Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

June 05, 2007 08:00 ET

FSWC's 'Spirit of Hope' Benefit to Celebrate Tolerance, Justice and Human Rights

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 5, 2007) - Over 2,000 guests are expected at tonight's 'Spirit of Hope' Benefit, the annual gala held in support and solidarity for the important work of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC). Held at the Beth Tzedec Synagogue in Toronto, the gala will mark the largest fundraising event held to date for FSWC. The proceeds of $1.8 million - a 41% increase over funds raised at the 2006 gala and an 80% increase over the year prior - will enable FSWC to continue promoting education around important contemporary issues including racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide.

Keynote speaker at the Benefit is the Honourable Al Gore, former Vice-President of the United States. Master of Ceremonies and TV personality, Ben Mulroney, will be joined on stage by Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Los Angeles) and its acclaimed Museum of Tolerance; and special musical guest Chantal Kreviazuk.

"The overwhelming support for tonight's event is a vote for tolerance, justice and human rights," said Avi Benlolo, President and CEO of FSWC, Canada. "Funds raised will further power our programmes forward and enable us to help foster tolerance and understanding across social and ethnic groups."

The Benefit is Co-Chaired by Alex Shnaider, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Midland Group and Eddie Weisz, President of Paradise Homes. The campaign is Co-Chaired by Howard Kerbel, Director of Kerbel Group Inc.; Jack Steckel, Partner at Capital Canada Limited; and Richard Sacks, Chair of Major Gifts. Among the many prominent supporters of FSWC in attendance will be the Diamond, Koffler, Green, Meyer and Reitman families.

"It has been a monumental year for FSWC," continued Benlolo. "Among our proud achievements have been the recent opening of the Resource and Leadership Training Centre; film premieres in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa; and the Woman of Valour Luncheon in the fall, which attracted over 350 dedicated community members."

FSWC programmes aim to meet diverse educational needs in the community. For example: hundreds have already participated in workshops at the new Resource Centre; a recent theatrical production in Toronto on the Holocaust was attended by 10,000 public school students; and, over 400 Canadian law enforcement professionals and educators have attended the Tools for Tolerance Programmes in Los Angeles.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is an international Jewish human rights organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust by fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. The Center confronts important contemporary issues including racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism and genocide. The Center is accredited as a non-governmental organization both at the United Nations and UNESCO. With a membership of over 450,000 families, the Center is headquartered in Los Angeles and maintains offices in New York, Toronto, Miami, Jerusalem, Paris and Buenos Aires.

Note to Editors:

- Media interested in broadcast and photo opportunities from the red carpet are to contact FSWC by 2:30pm EDT today for further details.

- A photograph from the event will be distributed via CP PhotoNet after 10 pm this evening. Additional photos will also be available for download from http://www.fswc.ca/spirit_of_hope_2007_images.htm

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