GOLDA: A Reckoning

On August 24th, the Federation CJA in Montreal launched its annual fundraising campaign with an extraordinary event. They managed to secure all eight screens of the newly renovated CineStarz Deluxe Cavendish movie theatre in Montreal to host two screenings of “Golda,” featuring the talented Helen Mirren as the iconic Israeli political figure Golda Meir.

The CJA is a central Jewish community organization in Montreal that actively follows the philanthropic tradition from Moses’ Torah, which stresses the duty to “feed the hungry and clothe the poor.” Their website features a powerful video for this year’s #StandUpCampaign, supporting the vulnerable and tackling concerns about antisemitism and Jewish identity.

Golda Meir’s Unyielding Leadership

“Golda” is an enthralling movie that reveals the harrowing narrative of Israeli citizens and soldiers thrust into the midst of a war initiated by Egypt and Syria, quietly backed by Jordan, on the sacred day of Yom Kippur in 1973. The film depicts Israel’s unpreparedness and the existential crisis it faced, with the lives of six million Israelis hanging in the balance. *1

The movie meticulously portrays Meir’s leadership during this critical period. Serving as the Prime Minister of Israel and the designated commander-in-chief, Meir navigated the challenges with unwavering determination. Recently released archival footage from the battlefield provides a haunting glimpse into the atrocities of that historical event. *2

After the war, Golda resigned and faced personal blame for an extended period. Questions lingered about whether her gender or age affected the inadequate preparedness and significant losses.

Golda’s Secret Battles and Sacrifices

The movie reveals new aspects of Golda’s life, including her secret battle with cancer, taking charge of media responses from General Moshe Dayan to uplift public spirits, and grappling with U.S. reluctance to provide arms to Israel. It showcases Meir’s compassion, intelligence, and steadfast leadership in confronting significant challenges.

The film highlights Golda’s true essence, exhibiting her empathy for those around her and her steadfast determination during tough times almost single-handedly. Her leadership style, which emphasizes putting the needs of the state and the people above her own, is a valuable lesson. She guided her nation through a tumultuous period, earning our profound gratitude.

Helen Mirren’s portrayal of the complexities of this character is genuinely compelling. From the opening scenes, her expressive face communicates volumes without words. Her performance deserves an Oscar, making the movie worth the ticket price.

High Holidays: A Deepened Connection

Currently in Israel for the Jewish High Holidays, where our traditions began, the high holiday season deepens our connection to this historic land. From the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul to the concluding moments of the Sukkot holiday, Shmini Atzeret, the “High Holidays” mark an annual reenactment of the pivotal events that unfolded in the desert.

For example, after Moses’ prolonged absence, the Israelites grew anxious and created a Golden Calf to worship, violating the commandments. Upon returning, Moses pleaded with God for forgiveness. God outlined a path to atonement through repentance and prayer, renewing His covenant with the Israelites. *3

This narrative is echoed annually throughout our Yom Kippur prayer services and has fortified our people against adversities such as the Crusaders, the Inquisition, and the Nazi onslaught.

Within the Yom Kippur service, a poignant moment arises during the Yizkor prayer, where we reflect on our departed parents and ancestors. This year, a member of our congregation shared a vivid account of his experiences during the Yom Kippur War, a testament to the profound impact of this historical event.

Yom Kippur War: A Miraculous Tale

Yom Kippur War: From the Beit Midrash to the Battlefield,” a video about the miraculous rescue story, reminds us how our unwavering traditions support us in tough times, emphasizing our national identity as servants of our one God, whom we crown as our only King on Yom Kippur.

In this footage, despite the enemy’s perception that attacking Yom Kippur would confer an advantage, it becomes evident that the day itself may have bolstered our triumph.

A Lesson in Leadership

“Golda” is a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of the Jewish people as they faced immense challenges during this difficult time. Reflecting on this period of history during the Jewish High Holidays, we are reminded of our enduring connection to our traditions and the importance of unity in the face of adversity. The film portrays Meir’s leadership through a deeply personal lens, highlighting the sacrifices she made and the difficult decisions she had to make to ensure the survival of her people. It is a testament to the power of leadership, sacrifice, and the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people.



  1. “The Yom Kippur War: Background & Overview.” Jewish Virtual Library,
  2. Ynet News: Israel declassifies massive archive to mark 50th anniversary of Yom Kippur War.” Ynetnews,
  3. Isaacs, Jacob. “The Golden Calf.”, Kehot Publication Society

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