Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants

Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Cultural and religious issues dominate as election day nears

Thank God for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). I say that not because trade is an inherently Jewish issue, nor because I know for certain the recently negotiated deal will be good for Canada, especially since its details have yet to be released.

Zunera Ishaq, CBC screenshot

Zunera Ishaq’s niqab has helped Harper

Irrespective of its long-term effects, the TPP might be our only hope to reorient electoral discussions toward an issue – the economy – that actually affects the well-being of large numbers of Canadians.

If so, it will offer a change from the debates that have dominated the campaign for the last month or so.

Barely seven weeks ago, news photos of little Alan Kurdi’s dead body provoked a (perhaps overdue) groundswell of concern for the four million refugees created by Syria’s brutal civil war. The sudden surge of interest blindsided the governing Conservatives, whose reaction was seen in many quarters as hard-hearted.

It seemed the issue might sink the Tories, especially in the wake of shaky economic numbers (which have since improved), as well as scandals and polls suggesting an appetite for change.

But they’ve since regained their footing. In addition to standing firm on the refugee file, they’ve connected with large numbers of Canadians on the issues of revoking the naturalized citizenship of convicted terrorists; wearing a niqab at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies and a proposed ban on them in the public service; and a pledge to set up a phone line for people to report “barbaric cultural practices.” Continue reading

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Refugees: a Jewish issue comes to the fore

A quintessentially Jewish issue has dominated the news and become a prominent election issue ever since the picture of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying dead in the Mediterranean surf generated headlines worldwide earlier this month.

Alan Kurdi's lifeless body

The image that moved the world

For many, the painful image has crystallized the ongoing question of what the world ought to be doing about the human fallout from Syria’s bloody civil war, which so far has killed 250,000 people and created a staggering four million refugees.

It may be the Conservatives’ misfortune the photo has galvanized Canadians in the midst of an election campaign, and they’ve been caught flatfooted on terrain that’s traditionally been friendlier to their rivals. Both the Liberals and the NDP have called for Canada to quickly admit thousands more refugees, despite criticism that this won’t solve the problem and comes with security risks if they can’t be properly vetted.

This story is almost as central to the Canadians psyche as it is to the Jewish one, since many of us have come here fleeing persecution, poverty or both.

We Jews feel the issue in our bones. We were born a nation of refugees, as the Passover Exodus story attests, and our history is one of both wandering and exile. Whether it’s been at the hands of Babylonian soldiers, Roman centurions, Spanish Inquisitors or Nazi storm troopers, we know what it means to be uprooted. Continue reading

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Is Iran making Israelis crazy?

Will Iran acquire nuclear weapons and use them to wipe Israel off the map, as its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to do repeatedly?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

Does he really think he's the messiah?

Is Iran rational or irrational? Would it or would it not unleash nuclear weapons on Israel? Can Israel take the chance? Does Iran, a country of 77 million people with armed forces totalling some 545,000 people, represent an existential threat to Israel, or not?

Will Israel attack Iran? If it does, will this unleash a regional war? Is Israel bluffing? Is all the bravado just cover for covert operations to slow down Iran’s development of nuclear weapons or to encourage Iran’s liberal opposition – mowing the grass, as the Israelis call it?

Would an Iranian counter-attack cause hundreds of Israeli casualties or thousands? Does the first estimate represent Israeli bravado and the second a fear that runs deep in the Jewish psyche?

Is the United States hoping that Israel does the world’s dirty work for it? Is Israel hoping the same about America? Is U.S. President Barack Obama serious about not wanting a nuclear Iran, or is he prepared to live with the reality if necessary?

These are all important questions, particularly if you’re a supporter of Israel.

The pressure would be enough to make any country come apart at the seams, and it seems to be testing even Israel, which has a remarkable ability to hold itself together despite many internal, seemingly irresolvable tensions.

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