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Bernie Farber

Human Rights Advocate, Executive Director Mosaic Institute

A proud fighter for human rights, Bernie Farber is one of Canada’s leading experts on minority and human rights, race relations and antisemitism.

For over a decade working for the Youth Services Bureau and the Children’s
Aid Society in Ottawa, Bernie specialized in assisting at-risk youth and battered women. After moving to Toronto, Bernie made his mark with the Canadian Jewish Congress, where he worked on human relations issues for over 25 years serving the last seven years as its CEO.

At Congress, he was able to take his passion for community and social work to a broader stage, becoming a champion of inter-ethnic cooperation and social justice. Always one to fulfill his local responsibilities, however, Bernie has served on several local and provincial boards including as Chair of the North York Committee for Community Race and Ethnic Relations, the York Region Community Safety Committee and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

He was appointed by the Attorney-General of Ontario to serve on the Hate Crimes Community Working Group and was awarded an Ontario certificate of merit by the Premier of Ontario for his work in Race Relations.

Bernie has also been awarded the Canadian 125 Medal by the Governor-General of Canada for his work in race relations, and has recently received the prestigious Meir Medical Center’s Medal of Honour for his human rights work in Canada and internationally.

Bernie has led numerous workshops on anti-discrimination issues; has been involved in training police, defence and crown attorneys on matters of hate crime, bias and inter-ethnic/faith sensitivities. An accomplished speaker and author he has written for numerous Canadian and international publications on human and civil rights including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post and a host of magazines and other publications.

Bernie has also appeared on television and radio both as a spokesperson for the Jewish community as well as an expert on anti-discrimination issues.
Making Sure Holocaust Survivors' Stories Get

Making Sure Holocaust Survivors' Stories Get Told

As a son of a Holocaust survivor, I have always felt an awkward responsibility to be the bearer of my father's memory. Awkward because I understood how difficult it was to put his tragedy into words. In a short unthinkable time the survivors among us will be gone.
05/27/2013 05:29 EDT
Justin Bieber Deserves Kudos for Anne Frank 'Belieber'

Justin Bieber Deserves Kudos for Anne Frank 'Belieber' Comment

Bieber deserves kudos, not censure for opening his world to the memory of a young girl who herself was fascinated by Hollywood stars, music and poetry. That her life was cut short because of murderous racism is the real tragedy. That Justin Bieber is telling her story should give us heart.
04/22/2013 05:38 EDT
Canadian Jews Can and Will Vote with a Social

Canadian Jews Can and Will Vote with a Social Conscience

B'nai Brith Canada's Frank Dimant insinuates that there's something "new" about Canadian Jews taking an interest in Aboriginal issues, child poverty and social housing.These matters have been part of the "Jewish agenda" here in Canada ever since Jews began to immigrate here more than 100 years ago. It's not even "new" to B'nai Brith Canada.
04/10/2013 08:52 EDT
Why We Can No Longer Call Canada an Advocate for Human

Why We Can No Longer Call Canada an Advocate for Human Rights

With little fanfare, Canada was scolded last month by both the United Nations and Amnesty International over its human rights record. Yes you read this correctly -- Canada. The two areas that attracted the most attention by the UN/ Amnesty International human rights experts were Canada's record when it came to refugees and internally the manner in which we continue to discriminate against our First Nations people. As Canadians we consider ourselves to be open, honest -- a welcoming society. Yet for those from afar struggling to build a new life and for our First Nations right here struggling to change their lives for the better, that openness rings very hollow.
02/01/2013 12:25 EST
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Jewish Santa

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Jewish Santa Claus

When I was a child growing up in Ottawa in the 1950s and 60s, ours was one of only a small number of Jewish families in the city. We inescapably got enveloped by the Christmas spirit. I still recall my parents' sardonic smiles the year I came home to announce that I would be playing Joseph in the school pageant. That same year, I decided I would sit on Santa's lap at Frieman's department store. Turns out Santa was none other than Moishe Gorinsky, a Jewish friend of my father's moonlighting that season as a department store Claus. It was a sobering experience for a 9-year-old, to be sure.
12/25/2012 12:21 EST
Decades Later, Mercury Still Poisons These Native

Decades Later, Mercury Still Poisons These Native Reserves

It was estimated that between 1962-1970 over 9,000 kg of mercury had been poured into the Wabigoon-English River system. More than four decades later the effects of mercury poisoning persist. Scientists examined 160 adults from Grassy Narrows and White Dog reserve. Over 33 per cent were diagnosed with the disease and a total of 58 per cent were still affected in some way by the mercury.
12/10/2012 05:24 EST
The Boss Performs a

The Boss Performs a "Mitzvah" For An 11-Year-Old Girl

Last week in Hamilton Ontario at the Copps Coliseum The Boss played arguably one of his most frenetic concerts that lasted his usual three hours plus. It had all the ingredients one would expect at a Springsteen gathering.When The Boss hit the stage the crowd went wild; a typical Springsteen concert with a unique exception; 11-year-old Grace Mahler.
10/28/2012 05:00 EDT
A Decade of Deaths Under a

A Decade of Deaths Under a Bridge

In summertime, the lazy McIntyre River, a tributary of Lake Superior, is a picturesque waterway that meanders through Thunder Bay's George Burke Park. However for 15-year-old Jethro Anderson; Curran Strang, 18; Reggie Bushie, 15; and Kyle Morrisseau, 17 -- all First Nations high school students -- the river was to be their final resting place.
10/15/2012 05:42 EDT
The Man Fighting Hate Speech Without Parliament's

The Man Fighting Hate Speech Without Parliament's Support

On October 2, the Federal Court of Canada found S13 of Canada's Human Rights legislation dealing with hate on the Internet to be constitutional. A key key figure who utilized S13 to help defend ethnic and faith minorities against toxic speech is a friend and a person I consider a hero, Richard Warman. Sadly instead of gratitude Warman was victimized for his efforts.
10/05/2012 08:09 EDT
As Yom Kippur Nears, So Do My Memories of

As Yom Kippur Nears, So Do My Memories of Treblinka

It's the time our New Year rolls around followed by the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. For me, my thoughts are laced with tears, confusion and questions about humankind. It is the time I think of my father's family -- all but him murdered in the gas chambers of the Treblinka Death Camp. It is a time I recall my journey to that place.
09/24/2012 07:28 EDT
How A

How A "Weasel" Turned a Libyan Arms Dealer Into a CIA Mole

A book has been written about him. He has cavorted with mafia bosses, terrorists, smugglers, murderers and thieves. It is even believed that he knows the final resting place of Teamsters' boss Jimmy Hoffa. Marvin "the Weasel" Elkind, a petty thief, little-known pro boxer, born in Jewish Toronto, shunted through foster homes ending up in reform school has a story that reads like a Hollywood gangster movie.
09/22/2012 11:21 EDT
Before You Compare Something to Hitler and

Before You Compare Something to Hitler and Nazis...Don't

Godwin's Law states, if an online conversation goes on long enough, invariably the argument will include a Nazi or Adolf Hitler comparison. Just this week Ontario PC MPP Jim McDonell was forced to apologize when he compared legislation involving the ORNGE controversy and its alleged secrecy to the manner in which the Nazis operated. Falling back on Hitler and the Nazis only tells us that the person lacks both imagination and sensitivity -- but it happens all too often.
09/12/2012 07:58 EDT
The Italian Garden That Overwhelms and

The Italian Garden That Overwhelms and Inspires

Last week I had the pleasure along with a few other journalists to see exactly how Tony Loschiavo and his executive chef they utilize their 3000 sq.ft garden in the ethnic enclave of the Bathurst manor to produce fresh food delights that make the palate dance with joy. Located a short walk from the Bathurst Paese, the organic garden overwhelms you at first site.
09/07/2012 11:49 EDT
Flying Over the Fifth Largest Glacier in the

Flying Over the Fifth Largest Glacier in the World

A true highlight of our trip was a helicopter journey to the Herbert Glacier, North America's 5th largest ice field covering over 1500 sq miles and it wasn't without its heart-stopping excitement.It was a cool crisp 10 degrees Celsius late summer morning in Juneau with patches of blue sky.
08/29/2012 04:23 EDT
The Perils of

The Perils of Pauline

One would hope that the days of politically motivated religious discrimination are far behind us. Yet the disdain and intolerance demonstrated so avidly by Pauline Marois threatens to bring us back to darker, more foreboding times. Along with the other vestiges of bigotry appearing today, can it be that the accepting, multicultural national we have worked toward in the last number of decades has been for naught?
08/25/2012 08:09 EDT
Go North to an Alaskan

Go North to an Alaskan Adventure

Alaska is simply an adventure waiting to happen. Unlike many other places below the 48th parallel, Alaska is rough, tumble and untouched. From its majestic mountains that house the tallest peak in North America, Mt. McKinley to its sweeping glaciers, fjords wildlife and rugged trails and rivers you cannot help but be swept up by its splendor.
08/17/2012 11:43 EDT
What One Canadian Olympian Is Doing

What One Canadian Olympian Is Doing Now

As our attention is turned to the London Olympics, this column heralds a Canadian Olympic champion from 2008. Why would anyone, even a Canadian gold-medal Olympian, want to row across the Atlantic Ocean? But that's exactly what Adam Kreek and three other athletes want to do this December with no one spotting them!
07/31/2012 03:51 EDT
Giving a Murderer Freedom is an Insult to His

Giving a Murderer Freedom is an Insult to His Victims

Two years ago Craig Munro, a convicted murderer, was granted unescorted temporary passes from his minimum security prison in B.C. Apparently he was found with cocaine in his system upon return from his last day pass. As we reflect on the sad almost unbearable events that led to his incarceration, I think we can all be excused if we choose to side with the victims and hope that our parole board continues to deny Craig Munro his freedom. That would be true justice.
07/27/2012 12:31 EDT