By Carl Rosenberg
Members of Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver have lost our long-time friend and colleague Carol Pearlstone, who passed away on Jan. 17, 2019. Carol was active in Jews for a Just Peace, IJV-Vancouver, the Canada Palestine Support Network, and the refugee support group of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. She was a long-time member and former board member of Ahavat Olam Synagogue.
Carol was a knowledgeable and fierce advocate for justice. She was a good friend to her many fellow activists, who recall her pushing herself to overcome the physical limitations that she experienced in her later years.
Stephen Aberle, a member of Jews for a Just Peace and IJV, recalls, “Those of us who knew Carol well came to value her prudent approach to organizing: she was a stickler for getting things done carefully and correctly, and in my experience she was generally proven right.”
Stephen recalls Carol using the phrase “peace, love, and platitudes” to refer to the kind of fine words and glowing sentiments–but unaccompanied by real action–which we should avoid, as opposed to the forthright and practical work we should be doing.
I also recall Carol as organized and methodical, always with an end in view. In the early two thousands several members of Jews for a Just Peace had letters published in the pages of the Jewish Independent, Vancouver’s Jewish community newspaper. Carol—or someone—amassed a collection of those letters in a manila envelope. Carol later urged that the letters be kept as part of our history, and asked around to ensure that someone was hanging on to them. At one point, I wondered what the point was—who would want to read these letters? But I later came to see that Carol was right.
David Mivasair, a long-time member of IJV-Vancouver and founding rabbi of Ahavat Olam Synagogue, knew Carol from both groupings. He recalls, “Carol was a devoted partner in the struggle for justice. It took more effort for her than for many of us to continue to go to meetings, to protests, to be active and do her best to make a difference in this sorely hurting world. May her determination and commitment stand as a model for us all.”
Carol further demonstrated her commitment by leaving a generous bequest to IJV, among other worthy organizations.