As we look forward to the upcoming holiday and reflect on the past 12 months, we recognize we have much to be grateful for. Just this past week leaders from around the world took time out of their busy schedules to honour the life and legacy of Shimon Peres. It was truly amazing to see the convergence of global heads-of-state who arrived from all corners of the earth to pay tribute to him at his funeral this morning and, in so doing, showed their respect for the State of Israel as well. I was immensely proud of our Canadian delegation, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and was especially encouraged by U.S. President Barack Obama's speech re-affirming the Jewish people's right to our ancient land.
I feel particularly fortunate that Friends of
Simon Wiesenthal Center had the opportunity to honour Mr. Peres at our Benefit
this past May, at what ultimately was his last major appearance in the
Diaspora; we were blessed to once again show our respect on Wednesday in front
of 3,000 students and teachers at Freedom Day in Toronto when we held a minute
of silence in his memory.
As we move forward and make plans to grow our 'big tent' of friends and supporters in the New Year, we must remain optimistic - though not naïve- about the future. After all, if not for optimism and hope - or 'tikvah', the State of Israel would not exist. It is this hope and optimism for a better future that we will continue to share through our education and outreach every single day. On behalf of our Chairman Mr. Gerald Schwartz and our esteemed Board of Directors, we thank you for your support and wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year - Shanah Tovah.
Avi Benlolo & the Staff of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies