Premier Couillard helps honour Goldbloom family

Premier Philippe Couillard speaks, as Jonathan Wener, Michael Goldbloom, Sheila Goldbloom and Amal Elsana Alhjooj look on.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was among many participants in a gala event last week honouring the Goldbloom family for their longtime community involvement.

The honourees were Victor, wife Sheila and their children Susan, Michael and Jonathan.

The Temple Emanu-El-Beth-Shalom event was planned before the death this past February of former D’Arcy McGee MNA and Commisioner of Official Languages Victor Goldbloom, the family patriarch. Sheila Goldbloom pointed out that the family decided to proceed with the event.

Couillard told a large audience at the Westmount synagogue that he had to be present to express the grief of his government, MNAs and Quebecers as a whole at the loss of Victor Goldbloom, as well as gratitude for his achievements.

Couillard praised Goldbloom’s support of inclusion and diversity, including his interfaith dialogue efforts as CEO of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews and his deep involvement with the Montreal Jewish community

“But he went beyond that,” the premier added. “He also built bridges. This is even harder than making a great speech about inclusion and diversity, when you tell the other person ‘I want you to be part of me’ and “I want me to be part of you.’ These words of inclusion are so important today — we hear so many words of rejection, hatred and exclusion in our world, that we need people like Victor Goldbloom and others to carry this message.”

The temple’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, said the Goldblooms are “a family that knows what it means to take responsibility for the betterment of our society and our world.” Victor Goldbloom was president of the temple.

Jonathan Goldbloom paid tribute to his mother Sheila and praised the support she received after her husband’s death. Tribute was also paid to Sheila and Victor by Amal Elsana Alhjooj, a Bedouin, now Director-General of the International Community Action Network at McGill University.

Sheila Goldbloom, a social worker and volunteer for numerous organizations over the years, said her husband would have been pleased that funds raised at the gala will support dialogue and human rights events.

“Victor and I would have been married for 68 years in June,” she pointed out. “I miss his love and companionship.”

Other speakers included Rabbi Emeritus Leigh Lerner, Susan and Michael Goldbloom and business leader and philanthropist Jonathan Wener, co-chair of the tribute event.

On hand were Israeli Consul-General Ziv Nevo Kulman, former federal Liberal leader and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, former McGill University chancellor Gretta Chambers, D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, Westmount mayor Peter Trent and Côte des Neiges-NDG mayor Russell Copeman.

According to a temple announcement, funds raised from the event “will be used to support the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Annual Symposium for Social Action, as well as educational speakers.”

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