Stephen Henry Lewis (b. 1937) was born in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, and thus named Shalom by his parents. His grandfather was a member of the Jewish Bund in Russia, while his father was a key figure in the CCF – the predecessor to the modern NDP party. Lewis studied at the University of Toronto where he was a member of the debating team and went head-to-head with notable figures such as future president John F. Kennedy. Lewis also studied at the University of British Columbia. After dropping out from both U of T and UBC, he joined Socialist International and was sent to a conference in Ghana. Inspired by what he saw, Lewis stayed in Africa to work and teach across the continent. Returning to Canada, he became head of Ontario’s NDP, and quickly propelled the party to new popularity, doubling their seats in Parliament to become the Official Opposition. He moved on to be Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, also working as the director of UNICEF, and later a UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Lewis has written a popular book, Race Against Time, based on his experiences in Africa, and chairs the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which works to combat Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. He is also a co-founder of AIDS-Free World. Lewis has received the Order of Canada, the World Citizenship Award, and has been described as one of the world’s “most powerful feminists”. Recently, he has had two schools named after him in the Greater Toronto Area, both called Stephen Lewis Secondary School.
Words of the Week
…any man of all the inhabitants of the earth, whose spirit has moved him and whose mind has given him to understand to set himself aside to stand before God to serve Him, to worship Him, to know God and walk justly as God has created him, and he cast from his neck the yoke of the many calculations that men seek – this man has become sanctified, a holy of holies, and God shall be his portion and his lot forever, and shall grant him his needs in this world…
– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Sabbaticals and Jubilees 13:13)