Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocide

Lemkin lobbied tirelessly for the United Nations to adopt a definition of the word genocide

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocideI recently asked my Grade 12 students if Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide”, was a great man. What I got in response from my students was quite thought provoking. Everyone seemed to agree that Lemkin was a noble man with a noble cause. He was a Polish Jew, born in 1900.…

Truth will triumph – but not without our help

As we embrace the truth of humanity's most horrific actions, hateful lies lose their power, we become enlightened and the path to a better world becomes clear

Truth will triumph – but not without our help“Truthfulness alone constitutes the spiritual discipline of the Kali Yuga,” the Hindu tell us. As we study the beliefs of our sisters and brothers, we realize how much we have in common – and how universal wisdom always points to truth. The Kali Yuga, the age of the goddess Kali, is a time of death and destruction,…

Standing firm against a rising tide of anti-Semitism

The way to combat these racist abominations is to speak truth, and to speak it persistently in a loud and unified voice

Standing firm against a rising tide of anti-SemitismJust when we thought we had advanced as a society, putting disgraceful intolerance behind us and embracing and celebrating our ethnic diversity, we realize we still have a long way to go. The Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver received bomb threats on March 8 and March 12. These threats coincide with other anti-Semitic behaviour and…

Lesson from the tragedy of the MS St. Louis

We turned away a ship full of gifted souls, ready and willing to use their talents for the betterment of Canada, before because of our irrational fears

Lesson from the tragedy of the MS St. LouisHistory too often repeats itself, to the detriment of us all. In the months before the start of the Second World War, more than 900 Jews boarded the MS St. Louis in Hamburg harbour in hopes of escaping the racism of Nazi Germany. All of these people had witnessed Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and…

Irena Sendler’s remarkable courage should inspire us all

As a member of the Polish underground in Warsaw, Sendler saved thousands of Jewish children from the Nazis because she had the courage to follow her convictions

Irena Sendler’s remarkable courage should inspire us allIrena Sendler, when asked about the thousands of Jewish children she saved during the Second World War, said, “I was no hero. I just did a regular thing.” This is a common sentiment expressed by rescuers. In many ways, they're absolutely right. Almost all of us feel a calling to stand up for what we know…

Finding meaning through the eyes of a survivor

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl helps students embrace some of life's most fundamental lessons

Finding meaning through the eyes of a survivorOften when we make concessions for others, we create great moments for ourselves. As a teacher, I'm always open to expanding and improving my program. For years, I've studied the Holocaust as part of my Social Justice 12 course. This year, I gave my students more choice in studying the topic. It resulted in me…

Elie Wiesel left the world a better place than he found it

The best way we can honour this great man is to continue his mission to bear witness and make the world free from genocide

Elie Wiesel left the world a better place than he found itThe person who exemplified the power of a witness has passed away. Elie Wiesel died on July 2 at the age of 87. Wiesel was not simply a Holocaust survivor, he was a great teacher and a man of passion who left the world much better than he found it. His legacy calls upon all…

Canada Post is keeping bad company

Does business with a man who promotes Holocaust denial, racism, homophobia and sexual assault

Canada Post is keeping bad companyDoes Judy Foote care about racism and Holocaust denial? She must. She’s a veteran of politics, and has been in the game for a couple decades, both in Ottawa and in her home province of Newfoundland. She won re-election in 2015 with 82 per cent of the vote. She has clearly been effective, or she…