Week of July 23

Trudeau is wrong on Iran

I would like to thank Kate Purchase, Justin Trudeau’s spokesperson, for “clarifying” his position on re-establishing diplomatic relations with Iran (“Liberal party defends Trudeau statements on Iran,” July 2). 

However, I would like to ask her boss how he plans to distinguish between “the Iranian people,” who are entirely powerless, but whom she and Trudeau claim will benefit from the renewed ties, and steer clear of “the current regime,” the totalitarian theocrats who run roughshod over the populace, who fund global terrorism, who have announced their intention to annihilate Israel, and who are in the process of asserting their hegemony in the region and beyond via the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Surely Trudeau can’t believe that Iran’s tyrants would allow him to renew ties if his stated purpose is to benefit “the people,” but not the regime. And surely the saner approach is to give the Grand Ayatollah and his henchmen the cold shoulder for the time being, and to re-establish a relationship with Iran only if and when its current regime is replaced by something better. 

Mindy Alter

Women cantors recognized

I was very pleased to see your article about women serving various roles in the cantorate, but to be clear, this is in no way a renaissance (“A renaissance for female cantors,” July 2). 

Women have had a near-impossible journey into this world in Canada, and it is only in the past decade or so that the roadblocks have begun to come down. It is heartening to see that doors are opening for women, particularly for talented singers who are skilled at leading services. 

Our next step is to clear the path for more fully ordained cantors in this country (both male and female) who bring years of intense training, skilled teaching, pastoral care, life-cycle officiation, and various other “rabbinic” skills to this musical field. 

As an ordained cantor who has served congregations in the United States and the United Kingdom, I am grateful to all of those cantors and soloists who have come before me as I move back to Toronto and try to establish a career for myself here. I know that it won’t be an easy road, but it will be one made easier by the hard work of these fabulous women.

Cantor Cheryl Wunch

We were pleased to see an interesting article about female cantors in Canada. However, we were disappointed that the full-time cantorial soloist at Temple Har Zion, as well as the cantorial soloist at Holy Blossom Temple were excluded from the article. Both Tara Abrams and Lindi Rivers have provided significant contributions to their communities, as well as the greater Toronto Jewish community, for 15 and 10 years, respectively.

Josh Nezon and Matthew Dicker
Thornhill, Ont.

Counting our chickens

Competition for Marvid Poultry cannot come too soon (“Kosher chicken production in Ontario still on hold,” July 2). The monopoly that Marvid now enjoys has allowed them to raise the price of kosher chickens to an unreasonable degree.

While shopping in a supermarket a month or so ago, I bought a large package of Marvid chicken drumsticks at the astounding cost of over $11 per kilogram. In a nearby section of the same store, on the same day, halal chicken drumsticks in a similar package and marked “A” quality were selling at $3.95 per kilogram. The difference was astounding. The halal-supervised chicken may even have been produced in the old Chai poultry plant.

More upsetting than the huge price difference is the fact that Marvid chickens have to be trimmed of so much hidden excess skin and fat, which is an aggravating waste of time and money.

Anyone contemplating producing kosher chickens in Ontario will be assured of the loyalty and gratitude of countless  Jewish families. This new company will not have to worry about their sales and marketing experience.

Phyllis Sugar

A plea for tradition

I am worried and upset at the recent changes in the attitude of The CJN to traditional Judaism.

First there was a column on the benefits of women rabbis having mixed marriages and now you print a story about women cantors. What message are you sending to our youth?

Can you go back a generation or two and think of what your parents and grandparents would have thought of this? What effect will this have on future generations who are going further and further away from traditional Yiddishkeit unless they are connected to authentic Judaism?

Is The CJN trying to create a new religion by throwing all our sacred teachings out the window? 

I don’t know if this is the direction your new editor introduced or this is the general attitude of The CJN, but I am quite saddened at these prospects. 

I hope you will take my letter to heart and see what you can do for tikkun olam.  

Rebecca Aisenbach