Dec 07, 2023
By Bob Komsic
When Jyoti Gondek was asked to speak at tonight’s menorah lighting at Calgary City Hall, the mayor says it was to bring traditional Hannukah greetings.
But then on the eve of the ceremony she changed her mind, saying it was a difficult decision.
”It has come to my attention … that … something I have looked forward to attending over the years — has been repositioned as an event to support Israel,” reads her social media post.
”I have learned the the event has been repositioned to be political. This breaks my heart. It is with great regret and sadness that I will not be attending.”
The Calgary mayor goes on to say her goal is to engage in an interfaith manner.
”The changed nature … creates a divide and forces people to choose a side.”
She points to the poster promoting the event, saying it clearly indicates support for Israel when the lighting ceremony has always been in support of the local Jewish community.
”This last minute change goes against the original intention, and has left me feeling let down by leadership.”
Organized by Chabad Lubavitch Alberta for 35-years, senior Rabbi Menachem Matusof says the event would be both a celebration and demonstration in support of Israel amid the war.
The Calgary Jewish Federation is disappointed and hurt.
”Our yearning for peace in Israel and Gaza does not run counter to our support of (the land of) Israel, but rather are inextricably linked,” the CJF said in an email to community members.