Bentzi Katan, Toronto
During Sukkot, the citizens of Canada voted for a new Federal Government. The Jewish community also voted, but did so a few days before the Yom Tov, in special advance polls created especially for those who could not vote on the final Election Day due to the Yom Tov.
The win of the Conservative Party — which strongly supports Israel more than any other Canadian political party and, in fact, more than practically every other country in the world — was expected. What was in question was which individual/party would win to become the representative from Thornhill (a major Chabad neighbourhood), the city next to Toronto.
For the last number of elections, Thornhill was a Liberal strong-hold, and the Liberal Member of Parliament was not a consistent supporter of the Jewish community’s issues. The silent revolution started six months ago with the election of Peter Sherman, the provincial Conservative party’s representative, as Thornhill’s Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) to Ontario’s parliament in Toronto, Ontario’s capital.
On Tuesday, Peter Kent, representing the federal Conservative Party was elected as Thornhill’s Member of Parliament (MP), to the parliament in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. These elections were especially important for the Jewish community and Chabad due to the principled and steadfast support of the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, for Israel and Canadian Jewry.
The Chabad connection was revealed at the end of the Yom Tov, the very next day after the election, when important Conservative party representatives joined the Celebration of Simchat Beit Hashoeva in the Sukka of Rabbi Yisroel Janowski, turning it into a spontaneous victory celebration. Rabbi Janowski, who has developed close connections with important individuals in both the provincial and federal Conservative parties while working for equality in government funding of private Jewish education, thanked the important guests who visited his Sukka and wished them Hatzlacha on the road to come.
Rabbi Janowski also thanked everyone who helped with the election and then introduced John Tory, Leader of the Ontario Opposition, Peter Shurman, Thornhill’s provincial MPP and Peter Kent, Thornhill’s newly elected federal MP. They all thanked the Jewish community and, especially, the Chabad community for its tremendous assistance and support. They acknowledged that they would not have been successful without our community’s hard work.
Continuing the Simchat Beit Hashoeva celebration, Rabbi Dovid Shochet, the Kehilla’s Rov, then spoke and also explained to the politicians their unique and holy role in representing and working on behalf of the community. Other speakers and guests in the Sukka included Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, Executive Director of Chabad of Southern Ontario; Rabbi Moshe Spalter, administrator of Chabad Lubavitch of Southern Ontario; Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, Rov of Chabad @ Flamingo; Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada; Bernie Farber, CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress; Arnold Recht, outgoing President of Technion Canada; Josh Cooper, CEO of Canadian Jewish Political Action Committee (CJPAC); Georganne Burke, Manager of Community Relations of the Conservative Party of Canada, the highest ranking and most helpful Jew in the Canadian government; and others. A Chassidishe Farbrengen followed.