Guest voice: A special blessing for our new government

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By Dr. Judy Hagshi

Yesterday I had the distinct honour of reciting the Prayer for the Government of Canada at Shabbat services at Shaare Zion. Although Glenn and I do not attend services regularly, it was a very fitting way to end off a very exciting week in our lives.


Monday marked the election of a new Canadian government and, in my opinion, ushers in a country-wide excitement and optimism about our new parliament.


Glenn J. Nashen and Judy Hagshi greeting new MP Anthony Housefather

Glenn J. Nashen and Judy Hagshi greeting new MP Anthony Housefather


On a more personal note, our good friend Anthony Housefather was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal and we are lucky, as a community, to have him as one of our leaders.


On an even more personal note, as a result of Anthony’s “promotion”, my husband Glenn J. Nashen has also been promoted to Acting Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc.


Our family is not unaccustomed to the inner workings of an election given that we have been involved on several occasions before, mostly municipal. True to our values, our entire household was involved in this federal election as all three children either went door-to-door or made phone calls or distributed flyers. A significant goal was achieved by reinforcing community involvement and accountability in these future leaders.


Which brings me back to the Shabbat service. While I do not speak publicly nearly as often as my husband, I am not particularly shy to do so. Once I was given the cue from the usher, I ascended to the bimah and carefully enunciated the following prayer:


Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country Canada, for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Bless all the inhabitants of our country. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.

May this land, under your providence, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom—‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more’. And let us say: Amen.

Although I have heard this prayer many times before, it took on a greater significance for me yesterday. I truly hope that these new governments, both federal and municipal, will “safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country”. Ultimately, I hope that my children will grow up in a land, “Uniting all people in peace and freedom”.

Guess who served up Challah last Shabbat?

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After a major surprise visit into Mount Royal riding for a campaign rally with conservative party candidate Saulie Zajdel a bigger surprise took place when the campaign busses and police escort stopped on Victoria Avenue in Cote des Neiges and Prime Minister Harper jumped out to grab a Challah (and a few votes) in time for Shabbat at the Kosher Quality bakery at the corner of Bourret.

And when Harper went behind the counter the crowds drifted in to be served a traditional loaf of bread for the Friday night dinner table by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Where else in the world (other than Israel of course) will you find a Prime Minister doubling as a Kosher baker?  The Challah stunt wasn’t quite enough to push Zajdel and the conservatives over the top in this riding, with just 2261 votes separating them from incumbant liberal Irwin Cotler, maybe next time they should try serving some chicken soup?  It may not help… but it couldn’t hurt!