Category Archives: Vancouver

Vancouver Rabbi Helped Raise $40 K to Sponsor Syrian Family

You know what you’re doing, Rabbi:

Relations between Israel and Syria have been tense since the mid-1990s — the nations have fought against each other in several wars, and have never had formal diplomatic relations.

Yet when Rabbi Dan Moskovitz of Vancouver’s Temple Sholom asked his congregation for donations to sponsor a Syrian refugee family, he received $40,000 within a few days.

“This is our story as human beings, it’s particularly our story as Jews — we have been ourselves refugees throughout our time all the way back to the times of the Bible,” said Moskovitz, senior rabbi at the Oak Street synagogue. 

“It says 36 times in the Bible in the Old Testament to love the stranger, to love the refugee, because you were once strangers, you were once refugees yourself,” he told  B.C. Almanac host Gloria Macarenko.

“You don’t repeat something 36 times in the Bible unless it’s really, really important, and this is our obligation to see ourselves as them and to do what we can to save lives.”

The temple is working with Mosaic immigrant services organization, the Jewish Federation of Vancouver and the Anglican Archdiocese to sponsor a young family which has relations in Vancouver, but need sponsorship support to leave the refugee camp where they live.

Some of Vancouver’s other synagogues have also agreed to work with these organizations to sponsor one or two refugee families. Moskovitz said $40,000 is the estimated budget to support a family of four for a year.


Evening photos: Vancouver, BC

A photo taken from a high building looking north towards the North Shore mountains. Wallpaper site, no photographer info available. As with usual wallpapers, there are far too many returns on a reverse image search to attempt to locate the original.

Vancouver-view-from-Cypress-BowlThe view from Cypress Bowl, West Vancouver. Also wallpaper, no further info.

Lions-Gate-FogLions’s Gate Bridge seen from Stanley Park on foggy night. No photographer info available.

Lions-gate-from-North-VanFrom a realtor photo (asking $2.3 million): view from North Vancouver looking over Lion’s Gate Bridge and Burrard Inlet.

Vancouver-reflectionsVancouver skyline, by Magnus Larsson.


Vancouver gay film fest bans ‘overt nationalism’ in wake of Israeli flag controversy

Poster-gay-festivalThe offending poster

A gay film festival in Vancouver has banned “overt expressions of nationalism” after organizers came under fire over an advertisement featuring an Israeli flag.

The advertisement in last year’s guidebook for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, placed by the local gay Jewish group Yad b’Yad, featured a gay pride flag alongside an Israeli flag. That led to accusations of “pinkwashing,” the supposed tactic of using Israel’s support for gay rights to divert attention from its treatment of the Palestinians.

Following the ad’s publication, two directors withdrew their films from the festival and the festival donated the ad revenue to a third party, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

“We now have stronger policies that will enable us to make sure all our partnerships reflect our values and allow us to focus on bringing people together through film,” Shana Myara, the festival’s director of programming, told the newspaper.

Jonathan Lerner, spokesman for Yad b’Yad, told the CJN that the festival’s revised policies are a form of censorship…


Smuggler’s messages reveal how drugs easily pass through Vancouver’s port

How could the Port of Vancouver be misused by organized crime?

It’s not that hard, according to encrypted messages intercepted by police that detailed an exchange between one Vancouver man and the Ontario-based leader of a major international drug ring three years ago.

Mohamed Reza Amin Torabi told gang boss Nick Nero he had a contact person within the port who could control the movement of containers full of South American cocaine.

All he needed was the name of the company shipping the container to Canada and the actual container number, Amin Torabi explained.

“Hi bro. I am with my buddy. He is ready any time. All the ship come from south come to port here. I need transporter name and container number when U ready,” Amin Torabi, nicknamed ‘Big Guy,’ said in a May 2012 BlackBerry message.

A Vancouver Sun investigation has found at least 27 Hells Angels, associates, criminals and other gangsters work on the Port Metro Vancouver docks. And The Sun has obtained government and police documents that show an unaddressed organized crime problem on the waterfront dating back more than 20 years…

I seem to recall reading about this some time ago. As the article says, it is not a new problem.

h/t Marvin


Vancouver: Vacant homes held as commodities by wealthy foreigners

Vancouver plans to create a database of empty houses and condos to determine how much vacant properties contribute to the city’s affordability crisis.

Two of the major questions the city hopes to answer with this research is how much of an influence investors are having and whether housing is being treated as a commodity instead of as a place to live.

But one city councillor worries that in seeking the data, Vancouver may give more oxygen to xenophobic comments that have suggested Vancouver’s problems arise from foreign investments, particularly from China.

Coun. Kerry Jang, a third-generation Chinese-Canadian, said he was reminded of that possibility when someone emailed him at City Hall to report an empty house in his neighbourhood that probably owned by “a foreign investor”…