Magen David Adom- Montreal Chapter (Full transcript of Speech)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank-you for your kind welcome today.
On behalf of the State of Israel, please allow me to extend my warmest greetings to the Montreal board of directors and supporters of Canadian Friends of Magen David Adom on the occasion of their annual general assembly.
It is an honor for me to be among so many devoted men and women who so generously give of their time, money, and energy, without hesitation, to ensure the welfare of their brothers and sisters in Israel.
I’d like to begin on this lovely afternoon with a brief anecdote from the late Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber.
Buber once pondered the merit of the stork according to a Chassidic tale. He asked, why the stork was called the hasida in Hebrew? Why, of all animals, was this creature referred to as the pious, merciful one?
Because, he hypothesized, the stork, the hasida, is the single creature in the animal kingdom that gives the most love to its mates and it’s young.
You might wonder then, why such a devout fowl did not have sufficient merit to be categorized as kosher.
Well Buber explains, the hasida’s righteousness is limited- as she cares only for her own.
Contrarily, Magen David Adom, its patrons and its staff do both. While the main mission of the MDA is to provide relief in Israel; MDA’s devotion does not stop at the borders of the state.
They provide help and healing without bounds! Be it general first aid services, transportation and evacuation of the wounded, temporary shelters, mobile intensive care units and national blood centers -MDA provides exemplary emergency response and humanitarian aid for its own and for others, equally!
No term has yet been coined for such a high level of piety… perhaps because words are so small next to MDAs grandiose actions and mission.
For the victim of a terror attack or an accident, for a wounded soldier, the sight of the red Magen David on a white background means that somebody cares, that they are going to be in safe, caring and able hands.
Personally, for myself as well, MDA has revolutionized the images conjured in my mind at the sight of an ambulance. Typically, the image of an ambulance invokes the idea of illness, tragedy and distress. The sight of a MDA ambulance, however, inspires thoughts of hope.
It is so meaningful to see MDA emergency workers arrive first at the scene of a humanitarian crisis, or a national disaster; regardless of the diplomatic relations that exist between Israel and the necessitous country.
MDA has become a sort of ambassador of the Jewish people and of Israel through its international relief efforts… and there is no feeling but pride and hope in humanity when those images appear in the news.
Indeed, this is the image of Israel, the image of the Jewish people, the people who know and act on their responsibility to one another.
The late and great Jewish sage Maimonides once wrote that the capacity for man to heal his fellow left him in awe. For me, it is your motivation and perseverance to help to heal that leaves me in awe.
On behalf of myself, the State of Israel, the 450,000 plus people who benefit from MDA services annually, and on behalf of the countless lives saved throughout the history of the organization: thank-you!
May your humanity and your love of the Jewish People and of mankind continue to guide your mission.