This week on Monday, 4th June, 2012, the Vaad Ha’ir of Montreal had the distinct honour of hosting Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, who visited Montreal on behalf of Rabbi David Refoel Banon. Rabbi Banon, who’s a member of the Vaad Harabbanim of Montreal, was recognized by the Centre Sepharade de Torah of Chomedey at a dinner this week, for his service as Rav of the congregation for the past twenty five years.
A lavish lunch was served in the boardroom of the Vaad Ha’ir, which was attended by members of the Vaad Harabbanim of Montreal, members of the Rabbinical Council of Montreal, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Quebec Rabbi David Sabbah, and many other Rabbanim and dignitaries from the city. Rabbi Assayag, a prominent Rabbi from Toronto, flew in especially for the occasion. Also in attendance was the Honourable Joel Lion, Israel’s Consul General to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.
Rabbi Saul Emanuel, the executive director of the Vaad Ha’ir who chaired the event, spoke about the positive working relationship between the Botei Din of Israel and the Montreal Beth Din. Much has been done in the area of Gittin, specifically with regards to relieving the plight of Agunot, thanks to the assistance provided by Rabbi Amar and other Botei Din under his jurisdiction in Israel.
After welcoming the various guests of honour, Rabbi Yonasan Binyamin Weiss, the Av Beis Din spoke about the camaraderie between the various sectors of the community, many of who were represented at the gathering, and how all are working together for Klal Yisroel. The Grand Rabbi Sepharade of Quebec, Rabbi Sabbah welcomed the Rishon Letzion Rabbi and praised the spirit of unity and Achdus that exists among the various Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities in Montreal.
The Israeli Consul General addressed the crowd as well. He stated how heartwarming it was to participate in such an event, attended by Rabbis and community members from across the spectrum of Jewry, working in complete unison whilst in many communities in Israel and around the world, too much focus is put on conflict and disharmony.
Rabbi Shlomo Amar then approached the microphone and gave an impressive Halachic discourse. In conclusion, Rabbi Amar urged all those working in Batei Din to continue toiling for the enhancement of Torah, and to ensure that Halacha is respected in all matters.
It was an uplifting experience for all those who were privileged to attend. The Rabbis leaving the event felt invigorated and encouraged to carry on their work on behalf of all communities.