In early 2019, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government passed Bill 21, which bans public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on duty. Specifically, the law affects any public employee who carries a weapon (including any law officers), crown prosecutors, government lawyers, judges, school principals and teachers. The reasoning behind enacting this, as explained in the text of the bill, is that Quebec is a “lay State”. This means that Quebec is supposed to be a state for people who are not in the clergy. The laicity of the state is based on four principles, one of which is Quebec’s religious neutrality, but also freedom of conscience and religion.
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While certified pre-packaged foods are still available in the Whitehall Kroger, the kosher companies have been totally removed.
I usually hate writing about things like this, and hate talking about it even more. The subject is heartbreaking and draining, especially when it feels like nobody's listening. But, after several antisemitic terror attacks last week, I feel that I cannot be silent any longer.
Netflix originals are no stranger to taking on Jewish characters and issues. The most popular of these are Unorthodox (which I hate), Russian Doll (which I love) and the reality show My Unorthodox Life (which I had very mixed feelings about). Netflix is now adding another Jewish reality show — this time a la the very popular show Indian Matchmaking — titled, rather on-the-nose, Jewish Matchmaking.
My Saturday mornings have been spent the same way for over two years now. I wake up just in time to pull on some lazy outfit and walk over to pray with Rabbi Levi Raichik. Sometimes, the location changes, and we meet at Chabad instead of his house. Different people have joined throughout the years and, over time, my relationship with Raichik has changed, but one thing that always remains constant in my Saturday mornings is cholent.
Purim is a Jewish holiday that will be starting Wednesday night this year and ending the night of Thursday. Purim is a very popular holiday among the Jewish community but is often something with which non-Jews are not familiar. So, what is Purim all about?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made waves over the past week for his courage in the face of the Russian invasion. His effort in joining the combat and his rejection of an offer to evacuate has become the face of the pro-Ukraine movement. Zelenskyy’s “I need ammunition, not a ride” has become a rallying cry, and he has garnered a sort of influencer-esque status online. This has glorified the war and has grown the international support for Ukraine, but Zelenskyy’s bravery has had another interesting effect: it has changed the perception of Jewish people in Eastern Europe.
Growing up, I was often jealous of Christian students because of the breaks they got for holidays. While every student in school is given around two weeks off for Christmas and some days off for Easter, I often found myself struggling to get excused absences for my own holidays. While in high school, I got the first day of Rosh Hashanah and the day off for Yom Kippur, which all ended once I got to college. And even those two days off were not enough to cover the days that I was obligated to observe my holidays.
Yesterday, it was the traditional Christian holiday of St. Valentine’s Day. This is a holiday that celebrates love and relationships. I’m sure that your social media feeds, like mine, were clogged with couple pictures, “Galentine’s” posts, and sweet pictures of pets. My Valentine’s Day was celebrated a bit differently, I attended my normal Monday class at Chabad. At Chabad on Mondays, there is a course held called JewishU, where a group of students come together and learn from Rabbi Levi Raichik. There is a different topic discussed each week, and the course is so popular that there are several different variations of it held throughout the week. I did not celebrate the holiday that so many others seem to have celebrated, but I would still like to express my love in the spirit of the day.
Holocaust revisionism, also known as Holocaust distortion, is a tenet of Holocaust denial. Revisionism is an attempt at rewriting history, so that the genocide by the hands of the Nazis seems less horrific, and more like an invention or an exaggeration by the Jewish people.
I was a senior in high school when a gunman barged into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was heartbroken. My barely 18-year-old-self had yet to encounter a threat like this so close to home. Growing up in Cleveland and participating in a plethora of activities that involved other midwestern Jewish teens, I had many friends who lived near the synagogue.
“Birthright” is the name for the program that offers free trips to Israel to Jewish college students. It offers trips to students aged 18-32, and the trips are seven to 10 days long. The majority of the trips take place during school breaks, and tend to combine two or three schools’ groups and combine them on a bus.
Hanukkah is the holiday that Jewish people all around the world spend commemorating the Jewish revolution against the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Judaism had been outlawed by his regime after the looting of the Temple, and the Jewish army, called the Maccabees, then won it back. The menorah of the temple was lit, but there was only enough oil to keep it lit for one day. Miraculously, the menorah was able to stay lit for eight days.
While it used to be (and, in some dark corners of the internet, still is) a common theme around the holidays to claim a “war on Christmas,” there was a war on Hanukkah. A few of them, actually. It seems that ever since Judaism came on the scene, there have been people who have tried to stop the practice of it.
Your closest family and friends surround the table. You’re dressed nicely, eating special food and are reflecting on what you’re most grateful for. Sounds like Thanksgiving, right? It’s actually the Jewish holiday Shabbat.
I consider myself to be one of the more visibly Jewish students on campus. I have a uniquely Israeli name, many stereotypical “Jewish features” (my mane of curly hair being one of them) and am often seen wearing Chabad regalia with Judaica (jewelry with Jewish motifs).