Have female rabbis hit the proverbial stained glass ceiling?

York University religious studies Professor Aviva Goldberg says the ordination of women rabbis reflects gains in equality for women in all areas of Western life. “Traditionally, rabbinic law limited the ritual and leadership roles of women,” she said in the Toronto Star Sept. 6. “In the ’70s, women pushed to have more representation in all aspects of Jewish worship within the liberal movements of Judaism.” While these rabbis have been revising liturgy and ritual to reflect women’s voices and experiences, Goldberg stresses that for true gender equality, women need to have more leadership and influential roles in the larger congregations. Read full story.

Canadian Stage has record attendance for Dream in High Park
Canadian Stage’s new programming strategy of making two Shakespeare plays available over the summer for “Shakespeare in High Park” seems to have paid off handsomely, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 5….Besides offering patrons the choice of seeing Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew in repertory, the summer season also displayed the fruits of Canadian Stage’s collaboration with York University’s Master of Fine Arts program, with graduates Ker Wells and Ted Witzel directing the two plays. Read full story.

‘Income inequality is still very much an issue’
“Andrew Coyne argues that rising income inequality is not a serious issue. But the numbers can be read quite differently,” wrote Andrew Jackson, Packer Professor of Social Justice at York University, in the National Post Sept. 5. “While he is right that the temporary return of low unemployment helped middle and low income groups, he fails to make an absolutely key point: Income inequality in the 2000s stabilized at much higher levels than in the 1970s. There was no reversal of the trend. The income share of the top 20 per cent, both before and after taxes, did not decrease. Meanwhile, the income share of the top 1 per cent continued to increase significantly from 2000 until 2008.” Read full story.

Winnipeg school division giving students iPads for learning
When school division officials spoke to parents in May about introducing tablets in the classroom, some raised concerns that iPads would distract students, reported CBC News Sept. 5. A recent Canadian study found that using laptops during university lectures could be distracting students and hurting their grades. “If what you are doing is related to the teacher’s lesson, to the unit that you’re studying, I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” said York University researcher Tina Weston, who co-authored the study. “But if you are flipping screens, where one screen is totally unrelated to what you’re supposed to be doing, this is going to hurt learning.” Read full story.

On moving on: Are Canadian parents celebrating or mourning when kids move out for school?
Empty nest syndrome, when kids move on to higher education or to opportunities away from home, can leave some parents reeling. While it’s an unfamiliar condition amongst adults, this form of separation anxiety is very real, experts say. “It is real, we just don’t know as much as we should know about it because the research is quite limited,” said York University psychology Professor Gordon Flett in Global News Sept. 5. Read full story.

A guide to local talent at TIFF 2013
Ingrid Veninger, who directed The Animal Project, is known locally as a huge proponent of DIY filmmaking and is capable of producing excellent work on minuscule budgets. She’s also the driving force behind the $1,000 Feature Film Challenge, which invites Toronto filmmakers to make a movie with only $1,000. In 2012, Veninger contributed $5,000 of her own money, effectively funding 5 films. She’s also a member of the film faculty at York University, reported the Torontoist Sept. 5. Read full story.

Stepping into the spotlight
China needs to play a more pro-active, bigger role in international affairs, say experts….Since the Washington leaders meeting in 2008, China has made a number of “indispensable and somewhat under appreciated” contributions to the efforts to rebuild the global financial architecture, said York University Professor Gregory Chin in China Daily Sept. 6. At the structural level, Chin says China has helped fuel global growth during a period of great fragility for the world economy. “China has helped stabilize the broader conditions within which the reforms to the global financial system have taken place,” he said. Read full story.