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Welcome to 2020!

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

It’s hard to say “Happy New Year,” when the year started off with catastrophic fires in Australia, warmongering from the American head of state, a spate of antisemitic attacks (see UJPO’s statement on p. 2) and ongoing disregard for people of the Wet’suwet’en nation in their attempts to protect their traditional territories from the destruction of pipelines.

Given this state of affairs, you might want to consider joining us for some laughs at the first Alternative Shabbes event on January 24. UJPO members Harriet and Andy Lyons, two retired professors of anthropology, will be exploring how humour has been used to oppose the politics of the right. They guarantee some good chuckles, as well as some serious conversation.

In February, the Naivelt Midwinter Mingle is back! Organized this year by the Indigenous Solidarity Working Group, the event will include schmoozing, swimming and noshing as well as an all-ages art activity centering on wildlife stories from Camp Naivelt.

March will feature another Alternative Shabbes, this time with the wonderful Suzanne Weiss, author of Holocaust to Resistance: My Journey. Suzanne, who is an UJPO member, will speak about Jewish resistance and survival under Nazi occupation with a focus, in honour of International Women’s Day, on the role of Jewish woman in the resistance and on some “lessons for today.”

In April, please join us for our annual Third Seyder on Saturday, April 18. This year’s theme is the climate crisis and climate activism. Plans are already underway! If you know of examples of inspiring climate activism or you have suggestions for songs related to the theme, please send them along!

May’s Alternative Shabbes will be a launch for Paul Weinberg’s new book, When Poverty Mattered: Then and Now — a history of radical politics in 1960s Canada and an illustration of some of the dirty tricks orchestrated by the Canadian government to disrupt activist organizations.

In June, in collaboration with our friends at the Noor Cultural Centre, we are putting together a panel discussion about the legal, philosophical and political questions raised by free speech/hate speech debates. Details to follow in the coming months and the next issue of L'Khaim.

And, of course, our regular programs Red Yiddish and Zing! Zing! Zing! are starting up again and will run regularly through the year.

In times like these, more than ever, we need our friends and allies around us. Please come build community with us. Hope to see you soon!

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press

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