Edmonton Jewish News, November 4, 2016
(EJNews) – As Canada nears its 150 Anniversary, Cardus Faith in Canada 150 is gearing up to help ensure that a celebration of faith is part of our country’s 150th birthday.
In that vein, a Cabinet of Canadians has been formed and Chairman Dr. Andrew Bennett extended an invitation to Edmonton Beth Israel Synagogue Rabbi Daniel Friedman to join the prestigious Cabinet.
The Cabinet of Canadians forms an integral aspect of the Cardus Faith in Canada 150 initiative. Dr. Bennett said that Rabbi Friedman’s “respected leadership on public issues, including the role of faith in public life, makes him one of a small group of people we want to bring together to give face and voice to the FC150 initiative and to join other Canadians in affirming that faith matters.”
Rabbi Friedman graciously accepted the invitation saying, “I’m proud to be serving our country at this special time in our history. I’m particularly gratified when our efforts ‘out here’ in Edmonton are recognized and appreciated on a national level. From a faith perspective, some call Alberta the Bible Belt of Canada – faith has always been a vital part of the Alberta story. It’s an honour to be serving in the Cabinet alongside great Jewish leaders including Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl and Shimon Koffler-Fogel and great Albertan leaders such as Dr. David Goa.”
Under the direction of Greg Pennoyer, and shepherded by Cardus through its president Michael Van Pelt, FC150 will roll out over the next year and a half initiatives encompassing academic research, literature and art, lectures, media engagement, and festive gatherings all designed to bring faith to the forefront of public conversation during this sesquicentennial year of Confederation.
Dr. Bennet explained, “It is our intention to reaffirm the central role that faith has played throughout Canadian history and continues to play today for a majority of our fellow citizens.That Canadians might appreciate anew the role of faith in our country’s public life, however, requires the involvement of recognized leaders adding credibility, approval, and support to the ideal of fostering faith in our common life.”
Dr. Andrew Bennett served as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada’s principled foreign policy. At the same time, Dr. Bennett served as Canada’s Head of Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 31-country body which leads international efforts in Holocaust education, research, and remembrance.
Rabbi Daniel Friedman is the rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue, Edmonton, Alberta, the chair of the National Holocaust Monument Development Council of Canada, the assistant chief examiner for religious studies at the Caribbean Examinations Council, and a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. Born in the UK, with degrees from Canada, Australia, the US, and Israel, he is currently a doctoral candidate in International Relations at the University of Alberta. He is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Award and accompanied (former) Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his official visit to Israel.
For more information and a complete list of the Cabinet of Canadians visit faithincanada150.ca.