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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Heroine Of The Day

Today's heroine is Judy Feld Carr. This amazing Canadian mother and high school teacher decided one day, after reading a harrowing newspaper account of the miserable and dangerous lives Jews in Syria faced, to singlehandedly spearhead an effort to provide financial aid and transport to save trapped Syrian Jews.

Her story began in 1972. Syrian Jews were living in unimaginable conditions, forced to live in one of three ghettos and forbidden to own cars or to travel more than three kilometers from their homes. Feld Carr read a story in the International Jerusalem Post of the tragic story of the death of 12 young Syrian Jewish men. She read about how Syrian Border Patrol guards watched as the men tried to escape Syria's borders and were blown up after stumbling into a minefield. Feld Carr, a mother of three who had no involvement in rescue efforts before that day, resolved then and there to do anything she could to assist the plight of Syrian Jews.

She contacted a young assistant Rabbi in the Syrian community, and began to exchange coded telegrams with him, receiving updates on the miserable conditions the community faced. They used a system of writing out pesukim from the Torah, and when a telegram quoted the biblical verse of "Rachel mevakah al bane'hah" - "Rachel is weeping for her children", it indicated that Jewish children had been hurt or killed. Feld Carr could not sit idly by while this occured, and her efforts became exhaustive. She started a fund with private donations, funneling money to Syria to pay for bribes in exchange for the secret release of Jews, personally negotiating the releases. She petitioned Canadian MP's, lobbied diplomats and UN officials, contacted Jewish organizations - all while keeping her activities completely secret, even from family and friends. Most unbelievably, she continued her mission even in the face of great personal tragedy. Her husband who had begun this quest with her, Dr. Ronald Feld, died suddenly of a heart attack in 1973, leaving her with three small children to raise on her own, in addition to the massive and incredibly ambitious project to save the Jews of Syria.

Bt the time Judy Feld Carr wound down her self-appointed task, she had personally arranged for the release of over 3,000 Jews from Syria. This unbelievable woman is truly an inspiration to anyone who needs to be convinced of the power of one.

For further reading, a book has been published, Ransomed Of God, which has Judy Feld Carr's full story, including first-hand accounts from people that she personally saved.


Blogger Sarah said...

Thanks so much for this post, and the whole series! Fascinating and inspiring!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Ayelet said...


9:53 PM  
Blogger westbankmama said...

This is a great post, and a great addition to the series.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Shifra said...

What an unbelievable story. I'm stunned. Makes me wonder what I can accomplish... you know?

4:09 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

thank you for the return of the Heroine - and she really is one!

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work with her son on this issue. There are two stories here: 1) The amazing work JFC did, and 2) what the official Jewish community did not do.

That is also true for Ethiopian Jewry pre-Operation Moses.

I'm glad to see her story is being told.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing story. People should read the next book "The Rescuer" by Harold Troper, Malcom Lester publisher, toronto

11:44 PM  
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