QUEBEC: Education Without Borders hoping taxpayers pay $30 million per year for illegal children’s education
Published Monday, August 25, 2014 7:54PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 25, 2014 9:41PM EDT
An organization defending the rights of illegal immigrants is speaking out about access to free education for children.
The group Education Without Borders said Monday that as many as 5,000 children in Quebec are likely to be unable to attend school because of their parent’s current status as illegal immigrants.
The group said parents awaiting deportation because their refugee claim has been denied, or because their visa has expired are not allowed to send their children to Quebec schools unless they pay up.
It costs up to $6,000 a year per child, which is a sum most illegal immigrants – some of which are refugee claimants or asylum seekers – can’t afford.
In 1971, Ruth and Cecil Hershler began what has evolved into a lasting relationship with Fezeka Senior Secondary; an association that led to the creation of Education without Borders 31 years later.
Feeling unable to continue living a life of privilege in apartheid South Africa, they made the decision to immigrate to Canada.
Kabbalah as Theology
At the first meeting of our class on Steinsaltz’s book, we discussed what he might mean.
We recognized this as a bold, controversial statement.
First, we argued against it.
Some people use “theology” to mean “rational inquiry into religious questions.” The Kabbalistic tradition includes philosophical speculation, but goes beyond it, including metaphor, poetic dreamtime reflection, sound, movement, meditation, and wordplay. It has not always been considered “theological.” In the 18th & 19th centuries, for example, many teachers concerned to portray Judaism as a rational tradition ignored or suppressed Kabbalah.
Next, we argued for it.
Another definition of “theology” is “the study of the nature of God.” The Kabbalistic tradition encourages multi-modal explorations of the nature of God. As a starting point, it offers a particular interpretation of “God is One.” God is the only one. God is infinite. Nothing is separate from God. Human consciousness, too, is one with God.
People who know Judaism only through stereotypes might be surprised to hear how many ordinary Jews actually understand God in Kabbalistic terms: as a “life force,” “energy behind the universe,” “presence I meet when I’m praying, hiking or studying.” We do not believe in “the God of the Old Testament,” caricatured as a highly emotional, demanding parent in the sky.
If Divine energy fills us, we are always in relationship with God. Many traditional Jewish practices are designed to develop the relationship. A Kabbalistic understanding of God can provide a foundation for Jewish practice.
Finally, we synthesized the two perspectives.
While “theology” usually refers to rational inquiry, perhaps Jewish theology can take us beyond the narrow lines of human reason. Perhaps we can understand Kabbalah as a synthesis of Jewish learning, honouring reason along with other levels of human spiritual experience.
***Class held at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. Class members: Ruth Akselrad, Gerry Growe, Ellen Hamer, Cecil Hershler, Ruth Hershler, Andrew Jordan, Gloria Levi, Loralee Malek, Lorne Mallin, Wendy Rubin, Dorothy Ullman, Catherine Youngren. Facilitator: Laura Duhan Kaplan. Image:http://www.123rf.com.