Recently I spent a weekend in the Crown Height, Brooklyn – a Hasidic neighbourhood. As I walked to and from my friend’s apartment, I was surrounded by men in black suits, white shirts and hats or yarmulkes, and a few women in long skirts. Despite being a person of colour who is used to being … [Continue reading] Visible Markers of Difference
This week there is an interesting convergence of two holidays in Canada. While one is religious and one is not, I’m finding the timing quite meaningful. Everywhere in Canada (except in the Atlantic provinces) Monday is Thanksgiving, and in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur begins Tuesday night at … [Continue reading] Thanksgiving…and Atonement
Happy New Year! If you’re Jewish, you know exactly what I’m talking about – Rosh Hashanah began last night at sundown. "Shanah Tovah!" If you’re not Jewish, or don’t have any close friends (or family) who are Jewish, it’s possible that you had no idea. Or, like me, no idea until yesterday. Which … [Continue reading] Happy New Year!
Yesterday I was in a downtown Toronto office. As soon as the elevator doors opened onto the 7th floor I could already see the Christmas decorations. The person I was meeting with is Jewish. So I asked him as we looked at the Christmas tree, where the Menorah was. He looked a bit uncomfortable for … [Continue reading] Happy Holidays?
On Friday, a judge in Quebec refused to hear a case because the woman in her courtroom was wearing a hijab. She likened it to someone wearing a hat or sunglasses - which are not permitted. Furthermore, she is reported to have said that the woman was not "suitably dressed". When I heard it on the … [Continue reading] Why a hijab is not a hat
One of the things that I hear about a lot working with organizations is how difficult religious accommodation feels. Passover begins next week and in the spirit of things, I thought I'd share a success story that I just heard about. B&H is a photo, video and audio company in the USA. They have … [Continue reading] Religious Accommodation
The holy month of Ramadan starts at the end of this week. Depending on where you are in the world (because the start date depends on the sighting of the moon) the first day could be on the 20th or the 21st (North America). But observance begins the night before at sunset. Ramadan is a month of … [Continue reading] Ramadan Begins this Week
Congratulations to the Bluewater District School Board (in Ontario) for reconsidering the handing out of free Gideon Bibles to Grade 5 students. The article is very good and says a lot of what I would write here - so here it is for you to read. The part of the article that stood out for me the … [Continue reading] The Message of Free Bibles in School…plus
A couple of weeks ago I received an email suggesting that CBC had opened the debate about keeping "God" in the Canadian National Anthem, and most of those polled were in favour. My reaction: "Really?!" (But a weary one.) Whether or not this is actually true (and I wasn't able to find it when I … [Continue reading] Oh God!
No, I'm not 23 days late. Today is Chinese New Year - celebrated by about 1 in 7 people worldwide. So while 2012 began 23 days ago, it's wasn't the new year for everyone. Although the Gregorian calendar is used and recognized by people, businesses and schools around the world, and New Year's Eve … [Continue reading] Happy New Year!