Rabbi Howard Morrison Awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
Surprise presentation made by MP Mark Adler on Rosh Hashanah
Rabbi Howard Morrison, spiritual leader of Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda synagogue, was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on Sept. 18 by Mark Adler, MP for York Centre, in a surprise presentation during the second day of Rosh Hashanah services.
Adler credited Morrison, originally from Brookline, Mass., for his strong leadership displayed in serving Toronto’s local Jewish community.
“He’s such a mensch and he does so much,” Adler told Shalom Life the following day. “[Rabbi Morrison] spoke in his sermon the day before about silence. He goes about doing such great work and he does it silently. That’s the mark of a true humanitarian.”
Adler particularly noted Morrison’s direction in leading Beth Emeth’s Out of the Cold program, which sees the synagogue open its doors each winter to provide hot dinners and a place to sleep overnight for vulnerable members of the community.
Rabbi Howard Morrison, spiritual leader of Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue
Adler said he nominated Morrison for the award approximately six months ago.
Following a lengthy approval process, which the governor general’s office finalized through the signing of the nomination, Adler made arrangements with the synagogue to announce the honour during a surprise presentation on Rosh Hashanah.
The Conservative MP presented Morrison with the medal after delivering Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Rosh Hashanah greetings to the congregation.
Morrison, who was visibly shocked, thanked Adler for the award and said he was humbled to receive such an honour now that he considers Canada his second home.
Adler called Morrison’s reaction “very emotional” and said he was pleased that Beth Emeth kept the honour a secret.
“It’s Rosh Hashanah, [which is] a time for a new beginning. For him to be recognized, not only by his congregants, but by an MP, the government of Canada and ultimately the Queen, is really good for him, the shul and the community,” said Adler.
“He tries to just make Canada a better place through his actions.”
The award, officially known as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, was created to mark the 2012 celebrations in honour of the Queen’s 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Its purpose is to “honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians… to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada.”
Approximately 60,000 total medals will be awarded throughout the year.