Wellness: Are your Jewish colleagues doing OK? | Darryl Singer

By Darryl Singer

Law360 Canada (October 30, 2023, 10:42 AM EDT) --
Darryl Singer
Darryl Singer
No, your Jewish colleagues are not all right. They are not all right because:

  1. They must contend with the false moral equivalency of their non-Jewish friends who stayed silent when Israel was attacked by Hamas but were quick to jump into social media contortion when Israel defended itself.
  2. Every day they have to see the mainstream media and social media keyboard warriors completely distort the historical facts designed to make Israel the evil empire.
  3. They hear the words “genocide” and “apartheid” being distorted to justify the anti-Israel hate.
  4. They are learning that many people they have known for years are actually antisemites.
  5. They must once again endure calls for the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world, and the support of terrorist organizations calling for the decimation of all Jews worldwide
  6. They must listen to their high school and university aged children tell them about on-campus antisemitism and bullying of Jewish students under the watchful eyes of teachers and professors who sit idly by.
  7. The Law Society of Ontario (LSO), which for years has put out statements condemning human rights abuses around the world, and discrimination of all types here at home, said nothing when Jews were slaughtered by a terrorist organization.
  8. Toronto Metropolitan University law students, representing the next generation of the profession, put out a statement which essentially supported Hamas and delegitimized Israel. The law school and the LSO refused to say anything.

This is, after all, a wellness column and not a political column. I mention these things because the mental health of your Jewish colleagues is at risk. Many of us are feeling a medley of anger, sadness, ennui and fear we have never experienced. We are emotionally drained. We feel we have no more to give. And yet we must get up every day, tamp down our own feelings, give our all for our clients. Add to this the usual day to day stressors many lawyers feel — billable targets, client demands, court deadline  — and it’s amazing many of us have not imploded in the last two weeks.  

The Jewish community in Canada, and Jewish lawyers in particular, have been allies in almost every fight against discrimination and oppression. Yet we must now be concerned that so many we have supported cannot find their way to support us.

So, no, your Jewish colleagues are not all right.

But we are a resilient community, and we will be. Until then, please feel free to check in with us.

Darryl Singer is head of the class actions team at Diamond & Diamond Lawyers LLP and is leading class actions against York University and Toronto Metropolitan University arising from antisemitism on campus.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clients, LexisNexis Canada, Law360 Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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