Like all Canadians, we have been observing the situation unfolding in Ukraine with horror and grave concern. To demonstrate our support for our Ukrainian-Canadian neighbours and the people of Ukraine, we issued a joint statement with B’nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center that was signed by Jewish organizations from across Canada.
As Jews, we’ve always said that we believe in collective responsibility, but not in collective guilt. And the sins of the parents are not visited upon the children. And there’s no question that Ukraine today is far different from the Ukraine of the past. And the most compelling piece of evidence of that is they overwhelmingly elected a Jewish president, (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy. He’s now the courageous figure, manning the ramparts and defending Ukraine and freedom, and he deserves our support.
– Rabbi Reuben Poupko
CIJA QC Co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko, along with fellow Montreal Rabbis Adam Sheier and Mark Fishman, turned words of support into deeds with a visit to Ukraine and Poland this week to express solidarity to distribute clothing, food, and money to refugees of all backgrounds, and to learn how the Canadian Jewish community can Stand with Ukraine.
In the below video, Rabbi Poupko speaks about his time spent in Poland with Jewish refugees from Ukraine.
In 2009, Canada and 45 other countries committed to the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets. It calls for just and fair solutions regarding private communal and heirless property stolen from Jews during WWII, urging governments to “make every effort to provide for the restitution of former Jewish communal and religious property.” Some countries – most notably Poland – have failed to do so. Given that thousands of Holocaust Survivors live in poverty, this failure to act is tragic. Learn about our recommendation to government here.
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