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Culturally Jewish

The CJN Podcast Network

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Join actors David Sklar and Ilana Zackon as they schmooze with creative Jews of all disciplines, taking you behind the scenes of what matters most to Canada's Jewish arts community—and why our cultural representation matters.
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Rivkush

The CJN Podcast Network

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Rivka "Rivkush" Campbell, a Jew of Jamaican descent, has been one of Canada's most vocal Jews of colour. In this podcast, she interviews fascinating Jews of colour from all over the world, opening dialogue with the mainstream Jewish community about their views, perspectives and experiences.
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Bonjour Chai

The Jewish Living Lab and The CJN Podcast Network

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Hear opinions, debate and hot takes on everything from politics to fashion to pop culture from hosts Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Subscribe to the Substack at bonjourchai.substack.com.
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Menschwarmers

The CJN Podcast Network

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The world’s biggest Jewish sports podcast. Join Gabe and Jamie for laid-back interviews with pro athletes, executives and athletes; global commentary on Jewish and Israeli sports; and surprisingly in-depth investigations into whether athletes whose names sound Jewish actually are. Follow us on Twitter @menschwarmers. Brought to you by The Canadian Jewish News Podcast Network.
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Not That Kind of Rabbi

The CJN Podcast Network

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Spiritual journeys, discussions and lessons from award-winning broadcaster Ralph Benmergui. Every two weeks, join Ralph and his insightful guests for an in-depth sit-down conversation about the unseen problems affecting our world.
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Kol Avrum

The CJN Podcast Network

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The phrase "Kol Ram" literally means "a loud voice" in Hebrew, and veteran radio host and CJN contributor Avrum Rosensweig certainly has a loud voice—and a valuable one. Every month, Avrum invites a different guest to share their story and better understand what it means to be Jewish. Whether it's a local butcher or a federal politician, Avrum listens to their stories in a long-form interview to better understand what makes the Canadian Jewish community worth celebrating.
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If you're a Jew in Canada, odds are good you live in a big city. But Jews have built communities all across our home and native land, and in this podcast, veteran broadcaster Ralph Benmergui journeys across Canada in search of proud Jews from small places. From Moncton to Moose Jaw, Glace Bay to Thunder Bay, join Ralph as he travels from coast to coast to coast in search of a truly national Canadian Jewish identity.
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Sponsored and hosted by Dan Brotman and Yaron Deckel, we're asking big questions about Israel—and inviting you to participate. Each episode, we'll tackle a different question: Are your views on Israel different from those of your parents? When, if ever, should Canadian communal organizations voice public criticism of Israel? How do we balance our domestic philanthropic needs with the needs of Israeli organizations? What are Israel’s obligations towards Diaspora communities? Are your views on ...
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Gary Grill and Leora Shemesh want an apology from the owners of the Toronto Raptors basketball team, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. On Feb. 22, security at Scotiabank Arena asked Grill to remove his black-and-white “Free Our Hostages” sweatshirt while the two were watching the Raptors play the Brooklyn Nets at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The…
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The Jewish Public Library in Montreal came under fire last week when it pulled the books of Élise Gravel from its shelves, following a series of social media posts that the Montreal-born author and pro-Palestinian activist made that were critical of the Israeli government. The initial decision came after backlash from Jewish organizations—but, as h…
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They say two events can be a coincidence, but three make a trend. And in the past month, three Jewish or Israeli athletes have been controversially kicked out of the public sphere. First, Israel's hockey team was barred from competing in an international match in Bulgaria—the decision was reversed, and Israel wound up winning the tournament. Around…
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On Jan. 30, a striking piece of pop-up theatre was staged near Vancouver’s art gallery. A man dressed as a Hamas militant marched a woman in a white top and grey sweatpants down the street—her hands tied together, her crotch blood-stained (with dye, not real blood). Behind them was a placard: “This is what free Palestine looks like.” It was a re-en…
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Last month, the flagship Yuk Yuk's location in downtown Toronto hosted a stand-up comedy fundraiser for Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Predictably, anti-Israel protesters swarmed it. The club's founder and owner, Mark Breslin—who organized the event—tried to get in through a back entrance, only to find more protesters waiting there for him a…
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Insp. Paul Rinkoff was known to Jewish leaders in Toronto before Oct. 7, 2023 for his diplomatic, low-key approach to establishing good relationships between the Toronto police and the Jewish community. But since the Hamas attack on Israel last Thanksgiving, Rinkoff has been thrust into the very public spotlight–as the highest profile Jewish office…
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In recent years, Jewish seminaries and synagogues have faced a problem: there aren't enough young people looking to become rabbis. This shortage has resulted in institutions becoming more lax about who they accept—bending, for example, denominational lines for a young rabbi who at least actually wants to be there. But then the question of Israel co…
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As hospitals in Toronto announce they are beefing up their security procedures following Monday's anti-Israel protest outside Mount Sinai Hospital, on Feb. 14 police were called to the Thornhill constituency office of Canada's deputy Conservative party leader, Melissa Lantsman. Her staff arrived to work Wednesday to find anti-Israel posters plaster…
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Seth Zosky is a massive fan of Kanye West. He owns the shoes, has heard all his songs, and—as a drummer—dove deep into Kanye's innovative use of the retro 808 drum machine. So when Kanye started coming out as an unhinged antisemite in 2023, making ridiculous comments on podcasts and social media about Hitler, spouting conspirary theories and tweeti…
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Canada’s century-old Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto was founded in 1923 by Jewish doctors who couldn’t find work elsewhere due to antisemitic hiring policies of the day. Now, the hospital which treats patients of all faiths and employs staff from all walks of life, has become the latest flashpoint for anti-Israel protesters and their campaign of i…
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As an Orthodox Jewish woman of colour, Leah Finkelstein knows what it's like to feel like an outsider. Unfortunately, her kids know, too—like when one of them scored a record-breaking triple double for his yeshiva's basketball team, resulting in the school proudly celebrating the box score on an image on social media... with a photo of a different,…
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You may have heard the story of Adi Vital-Kaploun, the Canadian citizen who was murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. The 33-year-old scientist died in the safe room of her home, murdered while protecting her two sons: four-month-old Eshel and four-year-old Negev. The boys, and their father survived the massacre, as did Adi's father, Yaron Vital.…
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Does Judaism need a rebrand? In the wake of Oct. 7—against a backdrop of rising Jew hatred, rampant anti-Zionism and more antisemitic conspiracy theories than ever before—some would argue we do. It's through that lens that Avi and Phoebe have noticed a number of organizations shift their marketing strategies. Speaking to the broader public, we've s…
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Rabbi Zelig Golden likes to describe Judaism as a religion of deep roots, interconnectivity, compassion and feminine divinity, reminding the world that Adam came from the adamah. It's this philosophy that inspired Wilderness Torah, an organization based in California that promotes "healing, belonging and resilience," in an attempt to reshape how Je…
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Two weeks ago, Canada joined the United States and other top Western donors in announcing they will suspend further funding to UNWRA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. The move comes after intelligence from Israel and other sources proved the extent to which thousands of UNWRA employees and their family members have ties to Hamas—…
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Feb. 7, 2024, marks the 28th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a global movement that aims to inspire and encourage young girls and women around the world to get active, play sports and break boundaries. But the barriers are real. There are societal prejudices and fewer opportunities for girls to get into sports—and even more stereotyp…
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One of the lesser-known consequences of the horrific Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, has been the shutdown of normal life for Israelis living in northern Israel: hundreds of families who live near the border with Lebanon had to be evacuated from their homes to escape the barrage of rockets fired by Hezbollah forces, which continues to t…
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On Feb. 1, the Canadian government announced it wants to postpone until 2027 the commitment to expand medical assistance in dying (MAiD), which currently does not allow patients with mental illness to end their lives with a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s help.MAiD has been legal for terminally ill patients since 2016, and since 2021, for those…
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Since Oct. 7, Jewish media outlets have skyrocketed in popularity. Comparing website traffic in November 2023 against November 2022, we here at The Canadian Jewish News saw visitors nearly double. What's more—those new heights have held strong ever since. It's a bittersweet byproduct of Israel's war with Hamas, and the subsequent spikes in antisemi…
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This weekend, on Feb. 3, Toronto will host the NHL All-Star Weekend—and it might just be the most Jewish one yet. There are three (maybe four?) Jews playing, including two of the three Hughes brothers (Quinn and Jack), the New York Rangers' Artemi Panarin, and Jeremy Swayman—who may or may not be Jewish, with different media outlets putting out con…
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As the rabbinic leader at Temple Sinai Congregation in Toronto, Rabbi Michael Dolgin has gotten used to speaking to a crowd. But on Feb. 11, the Canadian rabbi had been hoping to appear before a global audience of more than 100 million, as part of a 30-second commercial about antisemitism that's debuting during Super Bowl LVIII. Rabbi Dolgin was pa…
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Ari Gross has never written a comic book before. But when he decided to try making one, he found his background came in handy. A machine learning engineer by day with a background in data science, Gross completed his PhD on the history and philosophy of science and technology—a perfect fit for writing a comic that brings 20th-century Toronto and Ka…
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When the trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board convene their monthly public meeting on Tuesday Jan. 30, the trustee for Zone 9, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, will not be permitted to participate. It’s a result of the sanctions imposed on the high-profile physician, back in December, for what the board voted were breaches of their trustees’…
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What did Friday’s International Court of Justice ruling mean? Did Israel actually get convicted of carrying out genocide on the Palestinian people in Gaza during its three-month military campaign that began when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7? Why did Israel’s own judge on the panel, Aharon Barak, vote against his country in some rulings? And what…
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For much of the last century, Judaism became intertwined with Zionism—the belief that Israel is our homeland and being a good Jew requires support for, if not a migration to, the nascent State of Israel. But in the aftermath of Oct. 7, a sharp uptick of North American Jews have also begun speaking out more clearly against Israel—not just its govern…
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The climate crisis is the fault of no single person or country, but rather a widespread ideology of materialism and overwhelming lack of compassion for the natural world. What's worse—the crisis is intensifying each year. These are some of the themes espoused by Rabbi Yonatan Neril, the founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable …
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A Federal Court judge has ruled that the Trudeau government broke the Charter of Rights by invoking the Emergencies Act to stop the truckers’ convoy in 2022. In today’s encore presentation of The CJN Daily (because Ellin is still sick) we revist her interview with Benjamin Dichter, who rose to fame as a spokesperson for the Freedom Convoy that over…
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In one of 2023’s buzziest blockbuster films—Oppenheimer, about the real-life head of the top-secret wartime Manhattan Project—the film’s director neglected to include an important Canadian figure.A Jewish scientist from Winnipeg, Louis Slotin, was a key part of the team of groundbreaking researchers at the Los Alamos atomic laboratories. He helped …
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A note to listeners: I am sick in bed with the flu and have lost my voice (since Friday). Apologies, but there is no new show today.Check The CJN.ca website for the latest breaking news or catch up on episodes you might have missed-like this one, just ahead of Tu B’Shevat later this week: about how Canadian synagogues are going green. The yearly ob…
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Late last year, the newsletter startup Substack came under fire when an article in The Atlantic boldly proclaimed the tech company "has a Nazi problem". Nazis, it was reported, were starting newsletters on Substack and spreading their hateful propaganda. While the existence and quantity of said Nazis remained the core issue, writer Shalom Auslander…
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Did you know the late Toronto men’s fashion retailer Harry Rosen actually paid for his first store with a bag of quarters? Or that George Cohon, the lawyer who founded McDonald’s restaurants in Central and Eastern Canada, later brought Big Macs and fries to the USSR?In the last few months, Canada’s Jewish community said goodbye to Rosen, Cohon and …
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On Jan. 9, a group of Jewish Hollywood entertainers—among them David Schwimmer, Amy Schumer, Debra Messing, Jason Alexander and Michael Rapaport—published an open letter, signed by hundreds of Jewish media industry professionals, that slams the Motion Picture Academy for ignoring Jews in its "Representation and Inclusion Standards", unveiled in 202…
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Last week, at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Jewish State was accused of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, in a case launched by South Africa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly both gave oddly confusing statements, in which they said Canada’s support for international law “…
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This is the most recent episode of The CJN Daily, about the recent fracas between the International Ice Hockey Federation and Israel's national teams. We thought Menschwarmers subscribers would be especially interested, so we're cross-posting it on this feed—listen and enjoy. Last week, the International Ice Hockey Federation—the sport’s governing …
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Last week, the International Ice Hockey Federation—the sport's governing body—announced they were barring Israeli national teams from competing in crucial championship matches this winter. The move is seen by many as an unfair penalty against the Jewish State in the wake of the war with Hamas, in which an estimated 25,000 Palestinians have been kil…
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In case you've been living underground the past week, a major story broke about police being called to break up a fight happening around a secret tunnel that was dug beneath the Chabad world headquarters in New York City. Justifiably, plenty of questions were raised: who made this tunnel? Why? How long ago? Why were police called? Is any of this go…
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On January 6, 2024, a record-breaking 13,361 attendees filled an arena in Minnesota to watch their new women's hockey team trounce visitors from Montreal. The game made history as the biggest crowd on record to turn out to watch women's hockey—and it happened less than a week into the start of the newly formed Professional Women's Hockey League. Ka…
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For the first time since Oct. 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several Liberal Members of Parliament met with a large group of Toronto-based Canadian Jewish leaders on Jan. 10 at Beth Tzedec synagogue in Toronto. While the prime minister’s office and community guests had to keep the details secret ahead of time for security reasons, The CJN has…
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Vancouver rabbis Dan Moskovitz and Carey Brown spent four days in Israel in December 2023 as part of a delegation of eight spiritual leaders from the city. They carried 21 duffel bags full of supplies, toured Kibbutz Be’eri and heard from survivors, met with mourners and visited the grave of Vancouver’s Ben Mizrachi, who was murdered at the Superno…
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After weeks of Palestinians staging anti-Israel protests on Canadian streets—even going so far as to take over highway overpasses in the Toronto area—on Jan. 6, uniformed Toronto police officers were filmed handing over a large Tim Hortons coffee container and cups and snacks to some protesters blockading a Jewish neighbourhood at Avenue Rd. and Wi…
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On January 2, the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C., announced it is cancelling a forthcoming production of The Runner, a one-man play—created by a non-Jewish theatre artist—that tells the story of an Orthodox Jewish volunteer who decides to help a young Palestinian woman instead of an Israeli soldier. The decision to cancel the production came afte…
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Canada’s Jewish community wants the 119 remaining Israeli hostages to know that they are not forgotten—even though the letters they’re writing to them most likely will never arrive.For nearly three months now, in schools and synagogues and kitchen tables across Toronto, more than 1,000 volunteers have been penning letters to the hostages, filling c…
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Israel’s government says 45,000 new immigrants came to live in the Holy Land in 2023, including over 720 alone who landed since Oct. 7–when Hamas terrorists attacked and slaughtered 1,200 Israeli residents and took 240 others hostage. Among the newcomers is Irving Matlow, 96, a well-known member of Toronto’s Jewish community, who may be among the o…
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Nearly three-and-a-half years after Shai DeLuca felt he had been defamed by the owner of the now-closed Foodbenders restaurant—who suggested on social media that the Toronto interior designer was a “racist” Israeli “terrorist” who had killed Palestinian babies—an Ontario court has found in his favour.The Superior Court of Justice judgement, which w…
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As 2023 comes to a close, the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has sat down for a lot of year-end interviews with major Canadian journalists, and The CJN Daily has been asking for one with him, too–for months. But to no avail (we will keep trying). Canada’s Jewish community (and The CJN) have a lot of questions to ask about this government’s stance …
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Last week, a video from the Toronto Eaton Centre depicted a heated exchange between an individual and one of about 150 pro-Palestinian protesters chanting slogans in front of the Zara clothing store. The clip shows police keeping apart the protestors and the person filming; trying to keep the situation calm in the midst of the bustling shopping sea…
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The latest hate crime figures released by the Toronto police show they are at their highest level in a decade–with 147 reported hate crimes targeting Jews in Canada’s largest city to date in 2023. That’s more than double 2022’s total. Most of these have occurred since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, prompting Israel’s retaliation.Nearly 50 people …
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The conflict between Israel and Hamas has also been playing out in one of Canada’s smaller Jewish communities: Victoria, B.C.—where a city councillor sided with Hamas and wore a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, and where 400 Jewish students at the University of Victoria reported being spit on, and they and their Jewish professors have to run the gauntle…
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David Hofmann has seen it before. Hofmann, a terrorism expert and professor at the University of New Brunswick, has spent years researching extremist hate groups operating in Canada, including neo-Nazis but also homegrown Islamic terror sympathizers. He’s published widely, particularly about the case of the “Toronto 18”, a large group of mainly you…
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Last week, the U.S. Congress grilled several top university professors about antisemitism on their campuses—and the scrutiny on these institutions has never been more intense. The hearings were, in some ways, the culmination of years of backlash against so-called "elitist" institutions, attacks and assumptions by right-wing critics who have long co…
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