On November 21, Beth Tzedec was proud to co-host the special From the Heart event, together with The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation. The event was co-chaired by Beth Tzedec members Bernie Abrams and Norman Bacal, both of whom have been active supporters of the Shaare Zedek Hospital. The evening’s theme of tzedec rang out in the opening remarks of Rabbi Adam Cutler and the Hospital’s director, Jonathan Halevy (who, along with Kurt Rothschild, traveled from Israel to participate in this memorable evening).
Senator Linda Frum presented the Kurt and Edith Rothschild Humanitarian Award to the Hon. Irwin Cotler for his unwavering commitment to advancing human rights, advocating for Israel, and fighting anti-Semitism, racism and terrorism. Senator Frum’s introduction of Mr. Cotler showed her devotion to him as a Parliamentary mentor, and his response reminded the entire room that Senators, and particularly Senator Frum, are doing very important and valuable work for the country and for our community.
Mr. Cotler’s acceptance speech threaded together various themes: His connection to the hospital and to Dr. Halevy; his connection to our congregation as a home away from home; his long relationship with our Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl; and how both our organizations focus on the Jewish values needed to continue fighting the oppression of tyranny. He spoke about his move to government as being necessary to be on the “inside” to help prevent the next Darfur or Rwanda, where governments could have acted but did not. Finally, he spoke about Israel, wrapping in the calumny of Israel Apartheid Week and relating his own struggles on behalf of the late Nelson Mandela and what a true apartheid regime looks and feels like.
Gideon Raff, the executive producer and director of the Emmy-award winning television series Homeland, was then interviewed by Jonathan Kay, Managing Editor for Comment at the National Post. The magical and spellbinding interview covered the impact the award- winning Israeli television series H̱atufim (Prisoners of War) has had on Israeli society, exposing for the entire country the plight of the POWs and allowing people to engage in meaningful dialogue about these issues. Raff commented that H̱atufim’s acclaimed U.S. adaptation, Homeland, represents the U.S. dramatic experience in a different way, and shared that the show is being formatted for production in China, India and several other countries. He said we might even one day see a Palestinian version: Apparently, ˙Hatufim is the most illegally downloaded show in Lebanon.
We are grateful to Norm and Bernie, the Board and our staff for their tremendous efforts in making this event such a success, and we thank the leadership and staff of The Canadian Friends of Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation for being such wonderful partners. Our heartfelt appreciation goes to all of the donors and sponsors who contributed to this incredible evening.