Friday, September 19, 2014


Why does the Quebec Government hate the Jewish General Hospital?
The obvious response is, "Who says "The Quebec Government hates the Jewish General Hospital"? 
I believe it is true that the Government of Quebec hates the Jewish General Hospital - even though Jacques Parizeau himself extolled the hospital after he was treated there. 
Does the Government of Quebec hate the JGH because it does such good work? Is it because the Jewish General Hospital saves so many lives? Is it because the Jewish General Hospital is so advanced in medical research and the care of newborn babies and its success in cancer research and treatment?
Or is it because the JEWISH General Hospital was founded by Jewish people and  many Jewish doctors serve there?
Let's face it, folks. Quebec has a long history of anti-Semitism. Young people may not know the history, but it is written in blood and spit, and anyone who wants to know can read the record..
But it is the 21st Century. Surely all that is in the past.
No. It is not past enough. There is always the remnant of jealousy and hatred. And, unfortunately some of those who hate Jews for being Jews are always in government or close enough to government to influence government.
Tell me why the Quebec Government has just cut funding to the Jewish General Hospital by 20 percent?
Yes. The hospital is deep in debt. But several Francophone hospitals in Montreal were deeply in debt too and the Quebec Government made their debts disappear.
The results of the cuts to funding the Jewish General Hospital are devastating. Nurses are being dismissed. Vital cancer surgeries - where days or weeks mean the difference between life or death - are being delayed - long enough to kill the patients.
Yes. This is serious. A matter of life or death for patients. A matter of vital income for hospital employees. The pressure is severe and discouraging to people whose lives depend on the services of the Jewish General Hospital.
Part of the debt problem for the JGH is the fact that this hospital is so good that people come from far and wide seeking help there, and the hospital does not say "no" to people in dire need.
Being good can be costly. But we are Jews and, like real Christians, we cannot say "no" to people in desperate need. We are commanded to heal the world, "Tikun Olam" - to be compassionate and charitable. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.  Is the JGH being punished for being too kind, too intelligent, too competent, too generous?
Or for being Jewish?
Let's have the truth!
How do I know all this? I am a cancer patient. Doctors are afraid to talk. They are gagged. Nurses won't talk. But I listen. I hear. I know. If I have any facts wrong, please let me know - by posting a comment here at my blog or on Facebook.
When I was a child, Jewish girls and boys who wanted to enter the medical profession in Montreal, Quebec, were subject to quotas at McGill University and few of them were accepted in Montreal hospitals. Jewish patients who wanted to follow their religious dietary practices could be treated at Montreal hospitals, but their relatives or friends or Jewish community members had to bring their meals to them.
The Jewish community decided that we needed a hospital that would welcome Jewish doctors and nurses and respect the dietary practices of our faith.
The community pooled its resources and built the Jewish General Hospital. There you will find Jewish doctors and nurses, and doctors and nurses and technicians of every kind, and patients, who are Jews, Christians, Muslims in head scarves and burqas, Orthodox Jewish men in black hats and beards, young Orthodox Jewish women who wear wigs, drab clothing and flat shoes pushing baby buggies, Indian and Pakistani women in colourful saris, French speaking, English speaking, Italian, Greek, Urdu, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, all shades of brown. A friend I met there is a Canadian Anishinabe Ojibwe Indian, a twice-wounded American navy seal, who wears feathers,
All are treated as human beings. TOGETHER they participate in healing. Racism is not tolerated in the Jewish General Hospital.
Nor do I tolerate bigotry from anyone or pass on bigoted material no matter where it comes from - except to expose the truth
They drew a circle and closed us out:
We drew a circle and invited them in.

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