Canadian Society Annual Yizkor Memorial Ceremony draws 400 people
Fran Sonshine, National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, addresses close to 400 people—including Holocaust Survivors, partisans, students, and the community at large—at the Canadian Society's annual Yizkor (memorial) Ceremony, commemorating the 6M Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust and paying tribute to Holocaust Survivors. The ceremony coincided with the launching of the Society's Remember. Reflect. Recommit. Campaign, which aims to revitalize the Memorial Site at Earl Bales Park.
On September 23, 2012, close to 400 people, including Holocaust Survivors, dignitaries, politicians, students and their families, and the Toronto community attended the Canadian Society’s Yizkor ceremony.
Yizkor, which means "remembrance" in Hebrew, is Judaism's memorial prayer that is traditionally recited by family members to remember and elevate the souls of their dearly departed loved ones.
Occurring during Judaism's most holy days, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Yizkor Ceremony held at its Memorial Site at Earl Bales Park is the public observance for the community to remember those who were murdered in the Shoah and to pay homage to Holocaust Survivors.
Fran Sonshine, National Chair of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem and Masters of Ceremonies said, "The Yizkor ceremony is where generations young and old, and those of all faiths and backgrounds, confront the truth that hatred and intolerance are still forces that must be dealt with. We must know the lessons of history in order to create a better future for our children."
DJ Schneeweiss, Israel's Consul General to Toronto and Western Canada; MP Mark Adler; Mr. Eduardo Harari, Director of the York Centre Federal Liberal Riding Association; and Councillor of the riding in which the park is situated, Mr. James Pasternak, all delivered heartfelt addresses.
Wreaths were laid by MPs the Hon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett, the Hon. Judy Sgro, John Carmichael, and Ted Opitz; MPP Mike Colle; Mayor of Richmond Hill David Barrow; Deputy Mayor of Markham Jack Heath; and Councillors Sandra Yeung Racco, Deb Schulte, Alan Shefman, Howard Shore, Karen Stintz, and Michael Thompson. These were laid in commemoration of the 6M Jewish victims of the Holocaust; the 1.5M Jewish children who perished; Holocaust Survivors; the Righteous Among the Nations; the Partisans, ghetto fighters, Allied Armed Forces and liberators who fought against the Nazis; and in tribute to the future Torchbearers of Holocaust Remembrance.
The ceremony also featured a commemorative candle-lighting ceremony, readings of Holocaust-related narratives by students from Bialik Hebrew Day School, and the Bialik Day School choir singing anthems and medleys, signaling hope and optimism for a better tomorrow.