Community News Update - September 15, 2023

Dear Community,

I am wishing Shana Tova to the Jewish community in Toronto-St. Paul's and across Ontario celebrating the New Year this weekend! I hope that this Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a year of greater peace, justice and harmony for you and your loved ones. Have a sweet and healthy 5784. 


This summer was an alarm bell that the climate crisis isn't on its way. It's here, and it's impacts are catastrophically costly in more than just dollars.

While taking this on requires an all hands deck approach, it starts at the top. This week's Climate Impact Assessment showed Ford is not the leader it needs, Ontarians need, and our collective future can stand, as he's happy to pass the buck to satisfy the wants of a wealthy few who's only concern is profit. All while the planet burns.

With the next session gearing up, the Ontario NDP is ready to hold him to a higher standard with real solutions that put Ontario ahead as a leader in this global fete. I invite you to read our Green New Democratic Deal put forth in 2021 to learn more of our vision and as always, share your feedback. Email [email protected] with what you want to see from your government to ensure a sustainable Ontario, and planet, for generation after generation to come.

Read more.

On October 2nd at 5PM, join the folks from No Demovictions and other affordable housing allies as they rally at Toronto City Hall on International Tenants' Day!

The legislature is set to resume on September 25 and after one of the most damning summer's Ontario politics has ever seen, it's sure to be a start like none other.

With all that's gone on with the Greenbelt, it's easy to lose sight that Ford's privatization plan is still near the top of his agenda. As is your Ontario NDP's fight against it, echoing the voices of Ontarians who refuse to let profit take hold of their fundamental human right to accessible, affordable, and equitable healthcare.

As a show of our strength to set the tone of the upcoming session, the Ontario Health Coalition is holding a major protest this day. Starting at noon on September 25, you are invited to join myself, your Ontario NDP, and allies of public healthcare to show Ford that his agenda is not Ontarians. That we are saying no to privatization and WILL say no for as long as we have to.

See details here.

Notably, this day also falls on Yom Kippur, meaning the Jewish community aren't able to attend this important action as they observe this holy day. As such, our own community's Rabbi Shalom Schachter has seen that the Ontario Health Coaltion will also host a second rally on Queen's Park front lawn the following day (September 26 at noon) in order for Jewish Ontarians to participate. Thank you, Rabbi for ensuring that this call to action is inclusive of Jewish voices.

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day spent in self reflection and prayer on how we can live more respectful and caring lives. We abstain from acts of pleasure and dominance over one another and nature. Each of us accepts as an individual our collective responsibility for the wellbeing of everyone in society and for the planet. We have a responsibility to protect the work of Creation for future generations. We have a duty to ensure that everyone has the basic services to live a respectful life.

In our prayer titled Unetaneh Tokef we recognize that not everyone will survive the year. We recite; Mi Yichyeh u'Mi Yamut - who will live and who will die; Mi va'Ra'av u'Mi Va"tzama - who will die from hunger and who will die from thirst; Mi Yishaleiv u'Mi Yityasar - who will have access to all they need and who will be deprived.

The prayer ends with a recognition that our future is not cast in stone, that we have the ability to change our destiny and that deeds of social justice can provide relief.

During the Yamim Nora'im the Days of Awe consisting of the time period from Rosh Hashana the Jewish New Year to Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement, we recall that all humanity is created in the Divine Image and that our collective actions have consequences. Every person deserves access to basic public services whether to food, shelter, education or health care.

 The public rallies outside Queen's Park have been organized because the current provincial government is seeking to privatize much of health care. We know that privatization of health care reduces the quality and quantity of health care. Private provision of health care is more expensive and therefore reduces the capacity of the provincial government to finance other basic services such as food, accommodation and education.

The annual opening of the Legislature is a day when ordinary citizens have the ability to meet outside Queen's Park to express their views on the priorities of the government. It is an essential element of the democratic process. This Government has chosen to move the date of the opening of the Legislature to Yom Kippur, which will deprive observant members of the Jewish community of the opportunity to participate in this vital democratic event. Out of respect for our community the Ontario Health Coalition is organizing a second rally on September 26, the day after Yom Kippur, to enable Jews who spend Yom Kippur in synagogue to come to Queen's Park to express their views to the Government. Members of other faith communities will attend in solidarity as well as members of the Legislative Assembly.

If you care about the future of health care please make plans to be at Queen's Park on September 26.

Doing their part to tackle growing food insecurity in our community & beyond, Frankel Lambert Outreach Committee's (FLOC) food table at Marian Engel Park is back this Saturday.

Whether you've got donations to spare or need some extra groceries to get you through the week, come on down between 11AM to 1PM to take what you need and leave what you don't. No questions asked!

Please see the below invitation from Land Alliance, an historic alliance formed by five strong First Nations to protect their lands and waters in the face of mounting concerns about encroachment on their territories by mining exploration companies who have been enabled by the Ford Government.

On September 27th, 12 pm 2023 five First Nations from Northern Ontario will come to Toronto to lead a march calling on Premier Ford to end unwanted mining activity on their Territories.

On September 21 from 5-8PM, join the folks from FLOC for a garden harvest and peace event made possible by the TD Park People Grant!

Join us next week for some fabulous poetry in the parking lot!

Mark your calendars for the upcoming North Toronto Group of Artists Fine Art Tour & Sale!

Learn more HERE!

Mark your calendars! Bloom Bar Studio is hosting a COMEDY CABARET on Thursday, September 28. Tickets are $20 and include a welcome drink!

Art for the Soul is our upcoming interactive, in-person event on November 2nd, 2023 from 6 – 9pm, at the 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education, and tickets are going on sale in 3 weeks, on September 6th!  

Join us in exploring art and space in the contexts of death, MAiD, grief, comfort and healing. Within our event space, participants will have the opportunity to take part in several interactive activities, including an installation from the Health Design Studio at OCAD University, an origami activity, a collaborative thought piece from MAiDHouse, and a silent auction of several art pieces, such as the Mask Bouquet, on display, with auction winners announced at the end of the evening.

The central feature of Art for the Soul will be a 30-minute panel discussion exploring the importance of space and art to the end-of-life experience, both for those receiving MAiD and for their supporters and loved ones. Moderated by Stan Byrne, the panelists will contribute expertise, insights, and stories to help us think about the impact of space, physical and meta-physical at the end of life.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students. Visit our EventBrite page starting September 6th, and be sure to reserve your tickets before they run out!.

Over a span of four days in our city, there were seven preventable overdose deaths. Please let this be the sign you need to carry a Naloxone kit.

Each year across Ontario, thousands of lives are lost to overdoses. We need every level of government to prioritize implementing harm reduction strategies to combat these senseless deaths, and you can help.

As many of you know, Naloxone is a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and these kits are FREE with training at participating pharmacies across the city. Together, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and work toward a more compassionate society that is safe safe for everyone.

Find a pharmacy with Naloxone kits near you, and make sure you can recognize the signs of an overdose.

In Solidarity, 

Jill Andrew
Toronto-St. Paul's




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