Meet Ezra Tanen
“I think it is important that we look out for each other. It’s a basic message, we all know it but sometimes we need reminding that if we are just a little kinder to each other, we could solve a lot of societal issues today.”
We all know what it is like to represent the minority. Not many of us flaunt it, but Ezra isn’t afraid to stand up for who he is and what he believes in.
Ezra Tanen became interested in the political world during his undergraduate degree, where he studied how the Ontario health system works. “The main thing I learned is that people’s health is literally determined by what the government decides to do.” This changed Ezra’s perception of health in Canada and propelled him to get involved in politics.
He interned at The White House in the office of presidential correspondents, and, back at school, organized a student political party, fighting to ensure better access to mental health services and to make university more affordable.
In the meantime, Ezra became more involved with the New Democratic Party in his riding. He decided to run for the NDP in Thornhill because he felt that’s the party’s messages needed to be brought to his own community. “It was important for me to espouse the ideas of the NDP party to the community that has raised me.”
Caring deeply for others comes naturally to Ezra. “I’m also proud to be part of a political party that is committed to helping people. That’s an important part of my identity”
“I think it is important that we look out for each other. It’s a basic message, and we all know it, but sometimes we need reminding that if we are all just a little kinder to each other, we could solve a lot of societal issues today.”
Ezra believes in having a continued Jewish presence in politics, as well. “It is important that there was a Jewish voice from two of the three political parties, and that there are Jews heavily involved in all the parties in Thornhill. I think it shows how much diversity of opinion there’s is in Thornhill. People are willing to stand up for what they believe in.”
The campaign was a great success in many ways. “Our goal was to make the NDP relevant, and for it to do better than it had before in Thornhill and we accomplished that.”
Ezra is thankful for the community he grew up in. “I wouldn’t have been able to debate any Conservative without my experience at the Shabbat table in Thornhill. It sounds funny but it’s true. The passion and fervor from a lot of people in Thornhill prepared me to learn how to talk in the language that people want to hear and respond to, and also prepared me to be in a political arena.”
Ezra Tanen, 23 years old, grew up in Thornhill and attended Jewish day school. He graduated with a degree in Health Studies at York University and will be attending law school in Washington, D.C in the Fall, where he hopes to continue his mission of improving the health and happiness of the population at large.
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Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Adina Samuels