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Jewish Diaspora Festival

The First Annual International Jewish Diaspora Festival will take place on June 10, 2012 in Toronto and online worldwide at www.wix.com/conferencenet/jewishdiasporafestival It is intended to collect, preserve, and disseminate information about the contribution of different Jewish communities around the world to the Jewish and universal civilizations. Many of these communities, which were once flourishing, will no longer exist in a few years. Their respective contributions, however, remain important to the wider Jewish community today. Memorializing the memories of the members of those diverse communities will also serve to explain the origins of Jewish culture to generations that have no personal memory of them. It is also intended that publicizing these contributions may impress upon non-Jewish communities in those areas where Jewish communities are no more that the physical remnants of the now defunct Jewish communities ought to be preserved.
The Ambasador of the State of Israel to Canada will be invited to open the program. Subsequently the program will feature documentaries, diaspora community booth presentations, music performances, theatre plays, dancing, cooking demonstrations, art displays, kids’ activities, crafts, synagogues of the world displays, book exhibits, review collections, photography and stamp collections, market place and food court, draw for a trip to visit community of origin, Diaspora representative Hall of Fame awards, and more.


There is a great need to organize the International Jewish Diaspora Festival as the Holocaust and pre-Israeli independence generations shrink in Europe, North Africa, Asia, South America, and elsewhere. This will promote the preservation of monuments and artefacts of Jewish life in those regions.

The target populations are the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in general and the young especially.

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

The main goal is to strengthen the unity of the Jewish community through understanding of the diverse cultural quilt of which the modern worldwide Jewish community is composed. It is further important to preserve this diversity through explaining to those Jews and non-Jews alike who may believe that Jewish culture consists of only one tradition - in some cases, North American Jews presume that all Jews have a Yiddish speaking background and eat blintzes, while Jews of North African origin presume that Jewish culture consists of Sephardic rituals and foods. Objectives:
The goals are to be achieved by recruiting members of diverse communities to form committees based upon national origin of committee members. Social networking pages are to be created so that other members may find and join the committees. Contacts are to be made with Jewish and non-Jewish cultural institutions from countries of origin. A virtual museum is to be created online where interested parties may deposit photographs, music, videos, and virtual documents for organization by the committees. Another exhibit is to include biographies of exceptional achievers who hail from each nation.

The potential impact is immense. The success of the initiative will be measured by the number and quality of submissions to the virtual museum, by the number of participants in the conference, in social media and physical groups, and by feedback following the conference, and the impact in the mass media.
Based on the enthusiastic response to this initiative, we expect that, in the first year of the conference, at least forty communities will initiate working groups, set up social media networks, and identify well-known members of the community as well as potential sponsors. Speakers are to be recruited to speak to Jewish and non-Jewish schools and university organizations. We aspire to attract all the communities to join.

By preserving and sharing the history of diaspora communities through collective memory we will promote Jewish community cohesion. The new generation will, through the aforementioned programs, become more aware of its roots, and Jewish identity will be strengthened. In this way Jewish unity and understanding and intergenerational communication will be promoted. In addition, awareness about Jewish culture in various diaspora locations could attract members of the Jewish community that are less involved with religious life, but culturally Jewish.

Non-Jews will be more aware about the exceptional contribution of the various Jewish communities to universal civilization, thereby contributing to greater tolerance.

By providing educational information regarding the Jewish Diaspora, we aim to increase interest in volunteer placements and support of those communities through increased interaction with leaders and members of those communities. We will build a reliable network of Diaspora individual volunteers and -serving organizations from North America and will develop innovative methods of providing them with the skills to effectively volunteer in their countries of origin and promote the significance of the contribution of those communities. We will engage various members of the Diaspora to provide dynamic and targeted support to countries of their origin such as artist involvement and Diaspora tourism markets.

Opportunity for Involvement: 

The Six Point Fund Members are encouraged to share their expertise and provide logistic, project management, marketing, fundraising, PR and media networking, strategic planning, networking , and legal councelling and information for recruitment of committee members and donors. Additionally, Fund members may wish to participate in the programs themselves as spokespersons for the communities of their various backgrounds.Technical assistance with respect to the web site design Social media and electronic distribution of conference materials is also welcomed.

Time Frame: 

Many of the activities once initiated will be ongoing
July 2011 - August 2011: Web site (www.wix.com/conferencenet/jewishdiasporafestival) and social media (Linkedin, Facebook, & Twitter groups: jewishdiasporafestival – in progress) initiation.
September 2011 - October 2011: Committee recruitment and organization.
November 2011 – December 2011: Liaison with distant Jewish communities and invitations for online participation. Virtual museum initiation.
December 2011 - January 2012: Physical location arrangements, arrange for equipment and supplies and other logistics as well as initiation of fund raising.
February 2012 - March 2012: Contact vendors
April 2012 - May 2012: Finalize program, advertise event generally
June 2012 - Festival
July 2012 – Dissemination of depository, feedback, survey, assessment
August 2012-June 2013 Planning the 2013 Festival


Initial staff:
Dr. Rosalind Silverman, Dr. Lorelei Silverman, Clifford Falk, J.D., Mario Spataru

Potential sponsoring organizations:
UJA Federation – Arts, Culture, Heritage. Ontario Arts Council. The Ontario Trillium Foundation. Canadian Heritage Foundation. Toronto Arts Council. Canadian Yeshiva, Rosalie & Isadore Sharp. Zukerman Family Foundation. Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation. B’nai Brith. El Al Airlines. Synagogues. Jewish Studies programs at York University and the University of Toronto. Hillel. JUMP. Impact Toronto. Azrieli Foundation. Na'amat. ACMEOR. Israel Embassy In Canada. Other embassies in Canada. Jewish Diaspora Museum. Association of friensdhip Romania-Israel. Association of friendship Canada-Israel. Media partners: Canadian Jewish News, Jewish Tribune, Canadian Immigrant, City TV. Businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. Private donors.

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

Co-founders and co-chairs are Dr. Lorelei Silverman, Dr. Rosalind Silverman, Clifford Falk, JD & architect Mario Spataru. Honorary president Janet Slavin-Klein
Representatives will be recruited from each community, as mentioned above.
Representatives, with the assistance of co-chairs, will recruit members of organizing committees to effect the program related to each national origin.
Confirmed and Potential representatives are:
Algeria- Elyetter Checroune
Albania - Dana Cohen
Argentina- Monica Zalcman
Barbados- Fanny Pillersdorf
Belgium - Naomi Moyano
Brazil-Sarah Juroviesky
Bolivia- Laura Rosenblatt
Canada- Evelyn Yuditsky
Caucasus- Dr. Simon Simand
China- Dolly Beil
Czech Republic- Lenka Lichtenberg
England- Simon Spiro
Egypt- Tzipora
Ethiopia- Judie Oron
Germany- Dr.Ursula Falk and Dr. Gerhardt Falk
Hungary- Vasile Rosenberg
India- Anna Samson, Kenneth Salem
Iran - Shoshana Steel, Yosef Eimani
Iraq- Victor Reubeni
Ireland- Colin Simon
Italy- Raffi Laras
Israel- Moske Kapelnikov
France- Franck Lasry
Jamaica- Shira Shiracki
Lithuania- Blake Teichman
Morocco- Albert
Peru- Molly Neufeld
Poland- Krystyna Lagowsky
Moldavia- Roman Goldstein
Romania- Dr. Lorelei Silverman, Dr. Rosalind Silverman, Mario Spataru
Russia- Jeny Zuchhershtein, Dr. Pliamm
South Africa- Pat Braudo
Scotland- Alan Penn, Elaine Samenoff
Tunisia- Sarah Carlen, Claire Benezra
Turkey- Moiz Behar, Rob Saul
USA- Clifford Falk, Aliza Spiro
Uruguai -Solomon Jurovieski
Ukraine- Rabbi Tina Grimberg
Yemen- Yona Levi
Volunteers consisting of high school and college students, as well as retired persons and any other community members interested, will be solicited.
Secretary Naomi Moyano, Treasurer Mario Spataru, legal adviser Clifford Falk, IT adviser Daniel Falk. Marketing & oversight Dr. Rosalind Silverman & Dr. Lorelei Silverman. External communication Clifford Falk. Visual design Mario Spataru.

Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman have extensive experience in organizing international conferences, such as the Annual International Conference on Models of Human Diseases (2010 & 2011) at the University of Toronto (www.mhdconference.com) , as well as the Annual International conference of the Biology Department at York University (2002 & 2003), numerous academic seminars, cultural events such as artistic direction at the annual Purim production at Beth Tzedec Synagogue in Toronto (2007 – 2011), Jewish Mosaic Festival (2006, 2008), participate in the Jewish Music Week in Toronto (2011), Jewish World at Beth David Synagogue (2009) and many others. For their contribution to science and community they were awarded the 2009 Top 25 Canadian Immigrants together with Adrienne Clarkson and Michaelle Jean amoung others.

Clifford Falk initiated and maintains the Buffalo Jewish Commnity website jbuff.com, and is a founding partner in the law firm Falk & Falk in Niagara Falls, New York.

Mario Spataru is an architect and the producer of Semnalul, the most circulated monthly publication for the worldwide Romanian Jewish community.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

We predict that the online depository of the first festival will be a testimonial that will attract other communities and individuals as well as support in subsequent years. It is expected that volunteers and donors will be eager to continue the conference in subsequent years upon perceiving that the conference has been a success. We will name members of each community honorific titles such as "Sustaining Member" upon receiving predetermined donation levels.

We expect an exponential increase in interest upon demonstrating that the conference is a viable program. More members and donors will be actively recruited through social networks, cultural reviews and other forms of dissemination in subsequent years.

Financial leverage:
We anticipate that the increase in scale will bring with it financial leverage and a more extended and broad program in future years.

The conference is intended to be annual and can have concomitant activities on a smaller scale by local Jewish Diaspora communities.

New and/or innovative:
We know of no other existing or proposed festival with the same theme and structure. There are festivals such as Ashkenaz in Toronto and Sephardic Week in Montreal; however, they do not specifically address the diversity of the varying communities of Jewish civilization. For example, the German community is generally entirely neglected as a separate civilization within the Ashkenazi community, despite a substantially differing culture and history, and entirely different language from the majority Yiddish speaking community, while the Dutch community is generally not noted with respect to Sephardic cultural events. The Mizrahi community once florishing, is now almost forgotten.
The online and local activities in communities around the world will add a global dimension to the initiative and ultimately contribute to the general idea of Tikun Olam.