By Harriet Wolman.
I have spent my life with a personal mission to help improve the lives of others. I have had a long career pioneering in multicultural education, improving the status of women, serving the frail well elderly, recommending strategies to assist immigrant youth who drop out of school, and, finally, serving for nearly twenty years on the Immigration and Refugee Board as a member of its Refugee Protection Division.
As a member of Holy Blossom Temple since childhood, I have been conscious of the plight of European Jews during the Holocaust and the anti-Semitism that existed, not only in Europe but in North America as well. I know from my professional work that anti-Semitism exists throughout European countries even today, as does anti-Roma sentiment. The Roma population throughout Europe has even recently experienced expulsion, physical violence, lack of social support, and minimal acceptance wherever they find themselves.
As Jews, we know, if not from personal experience, but from what our brothers and sisters endured in Europe, that we must share responsibility with other Canadians to see that these practices do not occur here. We should help our community to understand the plight of Roma who are persecuted everywhere and are neither well-received nor understood in Canada either.
I personally support the Temple Program “Why the Roma?” planned for June 5 and I hope everyone will attend.