The Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR ADVANCEMENT OF INTER-RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Fellow Manitobans – thank you for joining us today as we celebrate a Manitoban who has dedicated his life to sharing his faith and his understanding with others.
I would like to welcome you to Government House, here in the heart of Treaty One land, home of the Anishinaabe and the Red River Metis people, in the capital of a province that is home to the Cree, Dakota and Dene people. Here and throughout Manitoba, we are working to advance understanding, healing and reconciliation and build a better home for all.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Advancement of Inter-Religious Understanding was established in 2011 to recognize a Manitoban who has worked for greater understanding and harmony between people of different faiths.
This award recognizes work that has brought together different religious communities in Manitoba and beyond.
Every year since the establishment of this award we have seen just how timely it is – for Manitoba, for Canada and for the world.
Interreligious understanding is especially important now, as our province and our country work toward reconciliation. How can we understand the harmful legacy of past actions or see the path to a better future, if we lack the ability to see the commonalities among the many faith traditions in our world?
The search for meaning, for community and for ethical guidance is truly a universal one, and it is an ancient search, as archaeological artifacts show us. Burials from 130,000 years ago suggest that even our evolutionary cousins, the Neanderthals, were interested in questions of purpose and reverence for the sacred.
But it is too often also a search that divides us into believers and unbelievers, into defenders and enemies of the truth.
With that in mind, the committee overseeing this award each year puts out a call for nominations seeking people who have dedicated themselves to advancing harmony and understanding and who have shown a breadth of understanding beyond their own religious tradition.
It’s encouraging to know that there’s no shortage of worthy candidates in our province, which is home to so many thriving religious communities.
Today’s presentation will be no exception. I know Bill Weissman for his warmth and his ability to bring people together.
As you will hear — his service as shames or lay clergy at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, his work as tour guide, cultural ambassador and public educator, his leadership role in Holocaust commemoration and education – these contributions and more demonstrate his long and deep commitment to understanding and harmony.
Congratulations Bill on this well-deserved recognition. And to all of you, thank you for participating in this celebration and in helping bring searchers and seekers together in your own way.