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Over the last 16 years as your MLA for Tuxedo, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with people from countless cultural and faith groups. Each time I attend Folklorama or other cultural events throughout the year I marvel at the vibrant diversity of our community.
I believe it’s important to acknowledge how much these groups contribute to the economic prosperity and social togetherness of Tuxedo. As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I want to extend a special thank you to Tuxedo’s Jewish community for all they do to make Tuxedo a wonderful place to live and raise a family.
I know that members of Winnipeg’s Jewish community are incredibly hard working and caring people. From the Asper Jewish Community Campus to a multitude of small businesses and religious organizations like Chabad-Lubavitch of Winnipeg, which is just steps from my constituency office, the Jewish community gives so much back to Tuxedo.
Unfortunately, Jewish people in Canada and in Manitoba still face discrimination and persecution. According to the annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents compiled by the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, there were 1,277 anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2015 ranging from online harassment to vandalism and violence.
The Jewish community understands all too well what it’s like to be persecuted, and they know that education is the cornerstone of any society that values community and condemns discrimination.
By establishing renowned educational institutions in Tuxedo, the Jewish community has taken major steps toward creating a better society. In particular, the Asper Jewish Community Campus functions as a thriving village of religious, cultural and historical educational institutions for the Jewish community.
I know many Tuxedo parents have proudly sent their children to the Gray Academy of Jewish Education, watching them grow into confident and successful young adults. This education is bolstered by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, which offers excellent educational programming for children and adults alike.
I am also happy to have the offices of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg in Tuxedo. Their assistance to Jewish immigrants, their opposition to anti-Semitism and their defense of Israel help ensure Winnipeg’s Jewish community continues to thrive. In addition, I know that the Federation is proud of its work with other ethno-cultural communities, specifically its outreach work with Norway House Cree Nation.
Many in the Jewish community are also embracing this spirit of activism as part of Operation Ezra, a multi-faith coalition dedicated to rescuing Yazidis from northern Iraq where they are being targeted by ISIS for extermination.
I recently had the honour of attending the Asper Jewish Community Campus for the 22nd annual commemoration of the heinous bombing of a Jewish community centre, the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This senseless 1994 attack killed 85 people and injured hundreds.
What struck me during the ceremony was how the Jewish people have continued to overcome incredible persecution time and again throughout history. They remain a strong and vital community, and I appreciate all that they’ve done to help make Tuxedo a wonderful constituency that I am proud to serve.