A DJC representative, one of five participating members of the Downtown Jewish Community Council, began a 10-session conversation with representatives of Indigenous communities in a program organized by Circles for Reconciliation.
In an effort towards reconciliation, the DJC made a significant donation to Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre to support the construction of the Spirit Garden in Nathan Phillips Square.
The Danforth Multifaith Commons (Danforth Jewish Circle, East End United Regional Ministry and Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation) hosted an in-person Kairos Blanket Exercise. Thirty people participated in this engaging participatory history lesson.
June 2022: Rabbi’s Message: “Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and Jewish Values”
Members of the DJC board, staff and social justice committee create a subcommittee to consider ways for the DJC to further truth and reconciliation.
A DJC representative joins the multifaith Restoring Relations Working Group to support the work of Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre.
The Danforth Multifaith Commons (DJC, East End United Regional Ministry, and Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation) organized a virtual tour of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School. The tour covered the school’s 140-year history, including interviews with survivors, and concluded with an incredibly informative Q and A session with a staff person from the Woodland Cultural Centre. In addition to covering the cost of the event, participants donated an additional $500 to the Woodland Cultural Centre.
The Danforth Multifaith Commons (DJC, East End United Regional Ministry and Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation) hosted a debate among candidates looking to represent the federal Toronto-Danforth riding, in which we asked candidates from all parties what they/their parties would do to further reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
The DJC issued a public statement, which read in part: “We join all of Canada in mourning the devastating discovery of the remains of 215 children buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Jewish tradition teaches that every life that is lost is an entire world lost. Our prayers and broken hearts reach to recognize each life and each lost world. We stand in solidarity with our Indigenous siblings and pray for healing at this time of profound grief. As a Jewish community, we will continue to pray, learn, and work in commitment to truth and reconciliation, justice and peace.”
January 2021: Understanding the Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in the Canadian Prison System
The Danforth Multifaith Commons (DJC, East End United Regional Ministry and Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation) hosted a Zoom workshop with Jonathan Rudin, Program Director at Aboriginal Legal Services (and DJC member), about the harsh reality regarding the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in our Canadian jails. Each of the three congregations making up the Danforth Multifaith Commons made a donation to Aboriginal Legal Services in appreciation of Jonathan’s talk. Find the video here: djctoronto.com/video-gallery
February 2020: Rabbi’s Message: “Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and Jewish Values”
The DJC sponsored a powerful and personal talk by Lindsay (Swooping Hawk) Kretschmer, Executive Director of the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council and former Indigenous Affairs consultant to the City of Toronto, who introduced the Indigenous concept of community wellness and explored Indigenous histories, societal structures, contemporary issues and the future landscape.
The DJC hosted an informative and honest talk about the historical relationship between Jews and Indigenous Peoples. Rabbi Miriam spoke with historian and York University professor David Koffman, author of the book, The Jews’ Indian: Colonialism, Pluralism, and Belonging (Rutgers University Press).
The DJC co-sponsored (with Holy Blossom Temple, Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Shoresh, and Ve’ahavta) the fourth Tu B’Shvat seder focused on Jewish and Indigenous connections to nature. The evening was facilitated by Kim Wheatley, an Anishnawbe traditional teacher, Rabbi Denise Handlarski and the DJC’s Rabbi Miriam Margles, with interactive nature activities led by Shoresh.
Summer 2018: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC) Recommendations: Reading, Discussing and Acting Together
DJC members gathered to learn and reflect on issues of settler colonialism, Indigenous solidarity, collective responsibility, and Treaty relationships over three sessions, in which TRCC Calls to Action were read.
The DJC, Ve’ahavta, Oraynu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, Shoresh, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre and Anishnawbe traditional teacher Kim Wheatley led an evening exchanging Jewish and Indigenous connections to nature to mark Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the birthday of trees.
DJC members joined Ve’ahavta’s four-week educational series to learn more about Indigenous issues, participating in the KAIROS blanket exercise, joining a walking tour of Indigenous landmarks in Toronto, listening to a survivor of the Mohawk Indian Residential School and learning from an Indigenous elder.
August 2016: Rabbi’s Message: “Teshuvah & Canada’s Aboriginal Children: Confronting Destruction, Building Repair