ladies and gentlemen,
and may I include all of you when I address you most sincerely as – My dear friends!
It was November 3rd when Rabbi Eli Rubenstein asked me whether I would be willing to come at Hanukkah and speak to you all in Toronto. My diary was already well filled with appointments for the days before Christmas. But a diary does not necessarily reflect all the expectations and wishes of people with whom I am bound in love and affection. So it is the ties of affection which have brought me to meet you here today.
You wish me to describe the Groening trial, including the events leading up to it, its planning and execution.
But I would like to start by sharing with you some remarks concerning my own spiritual connection to the guiding principle of Hanukkah.
Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA stands in solidarity with the Muslim community following an act of terrorism that left six people dead and eight others injured after a shooting at a Quebec City mosque Sunday night.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragedy. In these unprecedented times, we must stand together against hatred and violence. The Canadian Jewish community stands in solidarity with the Muslim community of Quebec City and Canada as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of this act of terrorism in the days to come.”
– Julia Berger Reitman, Chair of Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA
Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs-Quebec said “the Jewish community is horrified by the murderous shooting at the Sainte-Foy mosque. Nothing justifies the murder of innocent civilians assembled in a place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives, as well as all our fellow Muslim citizens.”
David J. Cape, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following: “Last night’s deadly attack on the mosque in Ste-Foy, Quebec is horrifying and repugnant. Canadian Jewry stands in solidarity with the Muslim community and we say unequivocally that an attack on any of us is an attack on all of us. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families.
“We call on Jews across the country to join our Muslim brothers and sisters and all Canadians of good faith and participate in solidarity vigils from coast to coast. Standing together, our determination to reject this hatred, will be the most powerful response to intolerance and violence.
“There is no room for such acts of hate in our society, and we are confident that Canadian law enforcement will bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to swift justice.”
Prime minister Justin Trudeau affirmed on Twitter the values the Jewish community shares with Canada “Such senseless violence has no place in Canadian society. We will not close our minds. We will open our hearts.” Read his full statement here
Forever will I see the children who no longer have the strength to cry. Forever will I see the elderly who no longer have the strength to help them. Forever will I see the mothers and the fathers, the grandfathers and grandmothers, the little school children…their teachers…the righteous and the pious…. From where do we take the tears to cry over them? Who has the strength to cry for them?
—Elie Wiesel, 1990 March of the Living
Since 1955, Yad Vashem has worked to fulfill its mandate to preserve the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity. Millions of victims remain unidentified. Yad Vashem urgently calls upon Jewish communities to recover their names through a worldwide Names Recovery Project. Unless we assume collective responsibility for completing this vital mission, some of them may be lost forever. This is a race against time, before those who remember them are no longer with us.
The March of the Living is sponsored nationally by Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA, and locally by the respective Jewish UJA/CJA Federations. We would like to thank the following individuals, organizations and foundations for their support of the March of the Living program.
Selected Quotes from Past Participants
I worry about how this program (the March of the Living) will continue once we no longer have the wonderful survivors to make the Polish part of the trip so vital and important. I believe that the students were very responsive to the survivors and this relationship enabled them to connect to the tragedy of the Holocaust. We are so fortunate to have survivors who are invested in teaching and bearing witness for all those who perished and survived. It is hard to imagine a program without them. And I think of their stories often and feel privileged to have heard them speak.