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Worldwide Friends of Yad Vashem

Canadian Society for Yad Vashem

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Fran Sonshine, National Chair (left), and Yaron Ashkenazi, Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem  (right) present the Carol Deutsch Portfolio to the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of CanadaFran Sonshine, National Chair (left), and Yaron Ashkenazi, Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem (right) present the Carol Deutsch Portfolio to the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Message from the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, in Jerusalem, is the universal guardian and imparter of the Shoah’s (Holocaust’s) legacy and the protector of human values. Situated on the Mount of Remembrance, Yad Vashem stands at the forefront of Holocaust education, commemoration, documentation, and research. The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, one of the largest societies among Yad Vashem’s representative bodies worldwide, is charged with raising financial resources for Yad Vashem’s global initiatives and implementing nationally its important vision and goals. 

The Society’s vital educational initiatives include recruiting and sending dozens of Canadian educators annually to seminars at Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies in Jerusalem; hosting alumni conferences that present innovative pedagogical practices and curriculum materials to graduate educators of the seminar; presenting mobile exhibitions on the Holocaust, such as “BESA: A Code of Honor” and “Carol Deutsch,” at educational institutions and community events across Canada; honouring the Canadian descendants of Righteous Among the Nations (non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust) with the Yad Vashem certificate and medal; holding young professional events that expose our future leaders to the Holocaust’s narrative and universal lessons; conducting biennial delegations of community leaders to Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, and Israel; and bringing the relevancy of the Shoah to the third and fourth generations of Holocaust Survivors through our Twinning Program, which pairs Bar/Bat Mitzvah children with a child Holocaust victim.

The Society’s many commemorative initiatives include activities on the national, provincial, and municipal levels: the National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa, held on behalf of the Government of Canada, is attended by hundreds of dignitaries, including ambassadors from countries across the globe, Canada’s Cabinet ministers, party leaders, Supreme Court judges, senators, and members of Parliament; the Queen’s Park Tribute to Holocaust Survivors, in affiliation with the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Legislature, recognizes the outstanding achievements of Ontario’s Holocaust Survivors; and the Toronto Yom Hashoah V’Hagvurah Community Holocaust Commemoration is co-produced with the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

The Canadian Society also conducts an annual community Yizkor (Remembrance) ceremony at its Memorial Site at Earl Bales Park, Toronto, where victims of the Holocaust and Survivors are remembered, following which the newly engraved names of Holocaust victims and Survivors who have passed away are unveiled on the Canadian Society Wall of Remembrance.

The Society’s numerous educational and commemorative endeavours bring Yad Vashem’s world-leading knowledge and expertise to multicultural Canadian audiences. With global antisemitism and racism on the rise, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem is dedicated to advancing and expanding its crucial mission with more resolve than ever.

Together, let us remember the past and shape a better future marked by greater tolerance, compassion, and understanding for all humankind.

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