My guest today is Judy Feld Carr, Toronto musicologist, mother of six, grandmother, and secret rescuer of more than 3,000 Syrian Jews over a period of 28 years. Welcome to OpEdNews, Judy.
Joan Brunwasser: While raising your large family, you led a double life. Only now is your story starting to be known. Please tell us how you became involved in this unlikely lifestyle.
Judy Feld Carr: I was a musicologist and a young married woman with little children who was involved, with my late husband, Dr. Ronald Feld, in the Jewish community and in Israeli causes, and for support for the State of Israel.
Like many young couples in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we were involved in the Russian Jewry campaign. As everyone else was doing, we were sending letters to Sharansky's mother, demonstrating outside of Russian events. [ed. note: This refers to Anatoly Sharansky, the well-known refusenik who was arrested and sentenced to 13 years for wanting to move to Israel.]
In late 1972, in the overseas edition of the Jerusalem Post, my late husband and I read about a tragedy of 12 young Jewish men who tried to escape from Syria, stepped on a mine field and were blown up. A rabbi in Toronto wrote an article, reiterating the story and saying that we, here in Canada, had to do something for the Jews in Syria.
We volunteered to help. No response. So, we decided to do it alone, having absolutely no knowledge about what to do.
One Saturday night, we invited six couples for drinks in our home, and formed a committee. We planned a teach-in on a cold January night, 1973. Our speakers were Rabbi Mitchell Serels, the Sephardi rabbi in Toronto, a minister from the United Church, and Professor Saul Friedman of Youngstown University in Ohio, who was an expert on Jewish refugees from Arab countries.