Statement on Yonge Street attack
Monday, a beautiful Toronto afternoon was darkened by inexplicable violence. We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and pray for the complete and speedy recovery of those who have sustained injury. We pray as well for the well-being of the first responders to this tragedy and for the emotional healing of our fellow residents who witnessed this event. May God support all those touched by this violent act.
We stand together with our fellow Torontonians resolute in our belief that the residents of this city will continue to demonstrate that we are a people united in our diversity, passionate about our liberties, seeking peace and pursuing it.
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