetrated against minorities.
Rabbi Debra Landsberg, President
Rabbi David Seed, Vice-president
Rabbi Ed Elkin, Treasurer
Rabbi Adam Cutler, Secretary
Rabbi Miriam Margles, Recording Secretary
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Immediate Past President
TBR urges the members of the Jewish community to participate in the mitzvah of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) by becoming organ donors. The members of TBR are proud supporters of the Trillium Gift of Life Network. You can also download our organ donor brochure.
Statement on Physician Assisted Dying
The recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada has significantly shifted the discussion about appropriate end-of-life treatment for individuals facing painful terminal illnesses. As rabbis, we represent a tradition that places great stress on human dignity and the sanctity of life. We recognize that individuals and their families face challenging personal situations when dealing with extremely debilitating illnesses with little or no possibility of cure or comfort. Many of us have been with families at these trying times. We remain committed to the provision of Hesed, acts of lovingkindness, to support and sustain individuals and families facing these real situations.
We are concerned that the Supreme Court decision, while responding to the pain of individuals, may blur the distinctive protection that we give to human life and perhaps influence persons who are vulnerable as a result of progressive and terminal illness. We call upon Jews and all people to provide active support and comfort to those who are dying, so that no one, because of loneliness, vulnerability, loss of decision-making ability, or fear of pain and suffering, will feel a desperate need to actively end life.
We call upon the various legislative bodies that will be developing laws, policies and procedures in response to the ruling of the Supreme Court to first act to provide adequate funding for high quality palliative and hospice care and excellent social support for the weak, the ill, the elderly, the disabled and those who are socially isolated. We further ask that these various governmental bodies interpret the recent judgment in narrow terms providing safeguards to deter abuse and allowing for freedom of conscience for health-care workers who do not accept assisted dying as a medical response to pain and suffering.
TBR has also endorsed the Vulnerable Persons Standard