Dedication Speech

The Ted and George Manson University Student Program

This evening, we celebrate the dedication of the Ted and George Manson University Student
Program at Beit Midrash Zichron Dov. We are very pleased to have with us Mrs. Lily Manson,
the wife of Ted z”l and the mother of George z”l, two remarkable individuals taken from us
before their time many years ago. Ted and George are lovingly remembered by those, including
myself, who were privileged to have known them and to have been touched by their special
human qualities.

Like my own parents, the Mansons were natives of Hungary who suffered grievous losses during
the Holocaust and came to Canada after the War, determined to rebuild their shattered lives.
Likeable, intelligent, and resourceful, Ted and Lily succeeded in creating a positive new reality
for themselves in this unfamiliar land, making friends and becoming integrated into the
community. Ted was a talented and hard-working businessman who established a flourishing
building supply company and invested in rental apartment buildings.

The Mansons’ only son George and I were good friends, as were his parents and mine. George
was exceptionally bright, an outstanding student at the Associated Hebrew Schools, and he
enjoyed a wide range of interests and hobbies. Unfortunately, he fell ill in his early teens. At
first, he had difficulty walking, but the disability gradually spread throughout his body. Basic
functions became increasingly challenging, yet his cognitive abilities were not affected at all.
With great determination and effort, George continued to excel at his studies, working at home
until he simply could not go on. So eager was he to just be one of the guys, that he pushed
himself to continue playing soccer when it was so obviously enervating. In the process, he
gained the everlasting admiration of his school-mates. George departed this world before he was
able to graduate with the very first class of the experimental high school program at Associated,
which eventually became the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto.

Not long after George’s death, his father began to display similar symptoms, to the dismay of
those around him. But like his son, Ted was a fighter, striving mightily to overcome his
disabilities. His mind as clear and active as ever, he continued going to work every day with the
help of a specially configured wheelchair and speaker-phone. He refused to court pity,
maintaining his positive outlook, cheerful demeanor, and sharp wit right until the end.
Mere days after the death of Charles Krauthammer, who did not let his paraplegic condition get
in the way of his becoming a celebrated public intellectual and syndicated columnist, one cannot
resist drawing comparisons at the most basic human level. Ted and George Manson were an
inspiration to all who were fortunate to know them, exemplifying the indomitability of the
human spirit in the face of adversity. It is particularly fitting that their memories will endure
through the University Student Program bearing their names, as it is the young people setting out
to build their lives who embody our hopes for the future.

Lily Néni, my honourary Hungarian aunt, is an extraordinarily dignified, modest, and refined
lady, averse to drawing attention to herself. She implored me not to make a big fuss about her
this evening. I hope she will forgive me for asking all of you to join in expressing our heartfelt
appreciation for her wonderful gift. Thank you very much!