Judy Feld Carr, CM
06/07/2012
Toronto, Canada
Long-time activist receives President's Award
 

Judy Feld Carr, CM

Judy Feld Carr's story is well known to our readers (see http://www.kh-uia.org.il/En/Newsandevents/KHnewsblog/Post.aspx?id=15 ) and to many of those involved in the Jewish world.  On 18 June, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, she received the newly-created President's Award of Distinction from President Peres, for her dramatic activities to alleviate the plight of Syrian Jews and to rescue thousands of them, in a clandestine, Toronto-based, operation whose details will remain secret for many long years to come.

 
We meet her at her Jerusalem apartment, a few days after the ceremony.  She is dividing her time here between the Presidential Conference, the Keren Hayesod annual World Conference and her children and grandchildren in Israel.
 
When asked what she felt at the moment that President Peres hung the medal around her neck, she responded:
 
Well, several feelings… First, that I am so privileged to have lived to see this moment.  Then, I thought about my son, daughter-in-law and five grandchildren living in Jerusalem, as well as our children and grandchildren in Canada and the United States, to whom I leave a legacy about what they have to do for the Jewish people. Third, that to be recognized by the President of Israel has to be about the greatest honour one can have. This was beyond my highest expectations. Then I thought of my late father, who was a fur-trader in Northern Canada, who would have said, "Judy Leve (my maiden name) from Sudbury – you done good!”, as well as my late husband, Dr. Ronald Feld, whose idea it was to begin a communication with the Rabbi in Damascus, by sending religious books and telegrams, in 1973… And of course my husband, Donald Carr, who has lived with this secret for the whole of our marriage, and  played a major role in my “double life”.
 
Judy Feld Carr has been involved with Jewish and Zionist affairs for decades. Back in the early '90s, she and Don were the Chairs of the Exodus Campaign for Soviet Jews on behalf of all Toronto synagogues of all streams. Judy was the first woman president of Beth Tzedec Congregation, the largest  congregation in Northern America, with 8,500 members.
 
They never miss the annual Keren Hayesod-UIA World Conference, and Don was a member of our organization's Communications and Marketing Committee for years. Judy, who is a proud Canadian, has traveled the world over to lecture to KH audiences, arousing admiration and evoking emotion in audiences as far afield as South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, as well as in the U.S. and Canada.
 
"Keren Hayesod is absolutely crucial in the Jewish world”, says Judy. "It has had a vitally important influence on my life.  Through Keren Hayesod, my eyes were opened to many important initiatives in Israel and I got to know Jews from all continents through the organization. An amazing way to see the real Israel, whether it’s kids at risk, soldiers prepared to defend their country, or elderly immigrants, or to hear Ben Gurion's story as told  by one of his grandchildren, for instance, and to understand what wonderful things are created by our contributions, is through a KH mission".
 
Once, during one of those missions, they visited an Amigour residence for elderly olim. "I was there, with Don and one of my granddaughters” , recalls Judy, “when one of the residents told his story as an immigrant from Syria, who had been tortured in jail as an alleged participant in attempted emigration from the country.  He told the group, ‘There was a lady from Canada, named Mrs. Judy, who was the mastermind behind my escape from Syria.’   He added, ‘I never met her, but I owe her my freedom’. ‘Would you like to meet her?’  Don asked him. ‘Do you know her?’ he responded. ’This  is Mrs. Judy,’ replied Don, pointing to me.    That is how I met Zaky Shayu, whose story I, of course, knew very well. I will never forget that moment" ( see
 
"People like Zaky and so many others have found a  haven in Israel, at Keren Hayesod-supported residences", concludes Judy.  "KH gives a "neshama" to the Jewish state. It does things that no other organization does. Sometimes, I get the feeling that it underrates itself".
 
The worldwide Keren Hayesod-UIA family salutes Judy's exceptional activities and congratulates her once again, as one of the first six recipients of the President's Award of Distinction. We all wish her, together with Don, many more years of activity and involvement, in good health and high spirits!
 
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See also:
Judy Feld Carr secretly rescued Syrian Jews, Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2012
 
University of Toronto Prof. Harold Troper, a leading Canadian historian, has documented Judy Feld Carr's rescue work in his book "The Rescuer: The Amazing True Story of How One Woman Helped Save the Jews of Syria" (Lester, Mason & Begg, 2007).  She is the subject of a documentary produced by the Israel Broadcasting Authority and aired on Channel 1 TV, entitled “Miss Judy”.