Community birthdays, awards
Team BC Junior Olympic level 10 (16+) were bronze medalists in the 2017 Canadian Championships in Artistic Gymnastics that took place in Montreal May 25-28. Congratulations to the whole Gymnastics BC team, which included 18-year-old Rachel Rubin-Sarganis (third from the left). (photo from Gymnastics BC)
In the Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers), we learn the saying, “Teach us to number our days so that the experiences of life should provide us with wisdom that only years can bring.” How fortunate we are that we have this exceptional woman, Sylvia Hill, admired by all who know her.
Sylvia has been part of the Jewish Seniors Alliance of Greater Vancouver since its inception and is an honourary life member. On June 6, Sylvia turned 103 years old. We honour her as she continues to inspire us with her staunch resolve to advocate for better lives for seniors – be it in the home where she was once president of the residents or within the community at large.
In the newsletter put out by the Snider Campus, Sylvia was called “the Face of Louis Brier” and was honoured during morning services on June 10, with a special kiddush following. On the day, we of JSA proudly wished you, dear Sylvia, a yom huledet sameach, a happy birthday, and we wish you continued good health for many years to come … beez (until) 120, and thriving, as has been the theme of JSA’s Empowerment Series this season. Continue being a beacon of light for us to follow!
With love and deep respect.
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At the annual general meeting of the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education and Remembrance on June 14, Gisi Levitt received a Life Fellow Award for her 12 years of service as VHEC’s director of survivor services.
The Meyer and Gita Kron and Ruth Kron Sigal Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education was awarded to Anna-Mae Wiesenthal, who teaches Jewish history and English at King David High School. She recently worked together with VHEC on the Student Docent Training Initiative, a successful pilot project in which volunteer students from KDHS were trained to become docents. Two of the student docents, Milena Markovich and Jacqueline Belzberg, did an outstanding job of sharing with the audience their experiences of guiding their fellow students through the VHEC exhibition In Defiance: Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust.
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On June 20, Women in Film & Television Vancouver celebrated leaders for their outstanding work and contribution to advancing opportunities for women with their annual Spotlight Awards. This year’s recipients included Mark Leiren-Young, who received the Iris Award.
The Iris Award is given to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of female creators and their screen-based works, either through curating or programming or through print and online media sources. Named after the Greek mythological figure Iris, associated with communication, messages and new endeavours.
Leiren-Young was also one of the finalists for the 2017 BC Book Prizes’ Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for The Killer Whale Who Changed the World (Greystone Books).
Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the west coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll – as the whale became known – was an instant celebrity, drawing 20,000 visitors on the one and only day he was exhibited. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas. Because of Moby Doll, we stopped fearing “killers” and grew to love and respect “orcas.”
Leiren-Young is a journalist, filmmaker and author. His Walrus article about Moby Doll was a finalist for the National Magazine Award and he won the Jack Webster Award for his CBC Ideas radio documentary Moby Doll: The Whale that Changed the World.
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It was a banner year for the Leo Awards, which received a record 1,295 entries, from 301 unique programs in 14 different categories. Among the finalists was David Kaye – for best lead performance by a male in a motion picture for his work in Cadence and as part of the cast of Grocery Store Action Movie, which was nominated in the category of best music, comedy or variety program or series.