Life & Style
Full-steam ahead to honour faith, keep Shabbat on track5 minute read Yesterday at 2:00 AM CDT
In the religious home I grew up in, Sunday was viewed as a day of rest (and going to church). Play was allowed, but no work. Except homework, strangely enough. That was not only permitted, but encouraged, much to my chagrin.
These days, I don’t worry about not working on Sundays. Nor do most Christians I know. Which is why I am fascinated by Jewish friends who ardently observe the sabbath, or Shabbat, as it is known in Hebrew.
This includes my friend Jason Shron of Toronto.
Shron, 47, is an Orthodox Jew and successful businessperson who lives in Toronto but has close ties to Winnipeg (he married a Winnipeg girl).
29°C, A few clouds
Author explores trauma of shattered home life5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 27, 2023
The first memory Arthur Boers has of his father was when, in a rage, his father threw a potted plant at his wife — Boers’ mother.
Only three, Boers saw his mother duck. The potted plant sailed past her, hitting the living room window and shattering it into hundreds of pieces.
When thinking about that experience, “What could I understand?” asked Boers, 66, in his book Shattered Glass: A Son Picks Up the Pieces of his Father’s Rage. (Eerdmans.) “No one told me that smashing windows is outlandish — a troubling, dangerous infraction of civility, family life, simple good sense, thrift, safety.”
In the book, called a “poignant, compelling, redemptive cry of the heart,” Boers describes growing up in a severe, strict and theologically conservative Christian Reformed home in southern Ontario.
Berkowitz, Steinkopf, Katz: Jews had big impact on rock3 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
Dialogue circle seeks to bring communities closer3 minute read Preview Tuesday, May. 23, 2023
BREAKING down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is the goal of a truth and reconciliation dialogue circle at St. Kateri Indigenous Parish.
The event, which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 at 265 Flora Ave., will be an opportunity for both communities to come together to get to know each other better, said Thomas Novak, who does Indigenous and Métis outreach for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
“We can fear each other because we don’t sit down and talk to each other,” said Novak, who is helping to organize the circle. “We can learn a lot by listening to each other’s stories.”
The circle will include a presentation of TthaNárEltth’Er: Our Dene Hero, by Lucy Antsanen.
Jewish Heritage Month celebrates accomplishments3 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
My father-in-law used to love watching TV show credits. As the names scrolled by on the television screen, he would point his finger at every Jewish name and proudly say, shelanu, the Hebrew word for ‘ours.’
It is not uncommon for people to take pride in the accomplishments of those from their ethnic or cultural group, even when they don’t know them, but it seems to be particularly common for Jewish people to do so. With only 16 million Jews worldwide, Jewish people tend to feel like they are part of one big family, and family members, usually, are proud of one another’s achievements and eager to boast about them.
Canadian Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to boast a little more publicly. It is also an opportunity for non-Jews to learn about and gain a greater appreciation of the various ways in which Jewish people — who first settled in Canada in 1760 — have helped to shape Canada and enhance its way of life.
The federal government officially recognized May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month through an Act of Parliament in 2018. Since then, it has relied on a series of programs, panels and the website jewishheritage.ca to educate other Canadians about the contributions that their Jewish neighbours have made to Canadian society in such arenas as law, politics, academia, sports, culture and philanthropy. While that education naturally focuses on the achievements of such Canadian Jewish luminaries as Leonard Cohen, Mordechai Richler, Heather Reisman, Frank Gehry, Naomi Klein, and Winnipeg’s John Hirsch, Monty Hall and Louis Slotin, it also turns the spotlight on lesser known individuals, as well as on the long history of the Jews in Canada, and Jewish customs and concepts.
Differing views on assisted dying5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Should clergy be condemned or supported if they accompany people who choose Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)? Some Christian groups in two countries are taking markedly different approaches.
In Canada, the head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) doesn’t believe pastors should walk alongside members who choose MAID.
In a column in the May-June issue of Faith Today, EFC president and CEO David Guretzki, acknowledges its natural for clergy to want to be with people dying a natural death. But MAID is different, he said.
“My moral conviction is that any intentional ending of a person’s life apart from divine permission is a form of murder,” he stated, adding “Even though pastors aren’t the ones carrying out the procedure, they will need to answer, before God and their flocks, whether their presence is a form of permission or blessing to the person opting to have their life ended.”
Time to turn the page on SI’s swimsuit-edition victory4 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 20, 2023
Funding boost effective in growing number of hip, knee surgeries, task force says3 minute read Preview Monday, May. 15, 2023
Your opportunity to support faith coverage at the Free Press2 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 13, 2023
As I was thinking about this year’s spring crowdfunder appeal for the Religion in the News Project, I wondered: What would an artificial intelligence chatbot say about why a newspaper like the Free Press have a religion beat? So I asked ChatGPT that question.
According to the AI chatbot, a newspaper should have a religion beat in order to provide in-depth coverage of religious news and issues; to do a more nuanced job of reporting faith and spirituality; to better serve readers interested in faith; to foster understanding and dialogue between faith groups; and to cover stories not usually covered by other media.
Overall, it said, “having a religion beat can help a newspaper to provide more comprehensive coverage of an important aspect of society and to better serve the interests of its readers.”
I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a pretty good answer! And it’s what we are trying to do at the Free Press through the project.
We must do whatever we can to alleviate human suffering5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 13, 2023
Why do bad things happen to good people? That is the question Rabbi Harold Kushner set out to answer in 1981 in a book with the same name.
Kushner, who died April 28 at the age of 88, wrote the book after the death of his son, Aaron, from a rare genetic condition called progeria. The illness affects one in four million children and is fatal.
In an interview, Kushner said his son’s death at age 14 gave him “a deep, aching sense of unfairness. I had been a good person and always tried to do what was right. I had assumed my side of the bargain, so how could this be happening to my family? If God existed, if He was minimally fair, let alone loving and forgiving, how could He do this to me?”
He went on to wonder how to reconcile his belief in an all-loving and all-knowing God with the enormity of suffering in the world. “Can I, in good faith, continue to teach people that the world is good, and that a kind and loving God is responsible for what happens in it?” he said.
Bonding over books traces stories of our own lives5 minute read Preview Monday, May. 8, 2023
I’ve been a book club facilitator for about 25 years, starting with one club whose connection remains constant, adding others for measures within those 25 years.
I am such a flawed keeper of history, I don’t have exact figures. I think back to how I might have archived this experience — dates, titles, locations — but when I began, I did not really have any idea that I would have the pleasure of maintaining this effort for a quarter of a century.
I met with one club recently, in the afternoon. We are wont to meet in the day now. Aging women, most of us have retired from paid work or from hands-on parenting. When I began facilitating, on the threshold of 50, with club members in their later 60s and early 70s, I was the youngest by far.
In retrospect, that “by far” wasn’t really a reliable representation of the space between our worlds. The interval separating us seemed to me such a large expanse, but it was only 10 years or so. It felt expansive because I did not know how near I was to the intensity these book-club members had come to know, as they advanced through the life lessons of late middle age: children leaving home, marriages taking place, grandchildren introducing themselves, parents taking leave — the first edges of illnesses arriving as shadows they would come to understand more fully with the passage of time.
Minister’s pandemic missives published5 minute read Preview Saturday, May. 6, 2023
In March 2020, Michael Wilson, the minister at Charleswood United Church, decided to send his members a letter.
“We are approaching the first Sunday since the decision to suspend all gatherings was made,” he wrote, adding the only other time he could recall church being cancelled was during the April blizzard of 1997.
This, he went on to say, “was a threat of a different kind.”
At the time, Wilson — like most everyone else — thought the shutdown might last a few weeks. But that turned out to be the first of two-years worth of letters, sent each week to the 500 or so people on the church’s email list.
Manitoba touts health hires, but refuses to reveal departures, vacancies3 minute read Preview Thursday, May. 4, 2023
Manitoba hospitals to collect race data as of May 111 minute read Preview Wednesday, May. 3, 2023
Manitoba hospitals will become the first in Canada to collect data about patients’ race.
As of May 11, patients at hospitals and health centres will be asked during registration if they want to self-declare their race. The information is voluntary and patients can decline.
“During registration at a Manitoba hospital, patients will be asked to self-identify and choose from a list of Indigenous identities such as First Nations Status, Inuit or Métis, or other identities such as Black, Filipino, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern or white. The information is protected in the same way as an individual’s personal health information. Self-declaring is voluntary and the information provided will not impact how care is provided,” Shared Health stated in a news release Wednesday.
The project, led by Dr. Marcia Anderson at Ongomiizwin, the Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, was announced in early February.