Community Intelligence Brief: January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023


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Latest News

A Mixed Reality for Canadian Jews

"Amid these dark days, we mustn’t lose sight of the sources of light in Canada," writes FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt in his latest column in the Toronto Star. "We should take a degree of comfort in policies by all three levels of government on hate and tolerance, legislation and protection against discrimination, Holocaust education and commemoration and freedom of worship being a constitutionally protected right. There remains much room for improvement, but the situation isn’t all bleak, even if, at times, it may seem like open season on Jews."

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FSWC Commends Ottawa School Board for Voting in Support of Hiring a Jewish Equity Coach

FSWC is thrilled that the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) unanimously voted in favour last night of hiring a Jewish Equity Coach to help combat antisemitism. A motion to create this position was put forward by OCDSB Trustee Nili Kaplan-Myrth, with some 1,000 people signing a petition from Rise Up Ottawa! in support of the motion, spearheaded by Ottawa teacher Lisa Levitan.

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Holly Trail Sign Goes Up, Ending Puslinch's Swastika Trail Saga

Swastika Trail in Puslinch, Ontario has officially been renamed Holly Trail, with residents waking up yesterday to the new sign. This comes after the township voted last fall in favour of the name change following tireless advocacy from residents, government leaders and organizations such as FSWC.

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Holocaust Educator ‘Passed the Torch of Remembrance’

In a special to the Globe and Mail, Monte Stewart pays tribute to the late Gerda Frieberg, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated her life to advancing Holocaust education, including educating thousands of young Canadians, and serving the community. She passed away earlier this month, leaving her two children, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

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Amazon Removes Some Nazi-Linked Products After Complaints From Jewish Center

Amazon has dropped some Nazi and neo-Nazi sales items following criticism from Simon Wiesenthal Center. Items included a swastika necklace and bracelets, other jewelry, badges and pins featuring Nazi symbols or evocative of them.

“It’s simply not acceptable for the biggest economic giant on the block to play games of Wack-a-mole rather than fix things,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at SWC.

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‘A Treasure of Humanity’: 102-Year-Old Nazi Prosecutor Is Still Pushing for Peace

Ben Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, recently discussed his experience working on "the biggest murder trial in history" and his life afterward, promoting peace and receiving countless recognition for his efforts. In December, he was selected to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor.

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For Israel’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Iranian Death Threats Are All in a Day’s Work

Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, was the first Christian Arab to represent the Jewish state when he began in 2019. Now, Azerbaijan will be the first Shi’ite state to open an embassy in Israel. FSWC Senior Writer and Editor Robert Sarner, who recently visited Azerbaijan - a secular Muslim country where Jews have never experienced hostility or persecution - spoke with Ambassador Deek.

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Report Antisemitism and News of Concern to FSWC

If you would like to report antisemitism or news of concern to Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, please email