1988 was 43 years after the end of the war. Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel was on trial, President Ronald Reagan announced the intention to build a National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, British Holocaust Denier David Irving was on his first book tour, and 10,000 young Jewish students from 52 countries went to Auschwitz on the first ever March of the Living.

At the time, Holocaust survivors were plentiful and had started telling their stories. The March was a perfect companion trip to authenticate the Holocaust experience, it was the perfect example of authentic learning, disguised as a new educational trend, but practiced all along.

In the spirit of transparency: I attended the trip in 1990 and applied to be a Councillor this year (but backed out of the application process due to the over $10,000 fee Councillors must pay.)

Yesterday, over triple the number of students as the first March went on the 2018 March of the Living. Much has changed:

The trip now goes annually, and the selection process is much looser. It no longer caters to the academic elite and Poland has recently passed a law stating that nobody within that country could blame Poland for the events of the Holocaust on Polish soil. Most Holocaust survivors who experienced the horrors of the camp are too old or no longer among the living to attend the trip and in today’s digital era, with attention spans of a mosquito, young Jews have little or no connection to the horrific events of over 70 years ago.

When the March first went, in 1988, nearly every child had a grandparent who was a Holocaust survivor. Today, most students have a tenuous connection, perhaps a living great grandparent or a story passed down, but no real earthly connection. So, the question is, should the trip still go?

Today, Poland has increasingly joined the European Holocaust denial club, by disassociating themselves and their citizens as perpetrators of the horrors. Spending millions of dollars in their economy on the blood of Jews who mean little to nothing to the Marchers seems ludicrous.

A few years ago, I interviewed a very nice young man upon his return from The March of the Living. I asked him how the trip affected him. He looked at me puzzled by the question. I rephrased the question and asked him how emotionally he felt while walking through a Death Camp knowing that millions of Jews who had walked on those stones faced death minutes later.

He took a deep breath and informed me that I would be disappointed with his answer. He said that the trip “was fun, but I felt nothing in Poland, it was such an ugly country. I had no emotions at all at the concentration camps because I don’t know anyone who survived the Holocaust. I did cry at the Yom Hazikaron (Israel Veteran’s Day) ceremony in Israel.”

Today’s youth has a greater connection with Israel than the Holocaust. Perhaps we, as a community, should recognize that and realize that a week in Poland does not have the same impact 30 years later because the children don’t have the same connection to the event. For these students, Holocaust is a subject in school, not a real, living, breathing event. When I went 28 years ago, my grandfather gave me his number tattooed on his arm and told me to look it up at Auschwitz (I found his bunker and took a picture for him). I doubt that any of the Marchers who left yesterday had anyone to talk to who was there, nor do I think any went with a mission.

Perhaps future March of the Livings should take place exclusively in Israel. Perhaps the students should be exposed to Holocaust material in conjunction with Yad Vashem, an educational trip geared towards 21st Century students, digital, movies, sound bites, followed by a few days on the history of Zionism and then rebirth of the Jewish Nation.

A trip like that won’t be contributing to the economy of a country that denies their involvement and would be much more meaningful to a generation of Jews who relate more to Israeli soldiers than early 20th Century European Jews.

 

 

Ed Note: This essay was written by Howie Silbiger just after the Columbine School Massacre in 1999. It is very sad that in 2018 it is still relevant.

I could have been a school shooter. It’s chilling that I can say that and be serious about it, but it’s true. As a teen, I fit the profile. I was somewhat of a loner, bullied at school and had access to a friend’s father’s hunting rifle. If my psyche was different, if I was a little mentally off, it is very possible that you may have read about me instead of Dylan Kleobold and Eric Harris. I am a Kippah wearing Jew. It is part of my identity, I do not compromise on my religion, I never have and throughout middle and high school I paid the price.

I remember the torture clearly, nearly every instance and all of my tormentor’s names. I’m told that someone bullied a lot does that, remembers it. The beatings started in grade 7. First it started with taunts, but when I heard “Fucking Jew” screamed at me, I braced myself for the fist. It was a daily occurrence, that and being pelted with pennies and on one occasion being set on fire. The school administration really wasn’t interested in dealing with the problem and my very concerned parents spent two years begging me to change schools. I refused. My logic was simple, changing school would let my tormentors win and I was never ever going to allow that.

So, I went to school everyday, knowing I was going to be beaten. My friend Mike tried to help, he spread a rumour that I was a black belt in Karate, but nobody really believed him, and I fought everyday, sometimes winning, most of the time, grossly outnumbered and beaten silly.

I remember one day in grade 9, a polish kid named Alan approached me in the hall and said that he had heard that I insulted his mother. I had no reason to insult his mother, I barely knew him, but he insisted and said I would pay for it after school.

I spent the day trying to get a detention, I was unsuccessful and eventually the final bell rang. I left the school quickly, crossed the street and started heading home when from behind me, I heard Alan’s voice. “Hey Jew” he said. I stopped and turned around. His face was red, he stood with his legs slightly apart, his arms dangling down the sides of his lanky body. His blond hair was neatly combed, and he had a blue knapsack strung over his left shoulder. I looked him straight in the face and said, “I never said anything about your mom.” I had no sooner finished the sentence when I found myself lying in the bushes my nose bleeding. Apparently, he had kicked me in the face, I never even saw it coming.

As I lay there I wanted revenge. I thought hard and long about getting up and ripping off his face. I wanted to kill him, the embarrassment, the pain in my nose. I regretted not listening to my parents, for being stubborn and choosing to stay where I obviously wasn’t wanted. I felt small, useless and most of all I felt alone.

It was then that I realized that I wouldn’t care much if something bad happened to my tormentors. I fantasized about revenge, knowing that I would never do anything to get back at them, I wasn’t psychotic nor was I homicidal.

Life went on and beating after beating made me a stronger Jew. Most would have given up and I think even my parents were surprised I stuck with it, but the more they hated me the more resolve I had to stick with it, to be a better Jew and a better person.

The last beating of high school was when I went to pick up my grad ring. The ring table was setup in the lobby of the school and I chose to go after school thinking that there would be less people there and less risk of a confrontation. As I got to the table I felt a penny slam into the back of my head.  I turned around and four grade 9 boys were standing there. One of them said “Hey Jew, the penny is on the floor, aren’t you going to pick it up?” My calm reply, “fuck you.” The boys approached. I turned around and gave the lady behind the table my name, she started looking for my contract.

Suddenly a fist to the back of my head. I lurch forward and knock the table over, grad rings splatter all over the floor. The ring lady looked at me in horror. The four boys stepped forward and started kicking and punching me. I lay there on top of the knocked over the table as they kicked in two of my ribs.

What’s amazing is that I never felt the victim. I never got depressed, never felt that life was hopeless. The reason, I had a strong family who cared about me, I had a few good friends who loved and cherished me, and I had an attitude that allowed me to turn my anger into productivity. I was the school newspaper editor, the yearbook photographer, I sat on student council and kept myself busy staying late after school and away from my tormentors.

So here we are, a massive school shooting, the largest one in American history. Many are calling for gun reforms, to repeal the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution and banning guns. It’s easy to blame all problems on gun and gun owners, it’s easy to point fingers at the NRA and Charlton Heston, its President. Of course, if we got rid of the NRA, if we destroyed every civilian gun in the US the world would be safe. It’s an illusion and not true.

The NRA is not responsible for Columbine. Gun owners are not responsible. Gun sellers are not responsible. Dylan Kleobold and Eric Harris are responsible. They hatched the plan, built bombs, acquired guns and set out to kill as many as they could. Reports show that there were warning signs that everyone ignored, there were videos and stockpiles of arms and bomb building going on in a house with the family ignoring or not paying attention to what’s going on. Where were the parents? Where were the authorities? Where was anyone?

It’s easy to scapegoat the NRA, it’s easy to scapegoat the gun owners, but not so easy to look at society and say maybe we are all responsible. It’s much harder to look at society and say maybe if the police had gone in and confronted the shooters, maybe if Dylan or Eric’s parents had taken a more active interest in their live, maybe if they had girlfriends or if they weren’t bullied things would be different.

If you want to change the world and avoid another school shooting, do your part. Be nice to the people around you. Be understanding and accepting, love and be loved. Only then, even if guns are available, even if the NRA still exists, these kind of attacks would end. Seek out, understand and be good. That’s how we fight and beat these terrible problems.

 

Every year around this time, I write a speech that I would give at a graduation. In the 20 years I have been doing this exercise, I have never been invited to speak at a commencement. That said, here are my words to the graduating class of 2017.

It’s graduation time, looking out at all your faces, I remember when I sat in my robe, my eyes twinkling, my future uncertain, my life ahead of me. I remember the excitement, the fear and the unbelievable pride that I reached the point in my life that I was leaving high school and moving on to the real world.

Stop it. I don’t know if I would be excited to leave the bubble and safety you’ve experienced for the last few years. I’m not sure I would want to jump into the craziness that we call a world today and I’m definitely not sure that the real world is better than the fictional safe world you are all leaving.

We live in perilous times, extremism is rampant, economies are collapsing, terrorism is around the corner no matter where in the world you are. It’s scary times and sometimes I wish I had the opportunity to return to the safety of high school, the sanctuary of my parent’s loving house and the false sense of security I felt as a teen.

I know you are all thinking, what’s he talking about? We have our futures ahead of us, we have a future! We will change the world, we will make a difference, the world will transform itself to our value system, the economy will pick up, we’ll be ok.

The truth is, you will be ok, actually more than ok. You will be the inheritors of the problems, of the train wreck that my generation has left you. You will be the torchbearers, the leaders, the only people who can make a difference.

A few years ago, John Mayer sang that he and his friends were waiting for the world to change. But why wait for someone else to do the work? Use your knowledge, pursue your passion, change the world. Criag Kilberger was only 11 years old when he saw the injustice of child labour in India. Today, his organizations affect millions of lives. Craig is not special, he’s not a superhero. He was a young man who wanted to make a difference and he did.
11 year old Marley Dias, a black sixth grader in the US noticed that her school library didn’t have any books that featured major characters that looked like her. When she complained to her mom about the problem, her mom’s answer was “what are you going to do about it?”.
Accepting the challenge, Marley started a campaign to called 1000 black girl books. The campaign was to collect 1000 books about Black girls. She far exceeded her campaign and distributed the books to three majority Black countries. She continues to collect books and her goal is to distribute them to every school library in North America.

Ambition, drive, determination, that’s all it takes. Leave the bubble you are in, take chances, follow your dreams, continue your education, build your businesses, run for office, change the world.
I will never tell you it is easy, the world is a crazy place that is only getting crazier. But if you want to make a difference, if you want to build a society that will be beneficial for your children and grandchildren, you must start now.

Don’t wait for someone to suggest or push you to do something. Take the reigns and as Nike says, just do it!
Congratulations to the class of 2017, my prayer is that your wisdom, kindness, compassion and understanding will transform this world full of hatred to one full of love. That your skills and uniqueness will create a society that breeds peace and tranquility and that you will do a better job running the world than my parents generation and mine. G-d bless you all, Congratulations!

Weak Jews Condemn Strong Jews

Although I had nothing to do with the protest at Concordia and was merely there to cover it for Montreal Jewish News, I am horrified by how many Jews and Jewish organizations have condemned the protestors.

The event was a speech by three academics who were explaining how Israel is committing ethnic cleansing on the Palestinian population. The end goal was to promote the theory that Israel is a murderous Nazi regime and the Palestinians are the new Jews.

The analogy is laughable and only 20 or so people were there, but the fact that strong Jews stood up and defended Israel should be applauded, not condemned.

As the Arabs have proven, over and over again, activism isn’t polite and is definately nit considerate of the feelings of the side being protested.

It is not that long ago that an Arab riot stopped Bibi Netanyahu from speaking on campus. Have things changed? No.

Jewish students still mostly don’t wear kippas in public at Concordia due to fear of anti Jewish attack. Earlier this year I was told to take my kippa off by a Muslim at Concordia because Concordia is a “Muslim” university.

Jews have to stop cowering and start being strong. Instead of being horrified that a hate fest was disturbed and some Israel haters were a bit inconvenienced. Instead of bending over backwards condemning and distancing themselves from these strong Jews, perhaps activism should be embraced and Jews who stand up should be praised.

I often wondered why more Jews don’t stand up for Judaism and for Israel, now I understand. Fear of public shaming from our own community.

There was no outrage about the content of the hate conference. No questioning or complaining that people were gathering at a university to condemn Israel as genocidal maniacs…Just outrage at a couple of Jews who decided to do something about it.

To me, that’s shameful.

By Howie Silbiger

In Friday’s Journal de Montreal, while ruminating on the latest Muslim violence at Concordia, a bomb threat that shut down the university for a day, columnist Lise Ravery asked why I didn’t report an incident at Concordia where I was told to take off my kippa because Concordia is a ‘Muslim university’.

At the time, I not only did not report the incident, but I also turned down fifty media requests to tell the story.

When the incident occurred, I posted the story on Facebook. The purpose of the post was to highlight that 20 years after I had last walked into the university, nothing had changed. The atmosphere and environment at Concordia still allowed for Muslims to attempt to intimidate Jews and the university, after so many years, still had done nothing to curb the problem.

When the first news report came out, I immediately got a phone call from a very nervous Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, a chaplain at the university and an email from the Dean of Students.

Bernath, whom I helped publicize his Chabad House when he first arrived in Montreal, by featuring him on various radio projects I was involved in, who then subsequently, after achieving moderate success, ignored my calls and messages, suddenly found my number and wanted to talk about the incident.

In a phone conversation he urged me to meet with the Dean of Students, promising to back me in creating a multi cultural event that would promote peace and harmony in the society.

We discussed reporting it and he supported my assertion that a report and a hunt for the individual perpetrator of the attack on me will do little to solve the global problem at Concordia. Something on a grander scale had to be done and some sort of action had to be taken by the administration of Concordia to change the culture and allow all students on campus to feel equal.

After my meeting with the Dean of Students where the Dean assured me that he would meet with Bernath and work on a program, I was sure things were headed in the right direction.

That was the last I heard from either men. Bernath got too busy fighting for his synagogue’s building  and arranging a self aggrandizing infomercial documentary for his for-profit Jewish dating site, to worry about Concordia students. The Dean of Students, seeing that there was no real push from the Jewish chaplain, let the issue die down and disappear.

Perhaps I should have reported it. At least one person would have been brought to justice and maybe the story would have played in the news a few more days calling attention to the problem.

I trusted in the Jewish leadership at the university. Big mistake. The passiveness, attitude of Bernath allowed an opportunity for positive change slip away.

Lesson learned.

Mosque Attack is Our Fault

​By Howie Silbiger

A mosque was shot up in Quebec city and multiple people were killed and injured. The attack happened the same weekend that the American President imposed a temporary hold on people travelling to the States from five terror supporting (and US hating) countries.

Is there a correlation? Can it be that suddenly homegrown haters are taking their cues from the liberal induced hysteria of the South?

While liberal Jews are falling over each other on who is going to condemn this attack first and a preliminary report by both La Journal de Quebec and TVA (Quebec’s largest TV news network) indicates that the perpetrators may be a Muslim from Morocco and a French Canadian, I sit and wonder why anyone is surprised by this.

Quebec has a history of mistreating its minorities. Whether it be restricting the use of a language, or creating a Charter of Values that discriminates against one group, Quebec has done it all.

Assuming this attack wasn’t a settling of scores within a community and was a hate crime, an attack because it was a mosque, who is to blame? Simply, we all are.

For years, we as a society, allowed our politicians to vilify burqua and Niquab wearing Muslims. We allowed our government to have commissions on reasonable accommodation, therefore creating a second class citizenship of a minority group. We allowed our government to convince us that all Muslims want to bring Sharia law to Quebec and that we are all in danger. We remained quiet while one minority group suffered discrimination. We should be ashamed.

So, after years of vilification and soft attacks from our government, why is anyone shocked that a Mosque was attacked? Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

It’s up to us to change the atmosphere in Quebec and embrace the  Muslim community. They are  the fastest growing community in the province. We have to accept our differences and teach our children to be understanding of different cultures.

While it’s true that we must always be vigilant, the Jewish community has been attacked numerous times, we can’t live in fear of ‘The Others’. Doing so breeds the atmosphere that allowed for this week’s attack and that is unacceptable.

As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species… The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections. (Narrator – Idiocracy – 2006)

We live in a politically correct obsessed hypocritical liberal world where the framers of public opinion feel that everything must be accepted and nobody should feel left out or discriminated against, unless, of course, if they disagree with the opinions of the framers. Dissenters are referred to as ‘dinosaurs’ or ‘living in a previous time’ or even ‘ancient’. People who believe in moral values based on religion or family values based on traditional family models are ridiculed and depicted as radical idiots. In effect, liberals who claim to be “progressive” are as intolerant of other opinions as the people they feign to hate.

In 1999, Dr. Laura Schlessinger referred to homosexuals on her national syndicated radio show as “biological errors”. Her argument at the time was a sound one, men and women were created to procreate, a man’s sperm inseminates a woman’s egg to create another human being. Males were biologically designed to be attracted to and have sex with females. If someone was born with an attraction to the same sex, that was contrary to biology and thus should be considered a biological error.

She clarified her opinion with the following statement on her website:

“I’m sorry, hear it one more time [to make it] perfectly clearly: If you’re gay or a lesbian, it’s a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex – it is a biological error.

People who are gay or lesbian are not to be hated or attacked. I spent most of my career supporting groups like Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays because I didn’t want families to throw out their children simply because they were gay or lesbian – they are still decent and functional human beings or maybe they’re not because that indecency goes everywhere. A bunch of guys having sex after leaving bar with each other [is] indecent. Likewise a bunch of heterosexuals leaving bars with each other and having sex with each other is indecent. I don’t care which way it flies”.

The outrage by the very powerful LBGT lobby that followed her statements got her newly syndicated television show cancelled and eventually, FTC complaints drove her radio show to satellite, where she is free to express any opinion she pleases.

As a journalist working for The Monitor Newspaper at the time, I wrote an opinion piece supporting Dr Laura’s right to express her opinion. At the time, I pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal argument that says ‘I might hate everything you say, but I will fight until death for your right to say it.”

I supported Dr. Laura’s right to make the statements she made, arguing that if you don’t like what she’s saying, nobody forces you to listen to her show. Letters poured in calling me homophobic and worse, a charge I vehemently deny, I’m not scared of homosexuality, I personally believe sexuality should be a private thing, relegated to one’s bedroom and public broadcast of sexuality in anyway is an affront to the public.

With a strongly worded editorial by the Editor defending me, I was fired that week from the paper. The publisher felt that my opinions were too much of a liability and might offend left leaning sponsors.

This goes to prove that expressing your opinion, if it deviates from the opinion of strong lobby groups, will get you fired and relegated to the nether regions of society.

Just ask Curt Schilling, a legendary Boston Red Sox pitcher and a long-time ESPN analyst who got fired over a comment he posted on Facebook regarding the transgender debate. Schilling posted a meme of an overweight man wearing a long blond wig and revealing women’s clothing. It included the phrase: ‘Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!’

Schilling added his own comments, saying, ‘A man is a man no matter what they call themselves’ and ‘Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.’

ESPN, owned and operated by the Disney Corporation, responded to Schiller with a statement saying “’ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.’

Schiller’s “unacceptable” conduct was expressing an opinion, much like Dr. Laura’s that biology defines person, not feelings.

Schiller, after being terminated, defended his post saying he was expressing his opinion and those that were criticizing him were frauds.

‘Let’s make one thing clear right upfront,’ he wrote. ‘If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.’

He added: ‘This latest brew ha ha is beyond hilarious. I didn’t post that ugly picture. I made a comment about the basic functionality of men’s and women’s restrooms, period.’

Gender segregated bathrooms in North America started in the last 19th century as a response to woman entering the workplace and needing a toilet. Most toilets in workplaces were marked for men only and with the plethora of women working, businesses were forced to add accommodations for female employees. In 1887, Massachusetts became the first state to legislate that businesses with women employees have female specific restrooms. By 1920, most of the States of the Union had passes laws regarding sex segregated bathrooms.

The Miriam Webster dictionary defines the word delusional as “a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also :  the abnormal state marked by such beliefs”

This definition directly refers to a person who is under the illusion that they are what they are not.

So, taking it to the logical conclusion, if someone claims to be the King of England, but is not a member of the Royal Family and was not coroneted as the King, that person would be deemed delusional and perhaps be hospitalized or treated for a mental illness.

But what if the man actually believed he was the King. What if in all his heart, he felt he was the King, what if he dressed like a King and spoke like a King and in every way acted like a King, would that make him a King? Would the royal family hand over the keys to Buckingham Palace and concede the Royal Jewels and riches because the man claimed convincingly to be King?

Of course the scenario is preposterous. Just because one feels like they are someone or something, doesn’t actually make them the person or thing they feel they are. If that were the case, we’d all be billionaires living along the sun drenched ocean sucking down martinis all day.

So why, if we wouldn’t accept the man who honestly believes he’s King as King, would we accept a man or a woman who claims to be the other gender as the other gender?

At what point to we look at reality and say, as Curt Schiller did, that the sex you were born into is the sex you are. Feeling that you are another sex is delusional under the definition of the word.

Just saying that got Curt Schiller fired. Physical reality has been negated over feelings and the world’s desire not to insult anyone.

This is not a new phenomenon. It is actually the fault of my parent’s generation who didn’t want their children to feel bad, so they stopped keeping score at little league sports games and gave everyone a participation trophy. There were no winners or losers in a world where everyone is equal. There was no competition, because remember “it’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”.

The simple concept of licking your wounds and accepting defeat was lost on two full generation of children (my generation continued and expanded the nobody loses philosophy) and led to a society of narcissistic individuals who don’t understand and have never felt the disappointment of losing. This phenomenon lead to the hypocrisy of liberalism.

These generations were raised with a false sense of morality that says that anybody, no matter how ridiculous their claim, must be accepted. So as a result, we see Pastafarianism, Raelism and Scientology taken as serious religious beliefs. We see every sexual perversion and deviation publicly displayed and accepted in society. When one rises to the occasion and points out the idiocy of the situation, they are marginalized, villainized, fired and threatened. Nobody’s opinion is valid if it is contrary to theirs, because they can’t be wrong and if and when they are, they surely don’t realize it and therefore can’t apologize, they’ve never been taught the skill.

But if we accept transgender at face value, they feel whatever gender they feel therefore we must accept it, do we have to accept the claims of admitted convicted pedophile and my former Editor at The Monitor, David Goldberg?

After his arrest in 2012 in which he served 90 days for possessing and viewing and purchasing child pornography, Goldberg wrote a piece in Atlantic Magazine entitled I, Pedophile.

In his piece, Goldberg argues that being a pedophile is akin to being homosexual or hetrosexual. He argued that “We don’t choose our sexual orientations. If we could, believe me, no one would choose mine.” Later in the article, he referred to pedophilia as a “cross-generational lifestyle”. He concluded his article arguing that instead of jail time, society should strive to understand and perhaps help, although it is a tough psychological problem to regulate.

Goldberg admits that his sexual attraction to children is a deviant misfire of his brain that caused his sexual perversion. He was addicted to the pornography and ashamed of it when he wasn’t watching it. He realized what he was doing was wrong but couldn’t stop himself, because he believed that he was sexually attracted to children. It was hardwired in his brain, he couldn’t control his impulses, it defined him. He was delusional.

Goldberg was lucky, after his arrest he realized he had a mental problem, a break from reality and sought professional help. It’s a long road to travel but at least he realized there was a problem and he needed help and society didn’t enable him by declaring pedophilia a legitimate sexual orientation.

The world is losing touch with reality at an alarming rate. The transgender debate happening across North America is more than just a fight over bathrooms, it is a fight over reality versus fantasy, a fight of sanity versus insanity. Unfortunately insanity is winning.

George Orwell, in his classic book 1984 wrote “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

No truer words have ever been written.

Howie Silbiger is the host of The Howie Silbiger heard live every Sunday from 6-8pm on The Truetalk Radio Network – www.truetalkradio.com  – Email Howie at howie@truetalkradio.com

I’ll be honest, sales I hesitated writing this piece simply because I feel that Radio Shalom needs to be saved. I hesitated writing this piece because after 16 years of volunteering and putting in thousands of hours into the station, here I, and my very popular show, were unceremoniously dumped with all of Sunday night programming to “save costs”, a nonsensical reason based on the fact that my show, in fact all of Sunday programming, did not cost Radio Shalom a dime.

I didn’t want to sound bitter, I didn’t want to sound resentful, because I honestly am not, I am hurt, upset and quite disturbed, however, that my show is being used as a cost saving excuse.

I want to set the record straight.

I started the show in 2001 right after the World Trade Center attacks. I was in the middle of a stint working at The Suburban covering home based terrorism and CJAD, where I was working part-time, had just rejected another application to work in the newsroom. I was told that because I couldn’t work on Friday nights and Saturdays for religious reasons, I was useless to them.  Radio Shalom called, they were just setting up and needed some radio experience to join them, to help put them on the map.

I stepped up and started what turned into “The Howie Silbiger Show”. I interviewed community leaders, terrorists, terrorism experts and over time built an audience. When Radio Shalom went on AM in 2006, I was there, hosting the first English show heard on 1650 am and then the daily, Sunday to Thursday “Howie Silbiger Show”.

Allow me to re-iterate, I wasn’t paid for the show, it was two hours a night and I worked a 50-hour week around it. Not only was I hosting the show, I was doing all the research, technical production and call screening. It was a daunting task. Two years into it, when I asked the station for help, I was told there was no budget for anyone. Finding volunteers was virtually impossible, so I cut the show down to three nights a week.

Three nights a week went well, I had a volunteer call screener and the station provided a technician for at least one of the nights and we continued trudging on, volunteering.

Radio Shalom had a problem, though. The management lacked the finesse of dealing with volunteers. When they decided to host a fundraiser at the Olympia, volunteers were not invited (unless they paid for a ticket) and instead of using internal talent, Sonia Benezra was hired to host the event for a fee. The event would have been far more successful had the volunteers been tapped to help out, instead, the stations attitude was, they were doing us a favor by giving us airtime. Our time and contribution was valueless.

Not long after the fundraiser, I decided to drop my show to one night a week, Sundays, Radio Shalom withdrew their technician.  I increased the show to three hours and decided at the time to rebrand the show under my Truetalkradio banner, rather than Radio Shalom.

We ran for two years like that, with me using volunteers I recruited to help with the show. Then I hired Sheldon Fried, a dedicated 25-year veteran of commercial radio. Every week, I would pick up Sheldon, bring him to the station, we would do the show, go out to dinner (which I paid for) and then bring Sheldon home.

I also hosted my own archive site for the show and website (the show did not appear on Radio Shalom’s website).

So if I factor in the yearly out of pocket costs of running The Howie Silbiger Show it would look something like this:

Radio Shalom  (electricity, approximately $3 a week)

Howie  (Approximately $120 a week)

Cancelled after nearly 16 years on air at Radio Shalom, I did not receive a thank you letter or call. I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my listenership nor did I get offered another timeslot during the week.

When I approached Radio Shalom with a proposal to purchase the station, I was told straight out that I was not being taking seriously because they “know I have no money”.  A fallacy, but I digress.

Now my show is being used as a pawn to try to guilt people into donating money or investing into the station and that infuriates me. Cutting my show or all of Sunday programming has not saved Radio Shalom one penny. It costs the exact same thing to run pre-recorded music as it does to run pre-recorded programs and my live show.

All this tactic is accomplishing is banging the final nails into Radio Shalom’s coffin and further alienating the population they are trying to appeal to.

I wish them the best in whatever they are trying to achieve and unlike the Radio Shalom management, I want to thank Radio Shalom for the years of use of their station to hone my skills and develop The Howie Silbiger Show into what it became, the most popular English show on their station.

The Howie Silbiger will be launching independently online in the near future. I will post more information as it finalized.

Terror and celebration

Today is a day that I reaffirm the existence of G-d. It is a day of mixed emotions, a day that should have been a happy celebration that the injustice of Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence had finally been partially resolved. The Jewish world should be rejoicing at Pollard’s early Morning release, instead we sit shocked and shattered by the senseless killing of more Jews in Israel.

Growing up in Montreal, I never took Jewish studies with Rabbi Don at CHAT. But hearing the testimonials of some of his former students, I can’t help but think that the world was robbed of a great man and a super teacher.I didn’t know 18 year old Ezra Schwartz, but from everything I’ve read about him, he was a decent young man with a promising future, killed for the crime of being a Jew in the Jewish State.

And the world remains silent.

Just a week ago, we commemorated Remembrance Day, saluting our fallen war soldiers. During many Canadian ceremonies, the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was read:

“Take up our quarrel with a foe, to you with failing hand we throw, the torch, let it be yours to hold it high..”

Such a Jewish concept, Tikun Olam, lighting up the world. We are the torch bearers and the jealousy of that has fuelled anti-Jewish sentiments for the better part of 3000 years.

Yet, with all the torture, abuse, murder and genocide, Jews have survived and thrived. Despite the constant danger, Jews like Ezra Scwartz still go out and do chesed work, still visit and live in the land of Israel and still follow the principles of Torah Judaism.

Last week, after a terror attack in Paris, France, the world spent days lamenting, analyzing and mourning the dead. Buildings put up the French flag colours, Facebook offered a French Flag filter for pictures, Obama gave a condolence speech, sporting events stopped for a minute of silence.

Who will remember Rabbi Don or Ezra Schwartz? How will their legacies be preserved? Will the world finally take notice now that an American was killed in Israel?

But at the end, all we hear is silence. Mr Obama, where is your statement? Where are the blue and white lighted buildings? Where are the delayed sporting events playing Hatikvah?

Unfortunately In the world view, Jewish life is cheap.

I believe we should take the light shining from the remarkable lives of Rabbi Don and Ezra Schwartz and pay it forward. Don’t let their deaths be in vain.

Do more mitzvot, be nicer, help more people and for heavens sake, enjoy life. Doing this will not only be a fitting tribute to the two murdered Jews, but will also be a message to the terrorist that they can’t win. You can kick us, kill us and spit on us, you will never break us.

Howie Silbiger is the host of The Howie Silbiger Show which airs live 6-9pm on Sunday nights on 1650 AM in Montreal or online at www.radio-shalom.ca

Dear Fans, here cialis

I write this without consulting with my team or Radio Shalom, cure they are getting this information at the same time as you. I believe that being honest and straightforward is the only way to go, rx so I will hold nothing back.

I have been toying with the idea of ending The Howie Silbiger Show. We have been on the air, in one format or another, for just about 14 years, we have produced multiple thousands of shows, over 3500 and have accomplished amazing things with the limited resources we have been working with.

From taking on the Y for opening on Shabbos to being instrumental in stopping the mergers of Herzliah and Bialik High Schools and then the wholesale abandonment of Judaism at Bialik, we have never shied away from being thourough in our research, confrontational, controversial and entertaining. We have done this, for years, with no monetary compensation, no community financial support and very little praise or recognition.

That said, my current team are dedicated professionals giving of themselves daily to help produce a great radio program.

I am eternally grateful to professionals like:

Mark David, who, despite being the editor of a major technology magazine, gives of himself and my occasional ridicule to make the show great. He’s been on the show for a good part of a decade, never complaining, never demanding, just funny, fun and unpredictable week after week.

My unbelievable producer Sheldon Fried. After a quarter of a century working as a technical producer for commercial radio, Sheldon joined me as my right hand man this year. It has been incredible working with such a dedicated professional, a sweet man and a fine human being. I am honoured that Sheldon is on my team, I am humbled in his presence.

Itai Azerrad joined the show when he was 14. Through the years he has blossomed into an amazing radio personality.

Working with these people has continuously inspired me to up my game, to put out and give the best that I can give every week on the air. I truly love the show.

But, the show can’t go on, at least not in the format, timeslot and reach it is currently in. Changes have to be made for the show to remain the best Jewish talk show in the country.

This of course leads me to my announcement.

In order for us to continue producing The Howie Silbiger Show, we need money. We have taken the show to the limit of what we can do on no budget and in order to bring it to the next level, meaning taking the show back to a daily format that can potentially be syndicated and put on Satellite Radio, we need paid staff. We need to pay Sheldon for his hard work, we need to pay a researcher/producer and of course I need to be paid too.

Now I am not much into begging for money, I believe our product speaks for itself and I know that there are fans of the show who can sponsor, advertise and help bring the show to the next level.

In the next few weeks we will be launching a kickstarter campaign. Our goal is simple, we need to raise $50,000 to cover part-time salaries and to negotiate a deal with Radio Shalom and perhaps other radio stations in other cities to air the show daily.

We are also working on starting a speaker’s bureau which will feature some interesting speakers that will speak at your events for a small fee.

We are also going to launch a major sponsorship campaign trying to attract sponsors to the show.

We will be restructuring the show to make it more informative, more local and more fun.

We, however need your support. We are willing to put the work in to make this all happen, without money it can’t.

If we fail to raise the money, then unfortunately, I will have no choice but to end The Howie Silbiger Show by the end of the summer.

So I ask you to stay tuned, we will be announcing everything as we are ready to launch each aspect of this project. I ask that you open your pockets, help out and keep us going.

If you are interested in sponsoring, advertising or helping out, please contact me directly at howie@truetalkradio.com

Thank you for listening

Howie Silbiger

The Howie Silbiger show airs Sundays at 6pm on 1650 AM in Montreal or online at www.radio-shalom.ca – Archives of past shows are available at www.truetalkradio.com