NOVEMBER 21, 2014 |MIKE QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF
Teacher Sarit Malca’s sudden death has been a shock to UTT/Herzliah community.
The United Talmud Torah/Herzliah school community in Montreal is still reeling after the shocking and sudden death of popular teacher and parent, Sarit Malca, who taught Hebrew and Jewish studies. On Sat., Nov. 15, the 41-year-old mother of two young girls, aged 8 and 5, went to the hospital suffering from severe stomach pain. Her condition continued to deteriorate and three days later she passed away.
Social services agency Ometz has been in the school offering grief counselling. A Twitter hash tag #Herzstrong has been used to show how everyone will get through this experience together.
A native Israeli, Malca was noted for the work she did between the school and its sister city for a program called Gesher Chai, which linked her school with those in Beer Sheva.
A new edition of Erna Paris’s book From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain will be published in January.
In 1979 and 1980, the government of Canada admitted 50,000 Vietnamese refugees. Ordinary Canadians were invited to participate in the boat people program. My parents and our extended relatives and friends raised enough money to sponsor a family. They were diligent workers: Before long, they were driving a better car than we were.
We did this because we remembered that a meaner Canada had refused entry to a shipload of desperate Jewish refugees from Nazism 40 years before.
That prewar mean-mindedness is back. Canada’s refugee determination system needed updating, but the Harper government has gone much too far. It has been accused of breaching international law, breaching the Constitution, and – just as important – breaching the values Canadians have defined themselves by.
Some recent examples: Last month, a 65-year-old Pakistani woman who fled to Canada because she had been accused of adultery and faced death by stoning was deported. She had appealed to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which advised Ottawa to delay the deportation until it could review her case under the UN Convention Against Torture, which Canada signed in 1985.
According to Amnesty International, our government’s patent disregard for international law will weaken its claim to be a global defender of human rights.
In July, Justice Anne MacTavish of the Federal Court ruled that the government’s cuts to health care for failed refugee claimants constituted “cruel and unusual treatment.” Denying health care puts the lives of vulnerable people at risk in a manner that “outrages our standards of decency” and is unconstitutional, she wrote. Clearly piqued, the Harper government announced this week that it would appeal the judge’s decision. It also asked the appeal court to delay enforcement of the order to resume health care until the appeal had been heard. That could be months.
TORONTO - A man who snuck into an unlocked home, abducted a four-year-old girl from her bed and sexually assaulted her on Boxing Day 2011, was found guilty of all charges Thursday.
Ryan Belbin — who had no prior criminal convictions — snatched the sleeping girl at 3 a.m., stripped her naked and was “hunkering over” the child in a North York backyard when the panicked victim’s father discovered the horrifying sight, Justice Nola Garton said in a written judgment.
Belbin, 30, will be sentenced for breaking and entering, abduction of a minor, sexual assault and sexual interference on Nov. 27.
Garton found that the alternative suspects suggested by defence lawyer Jennifer Penman — the victim’s father and another neighbour — weren’t the culprits and Crown attorney Sheila Cressman proved Belbin was the offender.
The judge found that Belbin stopped his attack when the victim’s father screamed. Belbin then sprinted eastbound in the Bathurst-Wilson area.
The hysterical father cradled his child in his arms and returned to his parents’ home — where the family was visiting from Connecticut.
Belbin’s DNA was found on the victim’s pyjamas but it couldn’t be determined what “particular bodily fluid was the source,” said Garton.
Penman argued that Belbin’s DNA — either from spit or urine on the ground — could have been innocently transferred on to the clothing during the assault.
Belbin, who lived in close proximity to the victim’s relatives, delivered newspapers in the area until two weeks before the incident.
4-year-old sexual assault victim released from hospital
Published 1 hour 16 minutes ago
A 4-year-old girl abducted from a north Toronto home and sexually assaulted was released from hospital on Tuesday.
The girl, who was visiting with family from Connecticut, was abducted early Monday morning from her grandparents’ home on Charleswood Dr., near Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. While police released few details on the kidnapping or assault, a woman who identified herself as the girl’s grandmother said the ordeal “had a happy ending,” referring to her granddaughter’s discharge from hospital.
“By the grace of God,” she said, standing inside her doorway Tuesday morning.
As a cold rain drizzled outside, neighbours visited the house, which belongs to an orthodox Jewish family.
Police said a man grabbed the girl between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Monday. Family discovered the girl a short distance from the house “within minutes of the abduction and saw a man fleeing the scene,” police said.
Police did not confirm a sexual assault occurred until Monday evening.
The suspect is described as a white man, 19 or 20 years old, with an average build, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket or sweatshirt, dark sweatpants or jeans and striped, bluish toque.
Merchants in the Monkland Village are wondering if they’ve been the target of a possible hate crime.
Following an early morning fire on Friday, the Jewish owner of dog grooming salon discovered three swastikas and a pentagram spray painted in the hallway connecting his store to those of his neighbours — one of the owners is Chinese, the other Vietnamese.
Kobi Ben-Jacob says he only discovered the swastikas on Monday morning after he dealt with the smoke and water damage from the fire on Friday — the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
He still doesn’t know if the fire and graffiti are connected, or even if the spray-painted symbols should be constitute an actual hate crime.
“Obviously it’s upsetting, but it’s very hard to determine whether it was done by a bunch of kids who were playing around and be foolish, or whether it was done as a hate crime,” he says. “It shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it’s hard to say whether it’s a hate crime or a crime of opportunity.”
He says the Monkland Village is a safe, multi-cultural family neighbourhood, and that he has never experienced any hate crimes there before.
An organization defending the rights of illegal immigrants is speaking out about access to free education for children.
The group Education Without Borders said Monday that as many as 5,000 children in Quebec are likely to be unable to attend school because of their parent’s current status as illegal immigrants.
The group said parents awaiting deportation because their refugee claim has been denied, or because their visa has expired are not allowed to send their children to Quebec schools unless they pay up.
It costs up to $6,000 a year per child, which is a sum most illegal immigrants – some of which are refugee claimants or asylum seekers – can’t afford.
In 1971, Ruth and Cecil Hershler began what has evolved into a lasting relationship with Fezeka Senior Secondary; an association that led to the creation of Education without Borders 31 years later.
Feeling unable to continue living a life of privilege in apartheid South Africa, they made the decision to immigrate to Canada.
Montreal police are investigating a possible hate crime in which a Jewish man was punched in the face in Snowdon on Monday.
The alleged assault is just one of seven reported cases of anti-Semitism in Montreal since last weekend, a direct effect of growing tensions arising from increased violence between Israel and Gaza.
A French tourist, the man, who does not want to be identified because he fears for his safety, said he was walking out of a kosher restaurant on Queen Mary Rd Monday, talking to his sister about Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, when two men approached them in front of the Pharmaprix drug store.
One of the men punched him.