Not only Orthodox want religious school
I take great exception to Scott Anderson's Oy Day! (NOW, August 10-16), which assumes that all people who send their children to Jewish religious day schools are Orthodox Jews. I, for one, am not.
Whether one is an Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or unaffiliated parent sending one's children to a day school, the discrimination in Ontario is what hurts every family and is wrong. I am sure all Jews and non-Jews would agree on that point (even those opposed to publicly funded religious education).
Stockwell Day is trying to eliminate the practice of religious discrimination in Ontario's education funding system, nothing else. He is the only major federal or provincial politician trying to do so.
Muslim parents want their own schools, too
At first it was with in- terest, and ultimately with frustration, that I read Scott Anderson's article. As one of the individuals contacted about this story, I am shocked that once again the media are trying to make the issue of religious school funding a Jewish issue, a marginal Jewish issue at that.
It is absolutely amazing that an article on this issue can be written without a single mention of the UN human rights committee ruling that declared Canada and Ontario guilty of discrimination against the members of its religious communities, except the Catholics.
In my conversation with Anderson, I specifically told him that I was very concerned that he was only focusing on the Jewish community. This focus ignores the fact that of the 42,000 students in unfunded religious schools in Ontario, over 65 per cent are Christians, 25 per cent are Jewish, about 8 per cent are Muslim and 2 per cent Sikh.
In fact, I even gave him the name of one of the leaders in the Muslim community who would be very happy to talk about the impact of this discrimination on the children and parents in his community.
Director of Operations
Ontario Parents for Equality in Education Funding Ontario Parents for Equality in Education Funding
Even lefty Jews see funding discrimination
You refer to religious schooling as "still a minority option in Jewish Toronto." What you neglect to mention is that even among the liberal left this is not always a voluntary option. In fact, many left-leaning middle- to lower-income families are becoming increasingly irritated simply because their children do not have the same rights as other parochial students.
My own alma mater, C.H.A.T. (Community Hebrew Academy Toronto), is the most progressive and the only co-ed Jewish high school in Toronto. It is also the largest and most popular, leading one to believe that even more students would apply if not for the stiff five-figure price tag.
Yes, subsidies are available, but generally for lower-income families, leaving out a huge range of middle-income families who aren't destitute but certainly aren't in a position to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their children's education.
How could Jews back someone like Day?
Regarding Scott Ander-son's article Oy Day!, the price of a Jewish education can be cumbersome. However, the cost of electing Stockwell Day prime minister could be much higher.
Stockwell Day supports capital punishment. The Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai Brith was founded in the early 1900s after a Jewish man in the United States was wrongly convicted of murder and then put to death.
That Stockwell poll meant for the dogs
Your poll on Stock-
well Day (NOW, Aug 10-16) was a laughable example of loading the question to tilt the answers in the direction you desired. Imagine the howls of derision if the National Post published poll results based on the following question: Some people say the federal New Democratic party is too extreme or left-wing ever to be elected. Do you agree or disagree?
Blue Rodeo tempest ignores Canada's past
I fully support my ABOR-igine brothers and sisters in Australia. However, all this criticism regarding Blue Rodeo performing at the Olympic Games in Sydney (NOW, August 10-16) is a bit much. Perhaps, those Blue Rodeo guys shouldn't play in Canada either? Or have we all forgotten Oka and our history as well?
Chippewas of Nawash First Nation
And they played for George Bush, too
Just for the record,
Blue Rodeo, despite a widely publicized ban by First Nations Lubicon peoples, played for Brian Mulroney at the Calgary Winter Olympics.
They also sang the national anthem at a baseball game in Toronto attended by then U.S. president (and former head of the CIA) George Bush, who threw out the first ball. Oh, and I almost forgot, they made a record to help Leonard Peltier. At least the artists who contributed were paid nothing.
Let's see some proof, guys. How about an independent third party to show us that Blue Rodeo didn't just try to look good with Indians while exploiting aboriginal struggles for Warner Brothers?
When will NOW expand their annual readers poll to include the much needed category "most phony muzak group"?
A coloured look at being black and gay
We are writing in re-
sponse to the article Out Of The Black Closet, by Vernon Clement Jones (NOW, August 3-9). While we thought the article succeeded in its aim to be provocative, we were quite disturbed and annoyed by the inaccuracies and misrepresentations it contained. Some of the quotations attributed to us were not what we said, nor were the descriptors used to characterize us or our experiences accurate.
It is unfortunate that Vernon chose to do a one-dimensional article that served only to reinforce racist stereotypes of our community as more homophobic than others, containing only closeted gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Within a heterosexist society, the closet is a reality with which all communities contend/struggle.
We also found it interesting that the article totally ignored an important, celebratory and affirming event put on by Blackness Yes! (a group of black gays, lesbians and bisexuals) at Pride only a month and a half ago, namely Blockorama: A Celebration Of Black Pride.
This annual event drew hundreds of black people, including gays, lesbians, bisexuals, heterosexuals and transgendered people, and is only one of the more recent examples of our community's rich history of "out" organizing, activism, arts and, yes, partying in resistance to much of the homophobia Vernon detailed. This history was absent in the article.
From all of this, we are left with these questions: Vernon, what is your agenda? Why do you choose to characterize our community in such a fashion and not show the depth, complexity, joy and love that does exist?
We deserve and are entitled to much better.
Dionne A. Falconer Dionne A. Falconer
Trevor Gray Trevor Gray
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jones used notes taken during interviews in writing of the story
Actors cringe when you slag them like that
I was furious last year when NOW's theatre critics ghettoized some of the shows in the SummerWorks theatre festival in a column headlined "Don't bother." I protested in vain -- they've done it again this year.
The playwrights, directors and actors have put a lot of work into these shows, and however awful we think they are, it must be devastating for them to see their plays marked "Psst... Don't bother."
I have no personal stake in any of the SummerWorks productions, but it's totally unnecessary for Jon Kaplan and Glenn Sumi to continue this nasty skewering under the guise of criticism. NOW's readers can figure out for themselves which shows are worth seeing: just mix the stinkers in with all the others, and let the N-rating tell the story.
P.S.: How come Sky Gilbert's Hell House!!, with its 2-N ("seriously flawed") rating, gets a place alongside the good stuff, while other plays with the same 2-N rating are lumped under the headline "Good work...Too bad about the show"? Equal treatment for "names" and nobodies, please!
A galling attempt to get labour for nothing
Just read your ad look-
ing for funky intern folk. Could be that I've forgotten my glasses, but I swear that at no time did I see any mention of remuneration.
Granted, this baffling notion of indentured servitude is not unique to NOW.
What's galling, though, is your attempt to cloak the inherent opportunism involved in such an oxymoronic practice as "hiring" a volunteer worker in that oh-so-familiar and increasingly grating hipster vernacular.
What about those progressive social values you claim to cling to so lovingly? What about your self-proclaimed mandate to champion the rights of the poor and downtrodden?
Couldn't be that you merely see the financial advantage in your attempts to corner the funky downtown niche market, could it?
Must be -- otherwise you wouldn't expect a talented and fully capable graduate saddled with a $30,000 debt to work four months for free. Please, drop the cutesy euphemisms. This isn't "schlepping," it's slave labour.
A Toronto weekly should cover Toronto
Last time I looked, NOW was a Toronto paper, right?
So what are you doing printing letters to the editor about a strike happening out west that doesn't affect Torontonians (NOW, August 10-16)?
While we're on the subject, when was the last time NOW had an issue that was purely Toronto-focused? You should start reading your own 7 Day Events listings and cover those subjects more.