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We are writing to you today to share important news on a very noteworthy issue that is, to say the least, quite symbolic in its timing. On the eve of Yom Hashoah, one of the most sombre days on our collective calendar, an act of reconciliation has taken place that will have a profound effect on so many Montreal Jewish students. After years of antisemitism that stained the reputation of one of Montreal's prestigious universities, the Concordia Student Union (CSU), at long last, has issued a formal apology to the Montreal Jewish community.
This apology will begin to mend fences with Concordia's Jewish student population, past, present and future.
This week's announcement was preceded by years of community efforts by Federation CJA and its partners. Hillel Montreal, an integral part of GenMTL, has focused on empowering its student leaders with leadership training, engagement and dialogue at all levels across seven campuses in the city. CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, has provided professional guidance and support throughout this journey.
Let us be clear. The CSU apology was a result of a student led initiative of engagement and activism. Hillel Montreal supported its Concordia student members in their efforts at partnership on campus and in furthering broad ranging discussions with their peers. CIJA assisted with its professional experts to help create awareness through antisemitism training for CSU councillors.
You can read the entire CSU apology here. We would highlight that the CSU has undertaken to provide antisemitism training for all incoming CSU reps and CSU Club Executives, to support Jewish students who witness an act of antisemitism, to quickly remove antisemitic graffiti and to focus on combatting discrimination on campus.
This renewal of spirit at this remarkable time is just the beginning. They are first steps at healing wounds and working toward the greater good in our society.
The Montreal Jewish community expresses its deep appreciation to the students involved in this struggle. With the support of Hillel Montreal, they have built relationships on campus that finally led the CSU to issue a statement on antisemitism. They organized a widely attended webinar on Holocaust education featuring Mr. Sidney Zoltak, who serves as one of the CIJA representatives to the Material Claims Conference, and other initiatives to help turn the tide of antisemitism at Concordia by recognizing the problem and working toward positive change. Ultimately the student leaders at the CSU decided to aknowledge years of shameful action and to begin the process of reconciliation.
The CSU's sincere and heartfelt apology, combined with a commitment to ensure a safe and inclusive space for Jewish students on campus has been years in the making. It is through your generosity to Federation CJA and its partner agencies that we have been able to offer continued support to students who are working so hard to make this a better world - Tikun Olam in action.
Yair Szlak, LL.B
Chief Executive Officer,