97-year-old immigrant to Israel awarded 'Aliya Pin’

Renowned activist and philanthropist Kurt Rothschild honored by Bnei Akiva youth movement.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Kurt Rothschild
Kurt Rothschild
Shimon Ohana

Ninety-seven-year-old Kurt Rothschild, who made aliya to Israel several years ago from Canada, received the official Bnei Akiva ‘Aliya Pin.’

Rothschild was given the honor at a ceremony last Thursday which was attended by hundreds of young people and alumni of the World Bnei Akiva youth movement, all of whom made Aliya over the past year.

A long-time Jewish activist and noted philanthropist, Rothschild is president of the Canadian Zionist Federation, board chairman of the World Mizrachi movement, and a board member of the Yeshiva University, Jewish Federation of Toronto, the United Israel Appeal of Toronto, Bar Ilan Universitty, and Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

Rothschild gave an inspiring speech explaining the reasons for which he and his wife Edith decided to make Aliya at their age. “It’s a mixture of wanting to be here, identifying with our people, our country, and ending our lives, at some point, here in Israel. But for you, life has only started and I greet you for your idealism for the manner in which you settled down here.”

“You are youngsters; I was born almost 98 years ago. I was forced out of Germany where I was born, first to go to England, from England to Canada and now after 75 years in Canada - we’ve ended here, my wife and I,” Kurt said, sharing his family history. “We have children here, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and we are gratified every day of our life that we made this choice, and I wish you and hope for you that you too will never regret the day that you made the move, that you will be gratified of being here together.”

“Indeed Israel is the center of the world. A small country, embattled from all sides and in the news of the world almost every day. To walk the streets of Jerusalem is a special privilege, and really unbelievable how we [are] - threatened by Iran, by Syria, by all Arab countries, by the Palestinians – managed to build up a country in such a remarkable, incredible way. In our prayers we say every day how beautiful this country and how it’s ours, but we have to work for it; it doesn’t come free of charge, it comes through effort […] the Jewish people have lost in our days, in my days, almost six million men, women and children [and] will only continue to exist if we work for it, if we help [in] building up this country, if we are loyal to each other and loyal to Israel, this country.”

The ceremony was held as part of the Aliya Day party of the Alumni of the World Bnei Akiva movement, directed by Ariel Chesner, and in cooperation with WeWork on Jerusalem’s King George Street. Singer Avi Ganz, who is a contestant on the fourth season of “The Voice,” performed at the ceremony. Roi Abecassis, secretary-general of the World Bnei Akiva movement, noted that “Kurt moved us all. He showed us that Aliya is not the end but only the beginning, of the hard work that every immigrant must do as they find their way in the building of this land, in these days as in past days.”