Shabbat Candlelighting 3:57 p.m.                                             Friday, December 9, 2011/13 Kislev 5772

This message has 634 words, and will take about 1-2 minutes to read.

Action Alert Regarding the Iranian Nuclear Threat
Two weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency released its most damning and conclusive report on Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons. We need your help to ensure that Canada does everything within its power to confront the Iranian threat. Last week, Canada expanded its economic sanctions against the government of Iran, demonstrating crucial leadership in confronting the Iranian nuclear threat. These sanctions, supported by the opposition parties, prohibit most financial transactions with the Iranian government, add individuals and entities to the list of proscribed persons and expand the list of prohibited goods. While these enhanced measures cover the known leadership of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), they fall short of blocking transactions with the organization in its entirety.

As many experts have noted, including the Hon. Irwin Cotler, MP, Mark Dubowitz and Sheryl Saperia, the IRGC plays a central role in Iran’s nuclear weaponization program, domestic human rights abuses and acts of terrorism worldwide. Their actions pose a clear threat not only to the security of the Middle East, but to the entire world. The most effective and comprehensive thing Canada can do to isolate the IRGC is to list it as a terrorist organization. Please click here to email the government today and help us ensure that Canada is doing everything within its power to curb Iranian terrorism.

The Remarkable Transition of Russian Jewry
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with a few members of our community who emigrated from the Soviet Union, and who have become active both locally and nationally in the Jewish community. We met to discuss ways in which we could work together to deepen the connections that Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU) have to the community. This week, another community member forwarded a video clip documenting the opening of a new Museum of Russian Jewish History in Moscow.

When I began my career at Jewish Federation in Cleveland 27 years ago, my first assignment was coordinating Soviet Jewish advocacy efforts. I visited Russia in 1985, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and suffice it to say it wasn’t a very open environment within which Jewish life and culture could thrive. Virtually all Jewish expression was driven underground. To see the transformation that has occurred over these years is extraordinary. Looking at it through the lens of my trip to Russia in 1985, I would never have imagined it could be possible. I encourage you to view the clip, because it is instructive not only in terms of what it possible today in the FSU, but also what could be possible if we more fully engaged the vibrant and talented population of immigrants from the FSU who live here in our own community.

Parashat Vayishlach
This week’s parasha includes the story of the meeting between Jacob and Esau after 20 years of estrangement. They haven’t seen each other since Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and left their home. He approaches the reunion with trepidation, fearing Esau’s anger. He prepares elaborate gifts and also plays up Esau’s strength. In the end, the brothers meet, embrace and weep.

There are times when we carry the bitterness of conflict with us for long periods. We become entrenched in our positions, wallow in our own hurt, and completely lose sight of the other’s perspective. We can even lose the ability to assume there is another perspective.

Esau had every reason to hold a grudge against Jacob to the end of his days. But Esau realized that the bonds the brothers shared were more important than the conflict that separated them. When we recognize that we are am echad – one people - with shared bonds of history and destiny, we can overcome that which divides us, and reconcile our differences.

Shabbat Shalom!

This is an official email sent to you from the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. Federation respects and upholds an individual’s right to privacy and to protection of his or her personal information. We use personal data for providing up-to-date information on our objectives, services, to process donations.