Friendship Flourishes Between Toronto's Jewish and Japanese Communities

Japanese Consul General Welcomes UJA Federation-CIJA Representatives

By Howard English--Representatives of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and its advocacy arm, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, recently participated in a dinner symbolizing the blossoming friendship between Toronto’s Jewish and Japanese communities. 

The fully kosher meal, hosted by the Japanese consulate at the official residence of Consul General Eiji Yamamoto, was one of several special events to thank Toronto’s Jewish community for contributing approximately $200,000 to UJA Federation’s relief fund established after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan more than a year ago.

Fund contributions financially supported the humanitarian efforts of IsraAid, a coalition of Israeli disaster relief specialists, many of whom are still stationed in Japan.

The dinner also served to re-establish strong Jewish-Japanese ties that were nurtured after the Second World War when Japanese Canadians had been sent to detention camps, stripped of their citizenship, deprived of their property, and prevented from rebuilding their community. During this time, Jewish community members were among the first to offer Japanese victims of state sponsored discrimination jobs and housing.

Dinner participants will soon be exploring a project to publicize this exceptional Japanese-Jewish connection.

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