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March 23, 2012   


Support a Great Cause! Buy your Spirit of Hope Tickets Today!      Click Here to for Online Registration 





Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center offers our condolences

to the family and friends of the victims of this week's horrific shooting in Toulouse, France.  


Toulouse victims 


Please see story "What are the Lessons of Toulouse?" by Rabbi Abraham Cooper at the bottom of this newsletter   





. . . Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who has been named the 2012 Canadian DiversityBill Blair Leadership Award winner by the Diversity Business Network. Chief Blair, who was a member of FSWC's first "Compassion to Action" educational Holocaust mission to Europe, will be honoured today for the successful implementation of diversity strategies in the Toronto Police Force.


"I'm very pleased to see Chief Blair's commitment to equality and diversity has been recognized and rewarded," said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC). "His work to ensure the Toronto Police Force is an inclusive and welcoming employer is a model for other organizations to follow."





Thumbs Up

. . . To the administration at the University of Winnipeg for helping defuse the one-sided bias of student run Israel Apartheid Week activities by presenting a balanced alternative. The university scheduled two weeks of programming from February 28 - March 9 focused on various aspects of the Middle East, from the Arab Spring to Iran's persecution of Baha'is, featuring Canadian, Muslim and Israeli speakers.

As one university spokesman explained, "
We at this university are not interested in mere slogans and provoking partisan conflict . . .  we feel that it is important to provide some context and a greater understanding of the complexities of the Middle East as a whole."





. . . In response to this week's slaughter in Toulouse, France, former Spirit of Hope speaker and Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel wrote in 'the algemeiner'Elie Wiesel online, "Our own answer must be concrete and to the point. When we are persecuted, our response must be: We will remain Jewish - and do everything to become more Jewish."






Boycott, what boycott? UK- Israel Trade is booming

By Candice Krieger in the Jewish Chronicle online



The Bomb and the Bomber


By Ari Shavit in the New York Times 



               New FSWC  

Mission to Europe planned for Fall 2012 


"I consider myself fortunate to 

have been in the company of FSWC and especially survivor, Max Eisen,whose personal testimony on site was unforgettable; I am still 
processing the experience." 

  ~Dr. James Lunney, MP
"From Compassion to Action" plans are under way! 

FSWC will be travelling with a high level delegation of Canadians to Poland and Israel from October 21st to October 30th, 2012.  While visiting sites of the Holocaust and learning about the importance of Israel today, participants will have the opportunity to meet and speak  with leading experts in the fields of Holocaust and tolerance education.  
A limited number of spots are available on the program.  If you are interested in joining the delegation please contact Melissa Mikel at (416) 864-9735 x24 or 




with Sgt. Debbie Bodkin

Join us as Sgt. Debbie Bodkin, formerly of the Waterloo Regional Police and a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry for Darfur, talks about her experiences with NATO and the UN in Sudan.

May 2, 2012 @7 pm 
FSWC Tom & Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Center
5075 Yonge St. Ste. 902

To register contact Stephanie Eldridge at 416,864.9735 x 22 or email 


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As Spirit of Hope ticket sales continue to break all previous records and planning for the extraordinary event continues, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center

angelina jolie
Angelina Jolie directs 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'

has designated Monday, March 26 as a day to recognize the generous support of of Spirit of Hope ticket holders, whose early registration has helped us surpass the $2 million mark.


Event registrants are invited to an exclusive screening of the movie In the Land of Blood and Honey, the directorial debut of Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie. Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the 1990's, the film is a romantic drama about two Bosnians from different sides of the ethnic conflict. 


The screening is on Monday, March 26 at 7:00 pm at the Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre at 55 Bloor Street West. The event is free and popcorn and soft drinks will be provided.


Spirit of Hope tickets holders can call Managing Director of Education Melissa Mikel at 416.864.9735 x 24 or email to register. 


CLICK HERE to register for Spirit of Hope  




LA Drama Critics CirclePlaywright Tom Dugan, the star of the acclaimed one-man production 'Nazi Hunter - Simon Wiesenthal' received the coveted 'Solo Performance' award for 2011 from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle earlier this week. 


FSWC is presenting the Canadian premiere of the play in Toronto on April 19; hundreds of students will attend an afternoon performance as part of a educational bloc on the Holocaust, while a second evening show is geared more toward a general audience.

Tom Dugan with award
Tom Dugan with LA Critics award 


FSWC is taking advantage of the prestigious evening event to honour one of Toronto's most innovative  Holocaust educators -  Helena Fine, Founder and Artistic Producer of the Te-Amim Music Theatre.


"FSWC is thrilled for Tom," said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of FSWC. "Our faith in the strength of his performance and the heart of the story is validated by this highly deserved recognition. We are very excited and extremely fortunate that he fit Toronto into his schedule for us!"


Nazi Hunter - Simon Wiesenthal premiers at 7:00 pm on April 19 at the Toronto Center for the Arts. Tickets are $75 & $50 for Spirit of Hope ticket holders. To purchase your tickets today contact Stephanie Eldridge at 416.864.9735 x 22 or email 





The recent integration of smart technology into FSWC's Tom and Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Center has enhanced the classroom learning experience through the introduction of interactive Voice Response Cards. The addition

Students with voice response cards
High School students at an
FSWC Workshop show off
the new Voice Response Cards
of these audio-response button-type cards allows workshop leaders to target a wider variety of learning styles, promotes greater class participation and enhances the interactivity of our multimedia social justice programming.


"Students can now respond to questions throughout our workshops with the click of a button," says Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of FSWC. "Even shy or hesitant students feel empowered to 'speak up' and we've had a great response from schools and teachers since its implementation," he added.




An FSWC Community Event on Holocaust Education drew a full house to the Tom and Anna Koffler Tolerance Training Center this week. The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Holocaust survivor Max Eisen, who provided audience members- many of whom had never met a Holocaust survivor, a first person understanding of the Shoah.

In Our Time
David DiMauro & Max Eisen


"We had a life altering experience attending the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. Personally witnessing Holocaust survivor Max Eisen share his experience with us was not only educational, but changed the way we viewed this horrific time in history," explained David DiMauro, a teacher from the Toronto Catholic District School Board who brought a group of night school students studying Leadership to the program.


"This experience left us with feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, depression and a heightened social consciousness that will hopefully spur us to act as upstanders and not bystanders' during injustice," DiMauro commented. 



By Rabbi Abraham Cooper on

Fox News logoIn the aftermath of the world's first recorded cold-blooded murder, G-d admonishes Cain in the Bible: "The voice of your brother's (Abel) blood[s] screams out from the earth." Commentators struggle with why 'blood' is referred to in the plural. Perhaps the Bible is teaching that every murder creates a ripple effect that impacts far beyond the scene of the crime. 


Twenty-four-year-old Muhammad Merah is now dead. He was accused of murdering three French soldiers last week because they served in Afghanistan and who executed four key "enemies," a young rabbi, his two small kids and the 10-year-old daughter of the principal of a Jewish school to revenge the death of Palestinian children.


The authoritative MEMRI monitoring group identifies Merah as a French-Algerian who spent time in jihadi training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. Merah, who claims to belong to Al Qaeda, appears to be a member of the French Al-Qaeda branch Fursan Al-'Izza ("The Knights of Glory") an extremist group seeking to impose Sharia law on secular France.


What lessons should we learn from the latest streams of Abel's blood? Here are the major lessons:

: The atrocity in Toulouse has rocked France to its core. 

President Sarkozy and his senior cabinet members have done everything right from the moment after the shocking murders in a school courtyard-- including the dispatching of Foreign Minister Allen Juppe to accompany the Jewish victims to their burial in Israel.

Clearly, the atrocity has rocked France to its core. 


There is a silver lining here. If what happened in Toulouse leads to serious action perhaps the poll numbers that identify one-in four Frenchmen as anti-Semitic can finally be reduced.

Changes on the socio-political level in France are also needed.  


Perhaps this incident will be a wake up call. -- There is no justification to allow a so-called "anti-Zionist Party" to operate in the political mainstream. 




Jerusalem -The Simon Wiesenthal Center today noted the passing of former Sobibor death camp guard Ivan Demjanjuk in Germany at age 91, while awaiting an appeal of his conviction for accessory to murder for the deaths of the Sobibor inmates murdered while he served at the infamous Nazi death camp from March toDemjanjuk Service Record September 1943.

In a statement issued today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that the length of the Demjanjuk case, which began in the United States in the late seventies and continued initially in Israel and later back in the US and then in Germany, unfortunately might have raised some doubt as his role during World War II, but there was never any doubt as far as the Center was concerned, that Demjanjuk had been an active participant in the implementation of the "Final Solution," the Nazis' plan to annihilate European Jewry.




Stacey Starkman

Communications Manager

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies  

416.864.9735 x 32


PLEASE CALL 416-864-9735