As the days grow shorter as we move towards the winter equinox, the number of people over whom we say kaddish seems to increase. Three people whom I knew passed away this month.
Sally Zerker was a colleague of mine at York University and a fellow member of the Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East (CPPME). She is brilliant, feisty and holds strong opinions. Her husband, Lloyd, passed away. I am reminded of the saying, “Behind every strong and forceful woman in public life there is a man of great integrity and a strong supporter of women having an independent voice.” Lloyd, a quiet, thoughtful and very caring person, was such a man.
I met Ralph in Jerusalem in 1977. I was a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at Hebrew University and Ralph inaugurated the Programme of Canadian Studies, later renamed the Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies. Ralph began as a dentist and became a very successful developer. He also co-founded the Israel Tennis Centers that used tennis to promote the social, physical and psychological well-being of its students. An ideal philanthropist, he was focused, dedicated and modest, renowned for his civility. He was committed to higher education in both Israel and Canada. He cared deeply about both people and causes.
In 1958-59, Arnie and I were in the same clinical group in our second year in Medical School at the University of Toronto. Later, he became my ENT doctor. He provided extraordinary leadership in using medicine to advance peace between Israel and Palestine. He founded CISEPO, the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program that began by introducing hearing treatment (cochlear implants) and supplying hearing aids to Palestinian children. CISEPO focused on promoting capacity building in the field of health. The partners in CISEPO were committed to peaceful coexistence, equality, mutual respect and trust. Arnie always signed off on his emails to me – and presumably to everyone – “Always moving forward.”