Front Line: August 25, 2023

August 25, 2023


< Back to News Room

A Note from Michael Levitt

Summer Paves the Way for an Impactful Year Ahead

Astonishingly, having now entered the final week of August, the dog days of summer are already soon to end, as students, parents and teachers prepare for the school year ahead. At FSWC, our educators are heading into a jam-packed year of programming, including daily workshops and events that will once again educate and empower tens of thousands of students.

Over the past two months, I’m pleased to report, we’ve been busy organizing and implementing a series of impactful educational programs and initiatives that have reached far and wide. Locally, our team delivered Holocaust and antisemitism education to young people and professionals through summer school and camp workshops - which included testimonies presented by Holocaust survivors - and collaboration with community church and corporate institutions. At the same time, we hosted two major educational trips. These consisted of our inaugural Wiesenthal Campus Advocacy Fellowship journey to Israel for university student leaders and our annual Compassion to Action program for Canadian professionals, which included visits to Poland and Israel to learn about the Holocaust and the Jewish state - past, present and future. Participants in both programs came away inspired and empowered to be advocates for human rights including the fight against antisemitism and other forms of hate.

As summer transitions into fall, we are gearing up for an even more meaningful school year. Recognizing the importance of equipping youth and adults alike with the knowledge and tools to combat hatred, FSWC is preparing to roll out an array of educational programs and initiatives. Earlier this week, we announced our September 7 session of our new Allyship Conversation Series, the first of several webinars we’ll be hosting in partnership with other communities in Canada. The upcoming event will feature voices representing the Jewish, Asian, Black and LGBTQ+ communities who will discuss the latest Toronto hate crime statistics and how we can all be better allies in combatting hate.

Meanwhile, scheduling is underway for FSWC’s many antisemitism education sessions we’ll be delivering to an array of Canadian institutions, including law firms, corporations and non-profit organizations. All of this in addition to the hundreds of workshops we have scheduled for students and educators, including on our specially equipped Tour for Humanity buses which will be travelling throughout Ontario and the west coast this year, and our annual events - Freedom Day, Speaker's Idol and International Holocaust Remembrance Day Education Conference - for which preparations are in full swing.

As students and educators eagerly prepare for the new school year, FSWC's commitment to delivering enriching educational programs ensures the lessons of history remain a powerful force for positive change in our society. I wish you a happy and safe rest of summer and look forward to the very busy year ahead.

And just one last thing: Stay tuned for an exciting announcement we’ll be making soon in connection with our upcoming Spirit of Hope gala taking place on November 2 in Toronto.

Shabbat Shalom,

Community Update. FSWC launches Allyship Conversation Series

FSWC launched registration yesterday for the first webinar of our Allyship Conversation Series, in partnership with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, the Federation of Black Canadians and Egale Canada. The panel will unpack the most recent hate crime data in Toronto and discuss how vulnerable communities can show allyship during this critical time.

Join us on September 7 at 7 PM EDT for an insightful conversation.

Register Here

This week, FSWC and Ben-Gurion University Canada hosted five exclusive screenings of the film Golda in Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Montreal and Vancouver. Members of the team had the opportunity to join the Toronto screening, experiencing the powerful film starring Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, which spotlights the former Israeli prime minister and her leadership during the complex and destructive Yom Kippur War. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Dan Panneton, Director of Allyship and Community Engagement, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the Goyim Defense League encouraged their audience to spread their leaflets and it was a matter of concern that individual Canadians were consuming and then deciding to spread American neo-Nazi propaganda.

“The bigger problem is the growing presence of far-right Canadian groups and networks that don’t need the GDL’s encouragement,” he added.

Read Article

Yesterday, FSWC hosted a final farewell to Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, our former Director of Policy. We appreciate all the work she’s done here at FSWC and wish her all the best in her future endeavours!

Education Update. Tour for Humanity heads back on the road on September 13

The FSWC education team held a team training day this week. The day was spent reviewing updates to policies and procedures with different student programs that will be offered, discussing strategies to handle difficult questions from students and finalizing edits to the student workshops that have been reviewed over the summer. The team is excited and ready to get back into classrooms across Canada!

Our Tour for Humanity buses are wrapping up their final days of maintenance in preparation for the year ahead. Both buses will start the school year on September 13 – one in Maple, Ontario with a group of elementary students in the York Region District School Board and the second in Midhurst, Ontario with a group of Simcoe County District School Board students, and later in the day the board’s trustees.

Important dates for education programs in the year ahead:

  • September 20, 2023 – Freedom Day
  • November 27, 2023 – Tour for Humanity 10th anniversary celebration
  • January 28, 2024 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day Education Conference
  • May 16, 2024 – Speaker’s Idol

The education team hopes to see you at these events in the coming school year!

Spotlight on New Books

Highlighting recently published non-fiction and fiction involving subjects related to the work of FSWC

Truth Telling: Seven Conversations about Indigenous Life in Canada
By Michelle Good
HarperCollins Publishers, 232 pages

A collection of personal essays woven with personal testimony, Truth Telling examines a wide range of issues that have shaped the difficult Indigenous experience in Canada. From racism, broken treaties and cultural pillaging to the importance of Indigenous literature, this collection presents a revealing look at an important part of Canadian reality, present and past. It exposes myths underlying Canadian history and the human cost of colonialism, showing how it continues to underpin certain social institutions in contemporary Canada.

Michelle Good is an advocate, activist and award-winning novelist of Cree ancestry and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree nation in Saskatchewan who has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations for 30 years. In Truth Telling, she explores with sobering clarity the contradictions of a country where the issue of human rights often has pride of place, but has long tolerated and perpetrated discrimination against its Indigenous population. The book’s title makes one think of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which the Canadian government established in 2008. The Commission educated people about the shameful history and legacy of the church-administered residential school system, (set up by the government between 1831 and 1996) and shared and honoured the experiences of former students and their families who suffered terribly during this dark chapter of Canadian history.


Simon Wiesenthal Around the World


French Mayors Follow Wiesenthal Request in Closing Antisemitic Shows

2023 FSWC Sponsors

Chai Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Fred and Linda Waks and Family