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News Release

Groundbreaking teach-in
demonstrates diversity of Jewish opinion

Media Advisory -- November 7, 2005

As the United Jewish Communities holds their annual general meeting in Toronto, another conference called '3D: Diversity, Democracy and Dissent in the Jewish Community' offers a chance to hear alternative Jewish voices.

*What*: A groundbreaking conference called '3D: Diversity, Democracy and Dissent in the Jewish Community.'

*Where*: Metro Hall, 55 John Street (Council Chambers)

*When*: Sunday, November 13th, 2005, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

TORONTO, November 7, 2005 - As the United Jewish Communities (UJC) - an umbrella organization representing 155 federations and 400 independent Jewish communities across North America - meets for their Annual General Assembly (AGM) in Toronto this November, another collection of Jewish groups will be staging a parallel conference on diversity and dissent.

'3D: Diversity, Democracy and Dissent,' is a one day teach-in that will take place Sunday, November 13th on the same weekend as the UJC meeting. Organized by a coalition of Canadian Jewish groups, the teach-in will feature performances, films, panel discussions and workshops on a variety of issues affecting the Jewish community.

"We see this as vital opportunity to amplify progressive Jewish voices for peace and justice so that they can be heard throughout the Jewish world," says conference organizer Sheryl Nestel. "There is a false perception that Jews speak with one voice on every issue. We have organized this teach-in to highlight the diversity of opinion in the Jewish community."

The teach-in is also an opportunity for activists in the Jewish community to get together and strategize around a number of issues including Israel's continuing occupation of Palestinian lands, disability and access in Jewish life, and other issues of diversity in the Jewish community. Workshops and panels include campus activism, morally responsible investment, and Israel's separation wall. "Many Jews are concerned about Israeli policies. Anti-occupation Jewish voices often don't make it into the press," says Nestel. "Here is a chance to hear those voices."

Today, progressive Jewish groups have dozens of regional chapters in Canada and the US and respond to a variety of issues and concerns. (For a list of organizations in Canada and the US, please see visit the
conference website at www.3djewishteach-in.ca)

"There has always been strong progressive sentiment in US and Canadian Jewish communities," says Nestel. "Today, we are seeing an absolute renaissance of progressive Jewish organizing around many issues, including Israel and Palestine. Everyone needs to realize the incredible diversity of Jewish groups and opinions."

For more information and a complete list of activities and speakers, please visit: www.3djewishteach-in.ca

To interview speakers, filmmakers, performers and conference organizers, please contact: Sheryl Nestel at 416-658-3135

Below please find selected speaker biographies.

Meir Amor was born in Israel in 1955 to parents who immigrated to Israel from Morocco. He served in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) for six years and left the army as a Captain in 1979. Meir studied in Tel-Aviv University where he completed his BA and MA in sociology. In 1988 he refused to serve in the Occupied Territories and was jailed for 21 days in a military prison for disobedience. In 1990, he started his PhD at
the University of Toronto. His PhD dissertation is titled: "State Persecution and Vulnerability: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Violent Ethnocentrism". In it he compares two cases of expulsions and two cases of genocide. He is a Canadian citizen of choice. In 2000, Meir started teaching sociology at Concordia University. He teaches racial and ethnic relations, a comparative course on Quebec and Israel, a course on violent ethnocentrism and a course on sociology of religion. Currently he is part of the organizing committee for the 2006 Convivencia conference that will take place in Montreal. The idea behind this initiative -- coming from the Jewish Moroccan community in Montreal -- is to transform Montreal into the 'New Cordova' of the Spanish Golden Age of the 10th to the 12th century. The suggestion is presented to the Canadian society, the Québécois population and to the diverse cultural communities composing Canada, Quebec and Montreal.

Sharon Angel lives in Ottawa where she works as a Senior Officer in the Research and Job Evaluation Branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.Sharon has a particular interest in peace and reconciliation efforts made by individuals and grass roots organizations, especially within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To this end, she is an original member of an Arab-Jewish dialogue group that has been meeting for 3 years. The photographs of Bethlehem and the Separation Wall which will be on display at the Teach-In were taken by her in September 2005 during a 3-day visit hosted by Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian peace organization.

Daniel Thau-Eleff will be performing a selection from his one-man show *Three Ring Circus <www.threering.ca>*. The three "rings," or themes of the show, in addition to those in the title, are the Jewish religion (what does it mean to be Jewish?), Middle-East activism (how is a Jewish Winnipegger connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?) and Girls (those mysterious and enticing creatures!). The play discusses politics, religion, romance, family, email list-serves, dreams, fantasies, sex (or lack thereof…) and how we get along with other people.Three Ring Circus is written from a distinctly Jewish and anti-Occupation perspective. However, its message is universal. Three Ring Circus is, at its heart, a communication between the performer/storyteller and the audience. The audience feels like they are sitting in Daniel's living room, if not right inside his head. Together they gain insight into the thoughts and experiences that we all share, whatever our cultural or political background.

b.h. Yael is a Toronto based video and installation artist. She is Professor and Chair of Integrated Media at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Yael's work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to various educational venues. Her work has also been purchased by several universities. These include "Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging", and the "Approximations" series produced with Johanna Householder. Recent titles a "hot sandfilled wind, Even in the Desert", "sites of solidarity in Israel/Palestine" and "Deir Yassin Remembered" comprise/ Palestine Trilogy <trilogy.html>/, three videos that focus on activist initiatives of recognition. b.h. Yael's videos are distributed by V Tape

Ronnee Jaeger is a resident of both Canada and Israel and is a founding member of Machsom Watch - a women's organization that monitors the behaviour of soldiers and police at Israeli checkpoints in order to
ensure that the human and civil rights of Palestinians attempting to enter Israel are protected

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