From the Desk of Avi Benlolo: This Week at FSWC

March 20, 2020


Dear Friends:

This week, our organization took a unique and gentle approach by promoting inclusivity, caring and compassion. Our team has reached out to Holocaust survivors and our organizational policy has somewhat pivoted to encourage government to provide aid to frontline charitable organizations that assist the most vulnerable. We have commended our government leadership for taking important socio-economic steps to protect Canadians. And we have encouraged our leaders to mobilize industry and deploy resources that can ensure Canada is equipped and prepared with sufficient medical resources and capacity. We are pleased that our leaders announced important measures today detailing procurement and encouraging businesses to assist in national preparedness.

At the same time, through our interaction with police chiefs across the country and health care professionals who are both on the front lines, we have had the opportunity to thank them for their service on behalf of all Canadians. These are difficult times and many incredible Canadians are on the front lines ensuring that our nation runs smoothly and safely each day. We commend them and thank them.

In concert, our advocacy and education teams have continued to work remotely to develop content to assist students and educators through online learning and instruction. We continue to provide educators with resource material and ideas that could be implemented. As we are all adjusting to our circumstance, the team is developing these ideas in concert with technology to continue deployment of our educational programs, to the extent possible. This can go hand in hand with new provincial online learning strategies that were announced today.

In the coming days and weeks, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center will continue to look for opportunities to assist, while encouraging everyone to maintain government directive and social distancing precautions. What lessons can we learn from past human events and tragedies? These are the same lessons we have been teaching thousands of students for the last two decades: be generous, compassionate and kind; volunteer to help whenever possible; don’t be a bystander – take action to make the world a better place. We hope that we have imparted at least some of these lessons on our students.

As it happens, in this week’s Torah portion, we are encouraged to come together as a community to celebrate Shabbat. And while synagogues and most places of worship might be closed this weekend out of an abundance of caution, we can take this opportunity to celebrate the very essence of Shabbat – by slowing down and resting; by spending time with family and by praying and/or reflecting upon the world around us and our place within it. Together we will overcome!

Wishing you and your family good health and well-being.

Shabbat Shalom,


< Back to News Room