Articles by year


2019 2018 2017 Older

  • CJNEWS Kay: Are Arabs worse off in Israel? The numbers say no Thursday July 25th, 2019
    In 2008, a delegation from the Mossawa Center, an NGO that promotes equality for Arab-Israelis, came to Brussels to raise EU awareness about the socioeconomic gaps between Israel’s Muslim and Jewish citizens. Their evidence was meant to serve as proof of Israel’s discriminatory treatment of Arabs. The delegates rather awkwardly discovered, however, that Belgium’s Muslims were in worse shape th...
  • CJNEWS Kay: Transparently exploiting Jewish history and rituals Thursday June 20th, 2019
    A recent CJN cover story mourned the passing of Jewish TV’s “Golden Age” (“The end of the Golden Age of Jewish TV,” May 30). I’ve watched three of the series singled out for special praise: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Girls and Transparent. Mrs. Maisel’s tone is Jewishly sunny. It’s faithful to the buoyantly optimistic worldview of 1950s Jews who were in the process of “making it” in America, wh...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The unmentioned hotbeds of anti-Semitism Thursday May 23rd, 2019
    One of my niche subjects is the epidemiology of dog bite-related injuries and deaths according to canine breed. Epidemiology, which Wikipedia defines as “the study and analysis of the distribution and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations,” is a beautifully incorruptible science because it is entirely data-driven. I have learned from my sojourn down the rabbit hol...
  • CJNEWS Kay: Why Jews should support Bill 21 Thursday April 25th, 2019
    Like it or not, Quebec is a “distinct society.” Anglophones and immigrants didn’t like it much in 1977 when Bill 101 came into effect (necessitating the use of the notwithstanding clause, since it abrogated English-Canadians’ language rights). Robert Libman, then a leading anglophone-rights advocate, said that Bill 101 “clearly established the fact that we were now second-class citizens.” Legal...
  • CJNEWS Kay: How Fauda might help to bring peace to the Middle East Wednesday April 24th, 2019
    For riveting entertainment, Israeli dramas rule. Several of them deal with the paradoxical realities of life in a flourishing, prosperous society where Jews, both secular and ultra-Orthodox, co-exist in (occasionally uneasy) peace with Israeli Arabs, but one that is shadowed by a siege mentality, with eyes and ears constantly alert to threats — or reports — of terrorism. Most Israelis sublimate...
  • CJNEWS Kay: A binge-worthy look at haredi life Tuesday February 26th, 2019
    In the past, on social occasions, it could be awkward when people ran out of topics for conversation, especially if one’s interlocutor was not bookish, thus preventing discussion about the latest good read. This is no longer the case. One only has to ask: “What are you enjoying on Netflix these days?” and the floodgates open. The supply of high-end, intelligent entertainment that Netflix (et al...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The cesspool of anti-Semitism on the left Thursday January 31st, 2019
    Bernie Farber devoted his latest column to concerns that a few Jews may have voted for Faith Goldy in Toronto’s recent mayoral election. Goldy is the former reporter for the Rebel Media, whose sympathies for the white supremacists at the August 2017 Charlottesville, Va., rally annihilated her journalism career. Some Goldy-supporting Jews may have voted for her because she is anti-Muslim, just a...
  • CJNEWS Kay: ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ and the Song of Songs Tuesday December 25th, 2018
    Shir ha-Shirim (the Song of Songs) has lately been the focus of a weekly study group I attend at my shul. Most of the Shir is an explicitly sexual dialogue between two lovers. A few minutes into last week’s steamy reading, the woman next to me quipped, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” We all laughed knowingly. This Christmas season favourite, written in 1944 by Frank Loesser as a duet to be performed...
  • CJNEWS Kay: Finding parallels to the Nazis where there aren’t any Thursday November 29th, 2018
    On Nov. 1, the illustrious historian Simon Schama was the honoured guest of Montreal’s Jewish Public Library, as the keynote speaker for Jewish Book Month. His topic was his latest book, Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900, the second instalment of a trilogy covering the entire history of the Jewish people. The auditorium was packed with hundreds of Montreal Jews who anticipated a riveti...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The politics of saying sorry Wednesday November 7th, 2018
    In 1939, the MS St. Louis departed Germany with 907 Jewish passengers, who were seeking haven from Nazi persecution. Cuba and the U.S. turned them away. Canada was their last hope. Yet Canada’s “none is too many” sentiment governing Jewish immigration prevailed and the refugees were forced to return to Europe, where about half were received by Allied countries and the others ended up in Germany...
  • CJNEWS Kay: Is eating meat antithetical to Jewish values? Wednesday October 31st, 2018
    One of the most talked-about Jewish books of the season is Jonathan Neumann’s To Heal the World: How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel. The book’s tone, as one can tell from the title, is muscular. The boldly stated theme is that tikun olam (to heal the world), a phrase used once in our liturgy and never given exegetical significance, is now, as interpreted by p...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The view from the balcony Wednesday October 3rd, 2018
    As new members of a modern Orthodox congregation, the experience my husband and I had on the High Holidays this year was a striking departure from the previous 46 in a Reconstructionist synagogue. We’re rather old for such a dramatic change in affiliation, but, having recognized the need for personal Jewish renewal, we took the plunge. We felt instinctively drawn to Montreal’s Shaa...
  • CJNEWS Kay: Love and marriage doesn’t necessarily go together Wednesday September 5th, 2018
    I optimize my daily walks or bike rides with audiobooks, taking special enjoyment in well-narrated classics. For balance, I add the guilty pleasure of lightweight movies. This summer’s annual holiday in Maine produced a mishmash of highbrow and low, with a common theme: marriage. The rom-com film Crazy Rich Asians, featuring a stupendously wealthy Singaporean family, was my guilty pleasure. Aft...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The scorpion in the Jewish world’s fire Tuesday August 14th, 2018
    In my reading of the Raj Quartet, Paul Scott’s magisterial series of novels chronicling the last days of empire in India, one incident continues to haunt me, due to its (unintended) Jewish symbolism. At one point in the series, some Indian boys have isolated a scorpion and set fire to a gasoline-soaked perimeter around it. As the heat intensifies, the scorpion’s tail involuntarily arches, to th...
  • CJNEWS Kay: The Yazidis of today are the Jews of yesterday Friday July 13th, 2018
    Khawla is a Yazidi woman from Dugri, Iraq. I interviewed her a few weeks ago, in the company of Mirza Ismail, the chairman of Yezidi Human Rights Organization-International, who acted as our interpreter. Khawla, the eldest of four daughters, was 14 when, in August 2014, her girlhood and happiness ended with an ISIS assault on her community. The Kurdish Peshmerga, which was tasked with protectin...
  • CJNEWS Sarcasm is the Jewish sword Friday June 8th, 2018
    Two American giants exited the literary world in May: Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth. Apart from their brilliance in mapping America’s social and cultural landscape, they could not have been more different in temperament and style. Roth’s writing was intensely personal, mordant and Jewishly obsessed; Wolfe’s was detached, exuberant and cosmopolitan. It is not by coincidence that Wolfe was a gentile ...
  • CJNEWS Liba Augenfeld – the survivor who brought her love of Yiddish with her Wednesday April 18th, 2018
    In the upwardly mobile Jewish enclave of Toronto where I was raised, Yiddish was the language of my parents’ generation. It was reserved for Borscht-belt humour and hiding certain subjects from children. It was both prosaic and nostalgic: Hebrew was the future; nobody I knew mourned the passing of Yiddish. But it hadn’t passed everywhere. At Montreal’s Jewish Public Library (JPL), where I was d...
  • CJNEWS Canada, a natural home for French Jews Friday March 16th, 2018
    In January, an incident took place – or, rather, didn’t take place – in Toronto, which came to be known as #hijabhoax on social media: a young Muslim girl had alleged that an Asian man attacked her hijab with scissors, while she was en route to school. Within a day, the allegation was exposed as a fabrication. In fact, apart from the Quebec City mosque massacre that was carried out by one deran...
  • CJNEWS Progressive Jews should respect the opinions of others Tuesday February 13th, 2018
    The Feb. 8 issue of The CJN featured an irate letter to the editor signed by 26 readers, including several rabbis (including my own), who were incensed by my last column, which argued that basic Torah principles on hot-button gender issues – unfettered abortion, gay marriage and gender fluidity – have been sacrificed by progressive Jews on the altar of political correctness. By “principle...
  • CJNEWS THE TORAH AND TRANSGENDERISM Friday January 19th, 2018
    In our liturgy, the Torah is referred to as the “tree of life.” But although it’s rich in general guiding principles, the Torah is paradoxically terse or mute on several of our era’s hottest issues: abortion, gay marriage and transgenderism. These issues share two common denominators: all reverse or thwart natural procreation, and all have become litmus tests for left-wing ideologues. As a resu...
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