Saturday, August 18, 2012

Judy Feld Carr: the Canadian musicologist who saved over 3,000 Syrian Jews

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Lets take it one step further- Never doubt that a single thoughtful, committed citizen can change the world. Remember the story of Judy Feld Carr. Feld Carr used funds from the Dr. Ronald Feld Fund for Jews in Arab Lands (established at Beth Tzedec Synagogue, Toronto in 1973), to negotiate the ransom and release of Syrian Jews from inside Syria. Ultimately, Feld Carr helped over 3,228 Jews escape from Syria.

From an article in the Times of Israel by Raphael Ahren

Horrified, Judy Feld Carr closely follows the news coming out of Syria, where government troops and rebels are waging a bloody civil war. The former music teacher from Toronto has never been to Syria, yet she has a special connection to the country, and especially to the Jewish community that used to live there.

For nearly three decades, Feld Carr single-handedly arranged the smuggling of more than 3,000 Jews out of Damascus, Aleppo and Qamishli to safety in Israel and America. At the time, the totalitarian Syrian regime didn’t allow Jews to emigrate and tortured those caught trying to escape. But lower officials, she found out, could be bribed into letting Jews leave.

“Oh, my dear,” she says when asked what’s going through her head as she hears the reports from the war zone. “Thank God the Jewish community is out. That’s my first thought. Because if you had a sizable community of 3,000 people, this would be a major problem.”

Judy Feld Carr, a grandmother of 13 has received countless honors, awards and medals. In June 2012, Feld Carr was the recipients of the Presidential Award of Distinction of the State of Israel, created by President Shimon Peres, to "recognize outstanding contribution to the Jewish People and the State of Israel".

She remains a lasting inspiration to many, a reminder that one person can truly make a difference in the world.

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