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The CJN Daily

A daily bite-sized newscast from The Canadian Jewish News, hosted by veteran broadcaster, writer and journalist Ellin Bessner. Airs Monday to Thursday.

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Edmonton Heritage Festival still celebrates Israel, despite antisemitism and COVID

Last year, the Edmonton Heritage Festival, one of the city's biggest celebrations, was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, organizers decided to go ahead—though at half capacity—and invited the Jewish Federation of Edmonton to join with their annual pavilion for Israel. The pavilion could mark the only Israel-themed public gathering in Canada this summer, as many other large-scale events remained on hiatus or have gone virtual. The Edmonton pavilion featured Israeli folk dancers, selfie photo ops against a backdrop of the Dead Sea, a display wedding and, of course, Israeli food, from falafel to frozen mint lemonade. Beyond the pavilion borders, however, Edmonton's police their tent was not far away. Indeed, the event's organizers worried about taking part in the festival this year—not just because of COVID, but also the summer of spiking antisemitic attacks that have surged across Canada since the violence between Gaza and Israel flared up in May. Stacey Leavitt-Wright, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, joins the show to discuss her organization's thought process and offer an audio tour of what they put together. What we talked about: Learn more about the Edmonton Heritage Festival at heritagefest.ca Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Edmonton at jewishedmonton.org The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

3 Aug 2021

Rank #1

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"I was called a F—ing Jew and shoved into a fence": Why Sam Brody is fighting back

Last week, a local modern Orthodox Jewish man in Toronto, Sam Brody, recorded a video that he posted to Facebook. In it, he described being assaulted near Yonge and Eglinton, where he lives, specifically for being Jewish. Brody says a stranger bodychecked him into a wooden fence and yelled, “F— you, you Jew! You will never take Israel. Free Palestine!” Brody wears a light-blue knitted kippah and a star of David necklace, which was visible at the time. He was walking his dog before heading to work at Magen Meats, a popular kosher butcher, where he works as a manager. The brief attack left Brody with a bruised shoulder and rattled state of mind. Now his anxiety is running high, he's missed a few days at work—and he’s decided to dress less visibly Jewish when he goes outside. Brody joins us today to discuss the attack, how it changed him and the reaction he's gotten since going public. What we talked about: Watch Sam Brody's original video on his Facebook page Read on thecjn.ca: "After an antisemitic attack in Toronto, Sam Brody says he’s hiding his Jewish identity" The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

11mins

2 Aug 2021

Rank #2

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Matt Abergel: Running a Michelin-star Hong Kong restaurant during the pandemic

Of the 5,000 Jewish residents in Hong Kong, Canadian chef Matt Abergel is pretty recognizable. You might spot him riding his skateboard while hanging off a bus driving down the street, or you could find him wearing a T-shirt with the stark black-and-white logo of his famous restaurant, Yardbird. He's the expat whose path started at the Calgary Jewish Academy, spending summers at Jewish sleepaway camp. He channelled his bubbe's chicken recipe when he started out as a professional chef, moving to Vancouver and New York before landing in Hong Kong, where he opened his first restaurant, Yardbird, in 2011. Yardbird is located in the hip Sheung Wan district, near the ferry to Macao. Since it opened, the New York Times, Vogue and Time have all given it rave reviews. This year, as Yardbird celebrates 10 years, it's been awarded its first Michelin star. But between the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, China's increasing clampdown on individual freedoms and the COVID-19 pandemic, life as a restaurateur in Hong Kong has not been easy. Abergel joins today to discuss these milestones and trials during arguably the most difficult year for restraurants on his island. What we talked about: See Yardbird's entry in the Michelin guide at guide.michelin.com Learn more about Yardbird at yardbirdhongkong.com Find Abergel's cookbook, Chicken and Charcoal, on Amazon The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

14mins

29 Jul 2021

Rank #3

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Meet the Jewish woman living in the path of B.C.'s largest forest fire

Becca Ignace's family homestead burned down two weeks ago. It's where she was raised after her parents moved from Montreal to British Columbia a half-century ago. Mendel and Paula Rubinson built that homestead, raised Becca and her two brothers and still continue to run a popular organic vegetable farm west of Kamloops. Ignace, meanwhile, married an Indigenous man and moved onto his reserve, where the couple now lives with their two youngest kids. But when wildfires began ravaging British Columbia, Ignace and her family were forced to evacuate their home right after Canada Day. More than 100 firefighters are working tirelessly on the Sparks Lake fire to keep it from destroying any buildings in her community; others, including Ignace's two brothers, Saul and Eli Rubinson, are helping on the frontlines. As if the fires themselves weren't dangerous enough, life has been completely upended for everyone in the region. Ignace joins today to discuss what the scene is like on the ground, and how her family is coping with the struggle. What we talked about: Keep up to date with B.C.'s wildfires at governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com Learn about the Skeetchestn Indian Band at skeetchestn.ca Hear an interview with fencer Eli Schenkel on _Menschwarmers_, The CJN's Jewish sports podcast The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

12mins

28 Jul 2021

Rank #4

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Can international pressure stop the Sheikh Jarrah evictions?

In May, Sheikh Jarrah became famous as the central neighbourhood in a land dispute in East Jerusalem. The Israeli government recently allowed Jewish settlers to build homes in the area, which has deep significance for religious Jews. But their settlement meant evicting Palestinians whose families have been living in there for generations. Jewish settlers say those homes actually belonged to Jews before that, while many critics and international governments consider the whole area illegally occupied. Two Israeli courts already ruled that four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah would have to leave their homes—but these families appealed, and a final decision was supposed to be handed down this past May. But protests led to violence across the country, and soon rallies were held around the world, while Israel's attorney general requested a postponement of the court's decision until hostilities calmed down. The decision is now set to be announced next week, on Aug. 2. In Canada, progressive and left-learning Jewish groups are watching the situation closely. Young members of several organizations—including JSpaceCanada, Canadian Friends of Peace Now and the New Israel Fund of Canada—have joined forces to call on the leaders of Canada’s five main political parties to pressure Israel into stopping the evictions and prevent further violent protests. But will the letter have an effect? What are the writers' expectations? On today's episode, Ellin Bessner with Kevin Keystone, a spokesperson for the coalition of young Jews behind the letter. What we talked about: Read the joint letter at nifcan.org/joint-letter-sheikh-jarrah Learn about the upcoming event staged by Canadian Friends of Peace Now at peacenowcanada.org The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

12mins

27 Jul 2021

Rank #5

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Will Canadian snowbirds be able to travel south this winter?

For Canadians who took a chance this past winter and ventured south to the southern United States, winter may not have felt so bad. Many had the opportunity to get vaccinated sooner than if they'd stayed in Canada; they got to enjoy beautiful weather, as usual; and they may have appreciated local governors refusing to lock down their economies, as was the case in Florida. Of course, the downsides were significant: more than 2.3 million people in Florida contracted COVID-19, and more than 37,000 of them died. Nonetheless, a new survey of Canadian snowbirds shows 91 per cent of respondents plan to travel south this coming winter, despite lingering uncertainty over border controls, America's stagnating vaccination numbers and an impending fourth wave of the deadly virus. Even if these snowbirds are vaccinated, travel won't be business as usual. On today's episode, we're joined by Evan Rachkovsky, director of communications for the Canadian Snowbird Association, a lobby group of about 100,000 travellers. Rachkovsky addresses common questions about COVID positivity rates in Florida, estimates of border openings and how to register vaccines received stateside with Canadian health authorities. What we talked about: Visit the Canadian Snowbird Association's website at snowbirds.org Read about the proposed U.S. Senate bill that could allow Canadian snowbirds to stay south for longer at thestar.com Find details about Rabbi Bulka's Shloshim tribute at eventbrite.ca The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

26 Jul 2021

Rank #6

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Key takeaways from the National Summit on Antisemitism

The government's much-touted day-long National Summit on Antisemitism took place virtually on July 21, 2021. Among the attendees were members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Jewish Liberal MPs, municipal leaders and representatives from the country's main Jewish organizations. They spoke at length about concrete strategies to combat antisemitism and heard firsthand accounts of how antisemitism seeps into Canadian society. Irwin Cotler, who helped put the event together, gave the keynote address, and joins today to discuss the government's promises. Plus, we speak with community leaders Shimon Koffler Fogel and Michael Mostyn to learn where the summit succeded—and where it fell short. What we talked about: Read the full transcript of Trudeau's opening remarks at thecjn.ca, or watch the full opening on Facebook Watch the full afternoon panel on community security initiatives on Facebook Read the government's pledge to earmark $6 million for upgrading security at 150 national buildings, including Jewish institutions, at canada.ca The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

12mins

22 Jul 2021

Rank #7

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Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a friend

For the past year, Laura Whitney Sniderman, armed with a Master's degree in psychology, has been helping people find and make new friends during the pandemic. She started a new community-driven company, Kinnd, which connects people online with a forthcoming app and a Facebook group of more than 10,000 people. During the pandemic, Kinnd also held several virtual meet-ups over Zoom, where members paid $10 to be matched with others who they might get along with. But with the world opening up again, the attraction of virtual friendships could disappear. Is this a problem for Kinnd? Or has society turned a corner in embacing and fostering online friendships? To answer these questions, Laura Whitney Sniderman joins to discuss. What we talked about: Visit Kinnd's website at kinnd.io Join the group on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/Kinnd The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

11mins

21 Jul 2021

Rank #8

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This Canadian clown channels Judaism to cheer up hospital patients

Naomi Krajden didn't go to medical school to become a front-line health care worker, even though many of her family members work in the field. Her father and brother are doctors; her mother is a nurse. So it wasn't surprising that the Toronto-born Jewish artist gravitated toward the medical world. Krajden—a trained theatre actor, singer and dancer—is the only Jewish pro therapeutic clown in Canada. If you've seen the movie Patch Adams, it's similar to what she does. Now living in Montreal, her in-person therapeutic clown visits, which took her to hospitals and nursing homes around the city, ground to a halt when the pandemic hit. She pivoted to virtual visits, but it wasn’t the same. Now, after 16 months of Zoom visits, Krajden and her troupe are slowly being allowed back to resume the work she loves. She joins us today to talk about her journey, how she channels her Jewish roots in her work, and the effect her efforts have on her patients. What we talked about: Learn more about therapeutic clowns at fondationdrclown.ca Read about Annamie Paul's press conference at thecjn.ca The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

10mins

20 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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Still demanding justice: 27 years since Argentina’s largest unsolved terror attack

On July 18, 1994, a car bomb blew up the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, levelling the city's main Jewish federation building. Now referred to as the AMIA bombing, the terrorist attack killed 85 Jewish people and injured 300 more. It was the worst terrorist attack in the history of Argentina and the worst attack against Jews outside Israel since the Holocaust. What's more troubling is that the perpetrators have never been confirmed. Investigators and the public blame operatives from Iran and Hezbollah, but no suspects have been brought to justice. Combined with the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which happened two years prior, many Jewish families from Argentina took this as a cue to leave. Some moved to Canada, where they are still dealing with the trauma—and seeking justice. Hernan Popper is one of those Argentinian Jews. He now lives in Winnipeg, but he lived through the AMIA bombing; on today's show, he joins to describe what it was like hearing the explosion and how he remembers those who died that day. What we talked about: Learn about B'nai Brith Canada's event, "Remembering AMIA," at bnaibrith.ca Visit Hernan Popper's cybersecurity company, POPP3R Watch Nisman, the docuseries about Alberto Nisman, the investigator of the AMIA attack, on Netflix The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

11mins

19 Jul 2021

Rank #10