Thursday, 31 May 2012

Record Breaking 2012 Spirit of Hope!

(L-R) Panelists James Carville and Karl Rove, Spirit of Hope Co-Chairs Judy and Paul Bronfman, Panelist Governor Mike Huckabee, Moderator Gloria Borger, and President and CEO of FSWC Avi Benlolo  

With more than 2000 guests and a record breaking $2.5 million raised to support FSWC efforts to promote tolerance, social justice and human rights, Spirit of Hope 2012 was a smashing success! This year’s Spirit of Hope Gala located at the AllStream Center on the grounds of the CNE included a riveting panel debate between Republicans Karl Rove, the former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush alongside past Republican Presidential Candidate Governor Mike Huckabee versus Democrats James Carville, political pundit and regular commentator on CNN and Donna Brazile, political strategist campaign manager columnist author and CNN contributor. The debate was moderated by CNN’s Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. 

Over 1200 guests attending the Major Gifts Dinner (the biggest dinner crowd to date!) had the opportunity to watch a  private concert performed by Kim Mitchell and participate in the special Award Ceremony in honour of L.Gen Charles Bouchard (Ret'd), recipient of the Order of Canada for his role as leader of NATO's military campaign in Libya (on  behalf of Canadian Forces), while more than 2100 guests attending the main presentation Panel Debate were ushered into the ballroom by the HMCS YORK Marching Band, a part of our own Canadian Army. 

The main topic of the evening was whether or not the world is a safer place under President Obama. Audience members not only watched the debate take place but each had the opportunity to contribute their opinions via text to the polls that were displayed on the various screens as the debate progressed. After over 2000 votes the final tally was 51% to 49% who felt the world is not a safer place since Obama took office.

In fact, it was Stephen Harper that was the true winner that night. Huckabee’s comment on the continuous support of Stephen Harper for Israel was answered by the audience with a standing ovation.

Spirit of Hope 2012 was truly a night to remember!

Thursday, 17 May 2012



Toronto School Board pulls permit of east end madrassah pending the investigation of York Region Police into antisemitic hate in curriculum

A local Islamic school cannot use a Scarborough public school for weekend classes until police have wrapped up their investigation into anti-Jewish teachings, Toronto’s public board has decided.

The controversy over East End Madrassah’s curriculum has also prompted the board to promise a review of its permit process “in the very near future” and make the rules clear to groups that rent out space, said Jim Spyropoulos, co-ordinating superintendent of inclusive schools.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

In the Hands of Canadian Youth, the Future Looks Good

‘The Younger, The Wiser’ 

by Avi Benlolo in the Huffington Post

Young people really do know it all. They are optimistic, enthusiastic and passionate about making the world a better place.
Their reflections were magical at the first annual Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center's Speakers Idol. My Co-judges, Sarah Taylor of MuchMusic and Rick Campenelli of ET Canada, were overtaken with enthusiasm by the honesty, conviction and the remarkable world view of the 17 finalists who competed to be FSWC's Speaker Idol of the year.
To make the world a better place, many of the students believed one needs to start with oneself. They recalled the age-old wisdom that the central pillar of transformation is self-awareness. Ghandi's famous assertion to be the change you want to see in others was invoked time and again.