Jewish studies grew because of trust

Canadian Jewish News printed excerpts Sept. 29 from an address by Prof. Martin Lockshin, Chair of the division of humaniites, on the occasion of his stepping down as director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, effective Sept.7. Here are some of his remarks:

  • Of all of our accomplishments at the Centre for Jewish Studies, the one that I am most proud of is that we manage to walk the difficult fine line between the values of the community and the values of the academy. We managed at York to establish and build, for example, the world’s most successful and largest university-based Jewish teacher education program, despite concerns of some naysayers who worried that a program without any Jewish denominational grounding could never train a Jewish educator.
  • Our faculty which consists of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and unaffiliated Jews obviously could not and would not promote one particular vision of what Judaism is about. And yet this faculty manages to train some of the finest Jewish educators around.
  • I think that the most important reason for our success can be summed up in one word: trust. The University administration trusts us. The university originally started Jewish studies at York. It was not first created by an initiative from the Jewish community, as was the case in many other universities. And then, once we had begun, the Jewish community also gave us its trust. Led by a number of community leaders over the years, we have been given a level of support, financially and otherwise, for which we are most grateful.

City hall spending needs to be more transparent

“For taxpayers’ sake, I’m hoping Councillor Norm Kelly’s newly minted Alternate Budget Committee (ABC) will at least be a thorn in the side of the mayor and his socialist spendaholics,” wrote Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy Sept. 29. “Kelly’s managed to attract professors from Toronto’s two distinguished business faculties and corporate representatives, along with several councillors,” wrote Levy. If one message came through loud and clear at the ABC’s first meeting earlier this week, it’s the need to make the city’s spending decisions much, much more transparent.” Levy said Prof. Richard Irving of York’s Schulich School of Business told her that the “city’s approach to budgeting reminds him of where the business community was in the 1970s – that is, departments aren’t integrated as a team and those best at ‘game-playing’ get the budget spoils. He’s convinced if they were able to ‘open up the damn thing’ – by providing real-time financial details available through the city’s SAP computer system to a ‘large number of eyes’ – it would be easier to ‘motivate change’ within the city.”

Canada needs US ‘partnership’ in oil

Playing the “energy card” to leverage Canada’s position in trade disputes with the United States would be “shortsighted and silly,” a senior Canadian oil industry executive says, reported the National Post Sept. 29. “When it comes to oil resources, Canada needs America every bit as much as America needs Canada,” Clive Mather, president and chief executive officer of Shell Canada Ltd. told a dinner Tuesday hosted by York’s Schulich School of Business. Mather said issues such as softwood lumber and beef exports have caused a rift between Ottawa and Washington, but those disputes should not be an obstacle to the “natural partnership” on energy production between the two countries.

How breast cancer affects spousal relationships

Karen Fergus, a researcher at the Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, is investigating how a diagnosis of breast cancer affects relationships between spouses, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 29. “The most challenging thing for couples dealing with breast cancer is that there is no road map for them to follow,” she said. “There are no clear answers about how they can best support one another. Not only are they dealing with the stress of a significant illness, they’re also dealing with a new kind of relationship stress.” Fergus, a 2003 York PhD psychology graduate whose research is supported by the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, says illness can draw some couples closer together, while other relationships dissolve. She hopes her research will discover why, and ultimately provide helpful information for couples living with breast cancer and the agencies that support them.

Student starts spice business

Preena Chauhan named her baby after her mom. There’s nothing unusual about that, except Preena’s baby is a new line of Indian spice mixtures that hit retail shelves recently, reported the Hamilton Spectator Sept. 29. Although still in its infancy, the Arvinda’s brand has made its way into local stores known for selling top-of-the-line gourmet foods. Arvinda’s are freshly made authentic Indian spice mixtures comprised of fresh, whole-roasted spices that Preena grinds in a second kitchen located in her family’s Oakville home.

What brought the product line from concept to store shelf was a government-sponsored program offering grants to students wanting to start and run their own company for the summer. “I’m working on my master’s in environmental studies at York University, and last spring I saw a posting at the career centre there,” explained Chauhan. “Although they were only offering $3,000 in total, I knew it was enough to get started.”