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Adam Bronstone

Letter from Aviva Cohen To Adam Bronstone, Ceo of Jewish Federation Re: Tragedy in Har Nof and His Response

December 11, 2014
















Letter from Aviva Cohen To Adam Bronstone: Tragedy in Har Nof





Friday November, 2014





Dear Dr. Bronstone,







I felt it was important to send this message to you in order for you to be able to appreciate my feelings regarding the recent terror attacks in Israel, with the massacre in Har Nof only just befalling the Jewish people a few days ago.






I'm sure you know the facts. Two East Jerusalem Arab residents entered a shul in Har Nof, an uncontested area that is a peaceful community of Orthodox Jewish residents. These vile terrorists, shot, stabbed, beheaded, dismembered, maimed, wounded, and terrified a group of men and boys, all of whom were standing in silent devotion to Hashem, praying for peace, sanctifying Hashem's name.





In the course of the violent attack, four holy souls were murdered. More than two dozen children have been left fatherless. Four wives are in a state of shock and grief having lost their husbands, their life partners. A fearless defender of the people of Israel, a Druze police officer was slain, putting his life on the line to save the lives of others. This man paid the ultimate price, dying a hero and leaving behind a heartbroken wife and infant daughter who will never know him.




Many others were wounded, many critically. Lives for these people will never be the same. Some have brain damage from blows of an axe to the head. Others had body parts hacked away with cleavers. It was bloody and horrifying and traumatic. Men and boys who had witnessed the awful events of that day may never recover from the horrors that they can't unsee.




The tragedy of this day is overwhelming. To add to that is the carnage that the Jewish people have been subject to in the past several weeks. All over Israel, as well as abroad, completely innocent people have encountered such horrific acts that it pains me to detail them. A terrorist drove into a crowd of people at the light rail and killed a 3 month old baby who was brought to the Kotel that day for the first time. An off duty soldier was stabbed at a station in Tel Aviv while talking on the phone to his girlfriend. A young woman waiting at a bus stop was hit by a careening car and then, once down on the ground, the terrorist jumped out of his vehicle and stabbed her to death. The three teenagers in June were just yeshiva students waiting for a tremp. They were murdered in the back seat of a car carrying two terrorists who shot them point blank, in cold blood and then hid their bodies.






After these events that have reduced the strongest officers and first responders to tears and incomprable sadness, the insult was added to the injury by seeing biased, unsympathetic news reporting, the facts either sparse or blatantly incorrect. Some stories didn't merit reporting at all. The UN, The President of the United States, and many other representatives of countries around the world have remained silent or found it just to condemn Israel.



I'd like to know, where is the response to these events from our own community? Aside from a brief link on the Federation website, why has the Winnipeg Jewish Community remained silent while our homeland is under siege and our people are being terrorized? Has community wide tehillim been recited? Has a fundraiser been established for the widows and fatherless children who have an unsure future filled with hardship ahead of them?



I recall a vocal and visual response from the Winnipeg Jewish Community in regards to such things as tsunami relief or interfaith panels on coexistance in the past. I think it's wonderful to put forth a hand in helping and in comfort to other parts of the world in difficult times and I find it noble yet naive to believe that interfaith panel discussions with other world religions will bring forth any resolutions. The hate is out there. The anti-semitism is growing. The voices are louder and bolder than ever.



People hate us. The "free speech" on university campuses, the rantings of lunatics online. You don't have to go far to hear about hatred for the Jewish people. However, you have to search long and hard to hear the connection that we share with our own people in Israel or in other communities in Europe that are also targeted by terrorism. Where is our outcry? Our compassion? Our solidarity? Where is our commitment to speak out against blatant anti-semitism? Hate speech is just a step away from acting on it. No one is safe and playing to the cameras, making nice on stage or on missions with handshakes and camera ops will not bleach the hatred from their hearts.



The time for being nice and making friends is over. Judaism is our badge of honour and distinction in the world. We aren't supposed to blend in, we were meant to stand apart. This false preception of coexistance and the lack of Jewish education, the lack of Torah values, both taught and learned is what is diluting the ancient connection that we have with our people and our homeland. We should have heard outcry from our Jewish community leaders after each and every one of the acts of terror that we have suffered. We should be in tears. We should be in mourning.




Why is the Winnipeg Jewish community silent?



 Aviva Cohen














First, I want to let you know that, for whatever reasons, I did not directly receive this email of yours.  Had I received it (in my proper inbox) I of course would have responded to you as soon as possible. Having said that, I do hope that you received the email that I sent out a few days after the tragedy, which went to the entire community. Un

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