by Sharon Bookhalter
(AJNEws) – The Jewish National Fund of Edmonton (JNF) is excited to announce that the 2020 Negev Gala honouring Odette and Professor Jacob Masliyah OC, AOE will take place on August 27, 2020 at 7 PM MDT. This year, the Negev will be live-streamed to allow all registrants to enjoy the event from the comfort of home!
Since 1954, the Edmonton Negev Gala has provided an opportunity for the Jewish community to gather to recognize deserving members within the community and to support the important work of the JNF. The tradition continues this year with a unique Negev Gala production designed to allow the community to gather socially yet remain physically distanced.
The 2020 Negev Gala promises to inform, entertain and inspire. This year’s event will showcase the experiences of Jews who were compelled to leave Arab countries. To Canada’s good fortune the Masliyahs, who spent their formative years in Iraq, brought their considerable talents to Edmonton.
Jacob Masliyah was born in Baghdad, Iraq, the youngest child of a family of eight. He left Iraq to pursue his undergraduate education at University College London. In 1964, he immigrated to Canada where he obtained his graduate degrees. In 1977, he joined the University of Alberta and, over his 40+ year career, was renowned for his work in bitumen extraction. Jacob is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of Alberta Order of Excellence. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and International Member of the US National Academy of Engineering. Jacob served on the board of the Talmud Torah including a term as president. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Odette Masliyah née Ishayek was born in Baghdad, Iraq. She attended Shamash school learning Arabic, French, English and Hebrew. As hostilities towards Iraqi Jews heightened, she and her family were smuggled out of Iraq in 1969 via the Iraqi-Iranian mountain range, settled in Israel, and eventually immigrated to Canada. After moving to Edmonton in 1977, Odette taught French and Hebrew part time. Subsequently, she joined the Edmonton Talmud Torah teaching Hebrew. Odette invigorated the Talmud Torah Junior Congregation and she is a frequent Torah reader during Shabbat services at Beth Shalom Synagogue. She served on the boards of the Beth Shalom Synagogue, Drop-In Centre, and the Edmonton Jewish Film Festival.
The Negev Gala supports the important work of the Jewish National Fund. Proceeds from this year’s Negev will help to construct the Beit KKL JNF Canada House of Excellence in Sderot, Israel. This important project will provide educational enhancement opportunities for students living in the periphery of Israel. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar in Israel by Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL).
Registration for the 2020 Negev is now open and can be accessed online at JNFEDMONTON.CA