Phillipines Typhoon – Toronto Jewish Community Response

The Jewish and Philippines communities of Toronto and Canada intersect geographically at Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue in central North York, but it should be recognized, that these communities intersect in so many other ways as well. Like the Jews of Europe, the Philippines were oppressed by the Axis powers during World War II. Immediately after the war, the newly liberated Philippines was one of the only 33 nations that voted at the United Nations in support of the Partition Plan and the creation of Israel in 1947, the only Asia nation to do so. Over the past several decades, the Philippines like Israel has had to defend itself and its citizens against radical Islamic terrorists and militants both on its own soil and from surrounding Islamic states. In recent years, Philippine Christian pilgrims have been travel to Israel in ever larger numbers. Up to 55,000 Philippines are now working in Israel, one of the largest Philippines diaspora Canada – although still smaller than the 650,000 Philippine Canadians. Most importantly, Canadian Philippines have support thousands of Canadian Jewish families in a very personal way, serving in a gentle, loving and dedicated way as both nannies for our children and as nurses for our elderly and infirm. This is personal and communal debt that should be both acknowledged and repaid. I believe that the date for this repayment is today. The Philippines has been devastated by typhoon over the past week and it desperately needs the help that Canadian Jews and Israel can provide. Israel has begun their contribution the process of support by dispatching an IsraeAid Emergency Support Team, the same team that have served so ably and valuably in Haiti and in so many other crisis centres. I look forward to a tangible acknowledgement of the support of the Jews of Toronto for their Philippines brothers, sister and friends starting immediately with the creation of a dedicated Jewish Philippines Fund, complemented by a public rally of support at Earle Bales Park, another place where our communities intersect to celebrate joyful occasions and to commemorate national and communal tragedies. I hope that the leaders of our community can rise to the challenge of responding with alacrity and energy that this tragedy richly deserves.

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