-CANADA’s Holocaust survivors share their experiences with the country’s young adults


“The Holocaust survivors here tonight are the last living witness to a process in history. . .”

the-hall-of-namesTORONTO, December 11, 2008 (jewishinfonews) –  This evening at the Kehila Centre in Toronto, The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem-New Leadership Division and The Azrieli Foundation  played host to 250 Holocaust survivors and 300 young Jewish and Christian professionals.

The annual Dinner of Miracles, now in its fourth year, is a special evening of dialogue between young adults and survivors of the Shoah that is intended to give the youth of our society an opportunity of listening first-hand as to what the survivors have to say about their personal experiences.

Shawna Spiegelman, co-chair and co-founder of the event said today, “For the young adults, this is a formula that works.” Spiegelman, and her co-chair Sherri Rotstein, have emphasized that the young adults present “will be encouraged to go home after the dinner and write the stories down and to tell them to many people as possible.”

Building bridges with all nationalities and religions

In welcoming the young adults, the co-chairs’ message is succinct and clear. “The Holocaust survivors here tonight are the last living witness to a process in history which started out as a clear declaration of genocidal intention and nearly ended in the accomplishment of those intentions. The Jews of today’s world are unfortunately again facing a clear and present danger, however, it is our strength though knowledge and our ability to build bridges with our neighbours of all nationalities and religions that enables us to overcome the evils of our times as we have in the course of our difficult history.”

miracle-dinner-photo3 An overflow crowd of nearly 600 attended the  “Dinner of Miracles”. The event honoured two miracles…the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of those who survived the Holocaust. Those attending the dinner included: (L-R) Yaron Ashkenazi, Executive Director, Canadian Society for Yad Vashem; Naomi Azrieli, Chair and Executive Director, The Azrieli Foundation; Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority Directorate; Hank Rosenbaum, National Chair, Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.

The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem was founded over 20 years ago. Its goals are to raise support for Yad Vashem initiates worldwide, and to assist Yad Vashem in implementing a wide variety of educational activities and projects across Canada.

Yad Vashem is visited annually by over one million people. This year, visitors have included the Presidents of  France, Uruguay, Slovenia, Albania, Mongolia, Rwanda and Burkina Faso, the Prime Ministers of the U.K., Poland and Denmark, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Italy, Finland, Ireland and Cyprus.

This past July, president elect Barack Obama while visiting the Holocaust Museum and the Children’s Memorial was quoted as saying, “I must bring my daughters here.”

Top photo: The Hall of Names, Yad Vashem. Photo credit: Yad Vashem. Bottom photo credit: The Communications Group Inc.

Further information about Yad Vashem is available at: www.yadvashem.org

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