Obituaries from page 56
Syrian Jews Savior Meets Israeli President
udy Feld Carr is credited with
finding an escape route for Jews
trapped in Syria over almost
Feld Carr — a musicologist, mother
of six and grandmother of 13 who lives
most of the year in Toronto — says she
secretly and discreetly used money and
connections to help Jews get out of Syria.
On June 18, she was given the
Presidential Award of Distinction by
Israeli President Shimon Peres in recog-
nition of her heroic role in the rescue of
Syrian Jewry. Peres praised her "coura-
geous action and exceptional contribu-
tion to the Jewish people."
Feld Carr smiles when asked why she
was given the prize.
"I was awarded it because I secretly
took out three-quarters of the Syrian
Jewish community by escape routes and
by ransom, and it was the biggest secret
in the Jewish world," she said. "Nobody,
but I mean nobody, knew how I was
Based in Toronto, she devoted herself
to working with smugglers and bribing
government officials to save Jews from
the hostile Syrian regime, methodically
keeping files on each one.
"I started a communication with Syria
at the end of 1972.1 took my first person
out of Syria by ransom — a
rabbi from Aleppo — in
1977; I finished the morn-
ing of Sept.11, 2001, an hour
before the Trade Center
tragedy happened," she
"I was involved with [res-
cuing] 3,228 Jews out of a
population of 4,500 when
I started. Slowly, slowly,
slowly, with a great deal of
difficulty; it was not an easy Judy Feld
thing to do, and I am not
from Syria — I am an Ashkenazi from
northern Canada originally — I figured
out the system."
Her interest in Syria started when
she and her first husband, Rubin Feld,
clandestinely started sending "religious
books" to the country from Canada; and
she was later approached by a couple of
Syrian Jews who came to Toronto to visit
She makes a point of expressing her
gratitude to her home country of Canada
for enabling her to conduct her rescue
operation there without
word getting out to the rest
of the world.
"Canada is another
best-kept secret. I could do
things quietly in Canada
and not be seen by the press
or the media:' she says,
"A lot of my neshamah
[soul] has been in this. I
did this quietly for 28 years,
and I raised all the money
quietly — no dinners, no
parties, no fundraising. All the money
was raised by my best friend and a few
other people on a committee that I had
in Toronto and me."
Asked how she pulled it off, Feld Carr
still cannot tell the whole story, which
apparently involved paying smugglers
to take Jews through other Muslim
countries or paying for their release and
flying them to the United States. But, she
stresses, it was extremely tough.
"Syrian Jews had tried every single
way they could think of to get out: their
own ransoming, other escapes; people
were caught; people were sent to prison.
I was their last resort out of the coun-
try. They found me through a relative, a
brother or a sister or someone in Israel:'
When confronted with the current
bloodshed in Syria, she expresses her
relief that the majority of Jews are now
out of the country, living mostly in the
US, South America and Israel.
"There's certainly a civil war [in Syria],
and as the so-called rebellious side gets
more and more arms, there are going to
be more and more murders:' she pre-
"I know what hell Syrian Jews went
through. I can say to you, thank good-
ness there are only 17 Jews left there, all
older people who did not want to leave:
"I'd hate to think what would happen
from either side if there were Jews left in
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