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Howard Morry (right) accepting award

Read Howard Morry’s Speech On Receiving The Max and Mollie Shore Award- May 25, 2011

by Howard Morry, May 25, 2011, posted July 3


On May 25, at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg's Kavod Awards, Charles Shore presented Howard Morry with The Max and Molly Shore Award.

The Winnipeg jeiwsh Review congratulates Morry and his family on the award. Morry's complete well-crafted and powerful speech on receiving the award is reprinted below:


Thank you. Charles Shore and his family epitomize the values of the Max and Mollie Shore Award. He should be receiving this award tonight instead of presenting it. Thank you Charles.

I’d also like to thank the Federation and the Selection Committee, and to congratulate Senator Kroft and all the award recipients this evening.

I’m sure everyone receiving an award tonight will agree with me that community work is a team sport.

I’ve been surrounded by incredibly talented people over the years who have always generously given their time and resources to make this community a better place.

I’ve always thought that the most important thing you could do as a volunteer is to inspire others to join you.

The late Izzy Asper and Harold Buchwald inspired me at the start of my career.

Izzy by showing me the importance of dreaming big, reaching for the stars as he liked to say.

Harold by stopping at nothing to get the job done; he used to call it going to hell and back.

I could go on. So many others have reached out to me at crucial times in my development as a volunteer. Yude Henteleff and the late Dave Kaufman and Bonnie Dobbs among them.

I’ve also been fortunate to have by my side dedicated professionals who make us all look good, so we can accept the awards while they quietly get the job done.

Bob, Elaine, Faye, Shelley and of course the late Gerry Koffman.

My real heroes are my family.

My grandparents who sacrificed so much to make a better life for their children.

My parents, Julius and Shirley, and Hope’s parents, Sid and Florence, who gave us the bedrock values we live by

My siblings and sister in law, especially my brother Jeff who gets to make a difference in the lives of so many people every day.

Our kids, Josh and Samantha, who I’m sure will make their own unique mark on this world, as will their incredible friends.

And, of course, Hope.  When I said that volunteering is a team sport, my co-captain and coach is Hope, who like Ginger Rogers does everything I do but backwards and in high heels.

I could not do any of this without her.

Inspiring others, as Hope says, I’dor v’dor, from generation to generation.

Because at the end of the day, that’s how we measure success. Jewish continuity.

Not by how many meals on wheels we serve or how much money we raise, but whether we leave a strong Jewish community to our children.

And that’s never been easy.

The Jewish people have had so many close calls, when our story as a people almost came to an end.  And I’m not just referring to the pogroms or the Holocaust.

We wouldn’t be here tonight if our people had accepted St. Paul’s offer in the 1st Century, generous though it may have been, to join him in forming a new people.

Or if we had accepted Muhammad’s offer in the 7th Century or Martin Luther’s in the 16th.

Others didn’t even bother to make offers; they simply demanded that our ancestors give up their people on pain of death.

We eat latkes every Chanukah because our ancestors fought back when they were ordered to abandon their God.

We wouldn’t be a people today if our forefathers and mothers hadn’t  secretly practiced Judaism during the Spanish Inquisition.

I personally got to witness the strength of that Jewish bond in 1997, when Bob Freedman and I went on a mission to Belarus.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried when I saw how 70 years of official atheism couldn’t extinguish the Jewish spirit.

We see that spirit in the streets of Israel and Winnipeg today, Jews from the former Soviet Union living Jewish lives because of the work we do.

We saw that same spirit in the survivors who came to North America and Israel after the Second World War.

They would have been forgiven if they had turned their back on their heritage. But in spite of everything, they never gave up on their identity as Jews.

We are a stubborn people as our enemies have found out.

The empires and thousand year reichs that targeted us over the millennia have been assigned to the ash heap of history, while we celebrate here tonight.

That is why Hope and I are co-chairing Securing Our Future. There’s nothing more important to us than playing a part in securing the future of the Jewish people and for us, that begins right here at home.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that shortly after we launched our plan, Natan Sharansky, one of the genuine Jewish heroes of our time, called the Jewish Agency’s new strategy “Securing Our Future”.

In doing so, he said our historic mission was to inspire Jews worldwide to connect with their people, heritage and homeland and to empower them to build a thriving Jewish future.

In my opinion, Mr Sharansky got it exactly right.

They say the age of miracles is over, but I’m not so sure. If you leave aside the eternal flooding we face here in Manitoba, the miracle I’m referring to is the strength of the Jewish people.

We’re not the all powerful wizards that Islamists fear, but pound for pound we punch far above our weight. There are only 12 million of us left, .2 percent of the global population and yet …

Jewish scientists and doctors win nearly half the Nobel prizes. And per capita Israel beats out every country in innovation and patents.

My son Josh and I were recently at the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and saw first hand what a cultural powerhouse the Jewish people are.

Name the medium or art and Jews have made an outsized contribution.






Movies. Did you know that every major studio in Hollywood was founded by Jews?

Facebook.  Google.  Even Starbucks was started by a Jewish entrepreneur.

Americans like to say the most exclusive club on the planet is the US Senate. I believe that we can make the same claim.

But just as Americans have to guard their institutions we have to guard ours.  That includes the State of Israel and our Diaspora communities – our schools, synagogues and community centers; our way of life.

The biggest threat we face is apathy. With all due respect to Mr. Ahmadinejad, the fact is, we’re the only ones who have a say in whether the Jewish people will survive.

It’s not a job for the fainthearted. The people who have been given this job before include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Once again, for the first time since the age of the Prophets, our fate is in our hands.

Judging by the people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, we can all feel secure about the future of the Jewish people.

Thank you all.

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