Hi <<First Name>>

This is the seventh newsletter from me in 2020 but the first newsletter for the Jewish New Year of 5781, which begins at sundown Friday Sept. 18.

It will be a strange and bittersweet time for Jewish people around the world. Families will be observing the important religious festival much differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


That's why you need to read this unexpected bit of inspiration which I discovered last weekend. 

Wartime New Years bulletins to Canada's Jewish military personnel. Written seventy-five years ago. By two prominent Canadian rabbis who were serving overseas as chaplains in Europe.

Their messages contain a bit of sadness mixed with hope, plus blessings for the future. They urged the soldiers who fought Hitler to now help remember the dead, and then turn their focus to rebuild a broken world.

Powerful and important words for us, all these decades later
Read my WWII Chaplain's New Year's bulletin story here

Biographies of all the Canadian Jewish war casualties now available online

The bios of the 70 Jewish men killed in Normandy in WWII are here, on my website.

Grave of Pte. Joseph Gertel, of Montreal, killed July 8, 1944. Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. (Ellin Bessner photo).

For the broader list of 500+ Jewish Canadians who gave their lives for peace over the years, there is a new go-to site. Award-winning volunteer researcher Gary Perlman of Montreal has compiled a searchable database on this site

Canadian Military Family Appreciation Day 2020

I want to tell you about this important recognition campaign for Canada's military families. Together We Stand was founded by Rick Ekstein, a Toronto entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is also the son of a Holocaust survivor.

Ekstein wanted to give back to Canada's military families, who "hold down the fort" at home while their partners are deployed on missions around the world.

TWS donates thousands of care packages to military families. These go to personnel of all faiths. An estimated 700 Canadians of Jewish faith are currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and more serve in the Reserves. Thanks to TWS, the third Sunday in September is now officially known as Military Family Appreciation Day.

Ekstein works with government relations specialist Laura Grosman.
She's the lobbyist who spearheaded the creation of Canada's National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa in 2017. 

This year, aside from looking for donations to pay for the care packages, TWS has launched #Home Fort Challenge.
Folks can pay virtual tribute: build a Lego or pillow fort at home, snap a photo, and send it to them, or post it on social media. Their campaign ends Sept. 20.

I'll be speaking "virtually"
Get in touch with me

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Ellin Bessner · 951 Carlaw Avenue · Suite 149b · Toronto, Ontario, Ontario M4K3M2 · Canada

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