Strengthening Partnerships: April 2016

With Passover behind us and spring finally here, our Partnerships Team is gearing up for a busy month ahead. I am particularly excited that we will be hosting our first event as part of our Seek Peace and Pursue It program – a breakfast briefing for Christian leaders to be held at the Toronto School of Theology this month, highlighting the ground-breaking, peace-building work of Hand in Hand.

In providing you with our update for April, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to share some bittersweet news. Many of you will be familiar with my colleague and friend Sarina Rehal, who has been a pillar of our outreach efforts for the past six years. Sarina will be leaving us at the end of this week to accept an exciting opportunity at a public affairs firm.

The team will miss Sarina’s energy, strategic mind, passion for the issues, and sense of humour. That said, she won’t be going far – and we know that she will continue to be a source of advice and support for our important work moving forward.

The team will be joined by Sarina’s successor in May, who I look forward to introducing in good time. Stay tuned!


Richard Marceau

General Counsel and Senior Government Advisor
Chair of CIJA’s Partnerships Team

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  • The Partnerships Team attended a planning meeting of a Toronto interfaith committee – including the Toronto Area Interfaith Council – tasked with organizing an interfaith lunch for Mayor John Tory and City Council members.
  • CIJA met with Paul Grod, President of the Ukranian Canadian Congress (UCC), as well as the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, to discuss ways in which we can further strengthen ties between the Ukrainian and Jewish communities in Canada. Current initiatives include creating opportunities to bring together leadership from the two communities as well as jointly commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre. The meeting also provided CIJA with additional insights into the UCC’s ongoing advocacy efforts pertaining to the crisis in Ukraine.
  • CIJA met with staff and leadership from Ve’ahavta to discuss ongoing collaboration on initiatives relating to reconciliation with indigenous communities. The meeting is part of sustained efforts from the communities to ensure continued discussion and education from last year’s Jewish Statement of Solidarity presented at the final report hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • CIJA met with leadership from the Toronto Ismaili community to discuss a number of issues on CIJA’s advocacy agenda. CIJA is working to provide guidance on halal certification for Canadians of Muslim faith.
  • CIJA met with the leadership of Project Rozana, an initiative to strengthen the Palestinian health care sector through partnerships with Israeli hospitals. CIJA has identified Project Rozana as a worthy project in our Seek Peace and Pursue It CIJA is currently working with Rozana’s leadership in Canada to establish partnerships between Canadian churches and the Jewish community to support its work.
  • Staff attended a meeting of the Multifaith Alliance to end Homelessness in Toronto, of which CIJA is a member. The meeting focused on action items the group can undertake to advance the issue of affordable housing in the GTA.
  • In Quebec, CIJA continues to work with the Burundian diaspora to assist them in their advocacy efforts.
  • CIJA Quebec has a longstanding collaboration with Mediamosaique and is working closely with them on their upcoming diversity month and gala.
  • CIJA Quebec has been working to support the Armenian community in this year’s March for Humanity Montreal for the Prevention of Genocide, and will be participating in the March.
  • CIJA Quebec, through the auspices of the Christian Jewish Dialogue Group, participated in organizing the Christian Commemoration of the Shoah at a Quebec church, Paroisse Le Bon Pasteur, in Longueil. The moving ceremony was a great collaboration between the Jewish and Christian communities.
  • Luciano discussed with the Quebec President of the Italian Congress possible future endeavors between the Jewish and Italian communities.
  • Bill S-201 passed third reading in the Senate. CIJA has been actively fighting for protection from genetic discrimination, in partnership with the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness. It is now up to the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to push legislation forward to prevent genetic discrimination in Canada.
  • CIJA staff from different parts of the country have been in touch with Faith in Canada 150, a Cardus program, to ensure Jewish community engagement and participation in the upcoming programs in celebration of Canada’s 150th
  • CIJA Pacific continues to work with the Metro Vancouver Alliance and attended the most recent strategy meeting to discuss issues around affordable housing and poverty reduction. The Metro Vancouver Alliance consists of 58 members from labour, educational and faith-based institutions.
  • The Jewish-Christian Dialogue of Vancouver held its second general gathering of 2016, featuring the Reverend from the Armenian Church of Richmond, Father Hrant Tahanian. The group engaged in conversation about Armenian history, the Armenian Christians in the diaspora, the genocide of 1915 and the highlight of their incredible work privately sponsoring close to a 100 refugees locally.
  • In the Pacific Region, CIJA met with Mary Gerges, from Reconciliation Canada to continue planning around joint community activities after the National Gatherings.


Would you like more information about any of these issues? Are you interested in getting involved in CIJA’s efforts to build partnerships with other communities? Please connect with us here.

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