|Adath Israel logo, Montreal|
Michael Whitman paid tribute Saturday June 7, 2014 to the three RCMP officers killed
in Moncton, as part of a wider memorial service at Adath Israel synagogue for
all Canadians who risked their lives to serve others, including those killed on
the 70th anniversary of D-Day in the Second World War.
As world leaders
including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barrack attended the
official 70th anniversary events in France, synagogues from Manitoba
to Montreal took part in the Kaddish for D-Day initiative. They paid tribute to
the seventy Jewish soldiers and airmen from Canada who were killed in France
and are buried in cemeteries across Normandy.
“By 1944, the
Jewish soldiers understood they were not only fighting for Canada, but also for
the remnant of the Jewish people in Europe,” Whitman said, explaining why he
added their sacrifices, and the murders of the three Mounties, to the Adath’s regular
prayer for the Canadian Armed Forces.
|Rabbi Alan Green, Shaarey Zedek (courtesy of synagogue website)|
congregations, like in Winnipeg, did it as part of the Yizkor prayers recited
on the holiday of Shavuot.
Calling the D-Day
invasion a “mega-historical event”, on par with the founding of the State of
Israel, the moonwalk, and the Holocaust, Rabbi Alan Green of Winnipeg’s
Shaarey Zedek called on his worshippers Thursday June 5, to remember the
sacrifices of local Jewish men who went overseas.
“Among the casualties on D-Day and
in ensuing battles, were fourteen Jewish rifleman, troopers, captains, doctors,
pilots, and lawyers--from Winnipeg,” Green told the congregation. “They're now
buried in cemeteries in Northern France, and, as we're are about to perform the
special Yizkor service for Shavuot--along with all those we're remembering
today--on this day before the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, I would
ask you to add, the following fourteen names.”
He then read out the names,
including Harry Segal, a rifleman with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. The Rifles
landed on Juno Beach at 7:49 a.m. on the morning of the invasion, and sustained
heavy casualties, according to military records. Segal died June 8, 1944. He
was married, and the son of Charles and Sarah Segal.
For Beit Rayim worshipper Nellie
Miller, who knew one of the men on the list, Private Joe Gertel of Montreal,
hearing the names “just sent a chill up my spine.”
“I recall those days,” Miller
said in an interview, recalling growing up in Montreal when Gertel went off to
enlist. He is buried in the Beny-sur-Mer Military Cemetery near Juno Beach, in
France. He was killed in July 1944, while attached to the North Nova Scotia
Highlanders. He was 22.
|Joe Gertel's tombstone in Beny-sur-Mer, France (John Friedlan photo)|
Prayers were also said at Conservative
synagogue, Beth Tzedek in Toronto, led by Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl.
“I think it was exceptionally important
and encouraged the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs to circulate the
information, “ Frydman-Kohl wrote in an email. “The yahrzeit [anniversary] on
the Jewish calendar will be 25 Sivan.”
And at the City Shul, Rabbi Elyse
Goldstein read the names of five Canadian servicemen from Toronto and gave a
little bit of information about each one, whether they went to the University
of Toronto, or whose family were members of Holy Blossom Synagogue.
“It was beautiful. People were very
moved,” she wrote, in an email.
According to Dorshei Emet member Lois
Lieff, “it was indeed a very moving and emotional Kaddish.”
In Kitchener, where Beth Jacob Congregation lost three members of the shul during the Second World War, Kaddish
was recited on the Friday evening June 6.
According to the synagogue bulletin, the three casualties
were Sidney Acker, Lorie Reider
and Samuel Harry Roseman. Reider and Roseman are buried in France. Acker, of Guelph, was killed when his
Anson bomber crashed during training in Ontario, in 1942.
Labels: adath israel, alan green, anson bomber, baruch frydman-kohl, beny sur mer, beth tzedec, chezi zionce, city shul, elyse goldstein, holy blossom synagogue, joe gertel, kaddish for dday, michael whitman, normandy