Dorothy Nadolny, a community leader and philanthropist who has devoted more than a half-century to organizations and important causes on behalf of Israel and Ottawa’s Jewish community, was the honouree, October 21, at Ottawa’s 2014 Negev Dinner.
The sold-out event, held at the newly renamed Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre), was jointly sponsored by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Ottawa – the traditional Negev Dinner sponsor – and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Nadolny was honoured for her lifelong commitment to the Jewish community here in Ottawa and to the State of Israel, explained dinner chair Stephen Victor.
Victor announced that proceeds from the Negev Dinner were $1,317,000, and part of these proceeds, he said, “will fund world class research in cardio-metabolic care and health” at the Herbert and Dorothy Nadolny Cardio-Metabolic Diseases Research Hub at the Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada.
The other undertaking to be funded from the Negev Dinner proceeds is the Herbert and Dorothy Nadolny Secure Spaces for Ofakim project.
Ofakim – where residents have only 15 seconds to find shelter once a siren has been sounded – is one of the small communities in southern Israel that has been most affected by rocket fire from Gaza. JNF will use the gift to build mobile and permanent shelters for the people of Ofakim.
In her remarks, Nadolny paid special tribute to her late husband, Herb Nadolny.
“Thanks to his successful business,” which she noted was run with his lifelong friend and partner Lyon Sachs, “we were able to give tzedakah to worthy causes in the Ottawa community and in the State of Israel.”
Admitting to “enormous satisfaction” from the contributions she has been able to make to organizations and causes she holds dear, Nadolny said she never imagined she would someday be a Negev Dinner honouree.
“The truth is,” she said modestly, “the many organizations I have been involved in over the past 50 or more years have done more for me than I could ever have done for them.”
The keynote speaker for the evening was American-born historian Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013.
Oren, who peppered his speech with anecdotes about bringing his family to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, and about growing up in New Jersey where his synagogue was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan, said the story of the Jewish people was among the most exciting narratives of all time.
“Our people have survived the most harrowing of journeys,” he said. “We have survived slavery, war, destruction, exile, pogroms and the worst mass massacre in the history of the world. And, yet, we have never once lost our connection and our loyalty to our ancestral homeland.”
Oren pointed out Israel’s emergence as one of the world’s most dynamic centres for education and high-tech innovation and commented on such issues as the peace process and Iran’s quest for nuclear capability.
Peace with the Palestinians will be possible, he said, when the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to self-determination as the Jewish homeland. Iran’s nuclear ambitions – a recipe for Israel’s destruction – must be thwarted, hopefully by a diplomatic solution.