Friday, December 12, 2008

Dinner of Miracles: Shoa Survivors Speak

On December 11, 2008, 300 young professionals descended upon the Kahilla Center in Toronto for the fourth annual Dinner of Miracles.

Billed as a special evening of dialogue between Young Adults and Holocaust survivors, as a two time attendee the event once again did not disappoint. Seated amongst the young professionals were 150 survivors bravely recounting the hardships and the horrors they were subjected to during the Second World War in their respective countries.

Leaving their childhood homes mostly for concentration camps and some even for the dedicated death camps, though they survived, many lost mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, their families and spirits nearly wiped out entirely. In a short video presentation made by The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, the organizers of the evening, for all the horrific atrocities they endured, the survivors had their revenge. They went on by word and by deed to remember and never forget. By word they spread the message that such a Holocaust can never be allowed to happen again. By deed these brave souls had families of their own, children abound and through the gift of children their faith, their traditions, their legacies live on.

In an opening address made by Hank Rosenbaum, National chair for The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, dinner co-chairs Sherri Rotstein and Shawna Spiegelman were praised for once again enabling the future of the Jewish people, the youth of today’s generation to carry forward the testimonies of the Shoa survivors.
Consul General Amir Gissin had three words primarily to say with respect to what he witnessed from the roomful of discussions held throughout the main reception hall of the Kahilla Centre, “I am proud”. In his travels to various Jewish communities around the world he had never experienced such an evening as the Dinner of Miracles afforded him.

At the table I was placed at, we were graced with the presence of Irving and Emma Eisner. A principle and educator at Associated Hebrew Day School for 38 years and a participant for 10 years on the March of the Living, this charismatic man spoke with humour and sheer delight. The delight came from having been given yet another opportunity to carry out what he insists, next to being a great grandfather of 12 is his highest calling, to make sure that young Jews and non-Jews alike understand and carry on the duty of remembering never to forget.

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