Let’s remember the names and sacrifice of each of these Canadian soldiers and airmen who went overseas and didn’t come home, in the name of freedom. There’s the lawyer, the Yiddish poet, the farmer, the optician, the father of three, the son of Russian immigrants, the insurance salesman. Some come from big cities including Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Others come from small communities including Inverness, Cape Breton, and Edson, Alberta. They were as young as 20, and as old as 45. Privates, Lieutenants. Gunners, Troopers.
|Courtesy Veterans Affairs Canada|
France is honouring these men because I sent the organizer and note and asked them to, as part of that country’s wider commemoration, one that originally wasn’t going to include Canada’s Jewish casualties.
And now I’m asking all Canadian Jews to remember these liberators, by participating in a national #KaddishForDDay.
Let’s make it a Canadian national prayer. You can choose when to do it to coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day next week. How about on Yikzor for Shavuot? Or on the next Shabbat? Or sometime this summer? You can find a list and hometowns and bios/stories about the 70 Jewish casualties here on my blog. Feel free to print the information out, and share it.
I just learned that the Reform Jewish movement in the United States is doing a similar campaign called Normandy Kaddish.
Jean-Max Skenadji, the organizer of the French D-Day 2014 Kaddish, and the CRIF, the main Jewish federation in France, were planning to honour only the 150 American Jewish servicemen buried at Colleville-sur-Mer, near Omaha Beach, the site of the U.S. D-Day landings June 6, 1944.
Let’s remember and give thanks, as the French and Americans are doing, for the Canadians like Bombardier George Meltz. I first came across his grave on a trip to France in July, 2011. His tombstone in the Beny-sur-Mer military cemetery, near Juno Beach, has a Star of David on it, and the powerful epitaph, put there by his British war bride, Trudy: “He died so Jewry shall suffer no more.” Before the war, he sold wallpaper in Toronto, and died of his wounds after D-Day, in July, 1944, at age 25.