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By Rabbi Yael Splansky.

The night of November 9th marks the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  On this Night of Broken Glass in 1938, ninety-one Jews were murdered.  30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked.  7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged.  And 267 synagogues were set to flame.  It was the beginning of the systematic hatred that nearly swallowed the world whole.

November 11th will be Remembrance Day.   This Shabbat we will salute our valiant veterans and honour the memories of the Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to God and country.  May they and everything they stood for instruct us in the discipline of courage.  We will say Kaddish for the twenty-three young men of our congregation who fell during the Two World Wars.  They are:

John Alfred Benjamin
Sydney Brown
Zave Brown
Leonard Cohen
Myer T. Cohen
M. Kenneth Emsig
David J. Fryfelt
Albert Glazer
Fred B. Harris
Theodore Herman
Daniel L. Jacobs
Julies Kramer
George Meltz
Howard Mitchell
Lambert Nussbaum
David Raitblat
Lionel Roher
Martin Roher
Arthur Rotenberg
Cecil Samuel
William Schwartz
Henry B. Sigel
Lou Warren Somers

May their memories forever be a blessing.

There are many lessons learned by marking these days on our calendar.  By doing so, we remind one another just how small this world is, just how intertwined are the lives of peoples and nations, and just how critical is the personal responsibility taken by each and every human being.  We get to choose to respond with compassion or indifference, to stir up love for humanity or hatred. We can act with courage or with fear, with hope or with despair, with understanding or with prejudice.

Today we pray for the welfare of The United States of America and all her inhabitants.  We know that the freedom and justice we enjoy in Canada depend upon the strength and stability of our most important ally and neighbour.  Today we count our blessings.  We are fortunate enough to build a home and a congregation here in this good country.  Let us take instruction from the Prophet Jeremiah who said:  “Seek the welfare of the place to which you have been exiled and pray to The Eternal God on its behalf, for in its prosperity, you shall prosper.”  (Jeremiah 29:7)

A Prayer for Our Country, Its Leaders, and Defenders

We pray for all who serve in positions of leadership and responsibility in our national life.  Protect them, O God, as they aid and defend Your creation; inspire them to be responsive to Your will, so that Canada may be to the world an example of justice and compassion.  Deepen our love for our country and our desire to serve it.  Cause us to see clearly that the well-being of our nation is in the hands of all its citizens.  Keep our homes safe from affliction, strife, and war. And together we say:  Amen.

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