By COLlive reporter
Recently 400 people gathered at the elegant Le Windsor ballroom in Montreal for the Chaya Mushka Seminary Annual Dinner. The event celebrated 20 years since the school’s founding one year after Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson‘s passing, which has grown to 80 students today.
The evening’s honorees were businessman and philanthropist Steven Mintz and his wife, Sandra, who had been an English teacher and later a guidance counsellor at Lubavitch schools in Montreal. They received the Chai-Life Award, and a scholarship program in their names has been established at the Chaya Mushka Seminary.
Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel was the evening’s guest speaker.
Speaking in hushed tones to a rapt audience, Wiesel said that Chabad is dear to him because he comes from a chassidic background himself, and that he enjoyed a warm relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson OBM, whom he had many personal encounters with, and misses greatly.
Wiesel also spoke about the world turning a blind eye to those who threaten the existence and safety of so many. He and member of the Canadian Parliament Irwin Cotler have been leading a campaign for almost two years to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicted for incitement to crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.
“Ahmadinejad should be in jail in Holland, not at the UN,” said Wiesel, who, with Cotler, was among the prominent voices protesting the Iranian president’s appearance at the United Nations in New York in September.
The evening’s honorary chair, Ben Weider, who died in October, was remembered fondly by Rabbi Avraham Cohen, Director of Development of Chaya Mushka Seminary, for his outstanding generosity and as a personal friend.
The seminary’s educational center is named for Weider. The seminary has created a new community leadership program in his memory, he announced.