Sunday, May 10, 2015

Remembrance and Redemption in Toronto: Arnold Roth's Memorial Day speech [Video]

The BAYT in Toronto's Thornhill section [Image Source]
Last month, Keren Malki's co-founder and honorary chairman Arnold Roth was a keynote speaker at Toronto's community-wide commemoration of Israel's 67th Independence Day and the day that precedes it each year - Yom Hazikaron, Israel's national Memorial Day.

Annually, it's a formal occasion, very well attended, and marked by full-hearted solemnity and celebration.

This year's was held on the evening of Wednesday April 22, 2015 at The Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Synagogue Centre of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto, known more familiarly as The BAYT - a community center worthy of the title.

In his speech, Arnold reflected on what some consider the strangeness of a day of deep sadness being bracketed closely with national jubilation. His speech, under the title Remembrance and Redemption, is the subject of the video embedded below. In it, he touches on the song that Malki, his murdered daughter, composed in the last year of her life: several versions of it, all freely downloadable, are here, along with some of the background to its creation and aftermath.

He also shared aspects of a not-so-pleasant experience - as Israel's representative - addressing an international conference on terror and its victims, convened in New York City by the Secretary General of the United Nations in 2008. (A Haaretz report of that conference and of Arnold Roth's speech is here.) That speech is the source of the audio track accompanying a short introductory film clip that was shown to the audience in Toronto and which takes up the first 4m 20s of the YouTube video below.

Published here with their permission, this video is extracted from Mizrachi Canada's longer video recording (online here) of a memorable night of communal introspection and celebration. 

Our thanks to Mizrachi Canada's board, its executive director Rabbi Meir Rosenberg and this year's event chairman David Shore, for hosting Arnold and for allowing us to reproduce the video here.

Arnold's Toronto visit included more than a dozen additional speeches he made to college and high school student groups, some inside the city's Jewish community (including local synagogues), others in secular institutions. He focused mainly on terrorism and the challenges it poses to Israel and to other democratic societies and - naturally - giving an introduction to the work of the Malki Foundation.

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