Ve’ahavta, the Canadian Jewish Humanitarian Organization, Celebrates Starry Nights, the 13th Annual Awards Event Honouring Canadian Humanitarians


Toronto, (October 29, 2015) — Ve’ahavta ( will be hosting the Starry Nights Tikun Olam Awards Ceremony on Thursday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m. at the TELUS Centre for Performing Arts, Koerner Hall 273 Bloor Street West. The 13th annual event will shine the spotlight on local individuals who have gone to extraordinary lengths to serve their communities.

Starry Night’s Master of Ceremonies, Shad, the host of CBC radio’s q, will kick off the evening’s performances. Juno-award winning band Digging Roots and Jaffa Road, Canadian Folk Music Awards 2013 World Music Group of the Year will also perform.

“Starry Nights is a reflection of who we are, our soulfulness, our tenacity in terms of repairing the world and our love of all people. It’s important to recognize the honourees, to show appreciation for their goodness, to honour them as role models and in so doing, encourage many people to do good,” says Ve’ahavata’s founder, President and CEO Avrum Rosensweig.

Built upon the value of tikun olam, a Hebrew term that transcends across many religious and cultural beliefs and defines humanity’s shared responsibility to repair the world, the event is designed to highlight the incredible work of this year’s honourees in the following five categories:

  • Humanitarian: Kathy Laszlo and Susie Sokol – Finding a lack of programs for young people with disabilities as they grew into their adult years, Laszlo and Sokol founded DANI (Developing and Nurturing Independence) which provides opportunities for young adults with physical and/or cognitive challenges to participate fully as valued members of the community and to enjoy a meaningful and dignified quality of life.
  • Emerging Leader: Laura Grosman – At 18, with an indomitable spirit and tenacity, Laura, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, took on an epic challenge to ensure that Canada takes its place among other nations that have already created a memorial in commemoration of the Holocaust.
  • Community Visionary: Dr. Michael Dan – A former neurosurgeon, Dan is the founder of the Paloma Foundation, which in turn, donated millions of dollars to charities in the Greater Toronto Area (with a special emphasis on health, education, and homelessness). In 2014, he and his wife, Amira, gave $10 million to the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health to create the Institute for Indigenous Health, dedicated to improving the health of Indigenous peoples.
  • Lasting Legacy: Hedy Bohm – Holocaust survivor, renowned speaker and educator lost both of her parents during the Holocaust. She now spends much of her time educating young people about the Holocaust and encouraging younger generations to make a better world by standing up against wrongdoing. Bohm was one of 60 Holocaust survivors who joined the prosecution as co-plaintiffs at the trial of Oskar Groening, the “Accountant of Auschwitz.”
  • Bridging CommunityPatti Falus – Founder, President and CEO of Barter Network Ltd., recognized as Canada’s largest and fastest growing barter exchange, Falus is well-known not only for her accomplishments in the business world, but also for her dedication to giving back to the community.

Proceeds from the event will support Ve’ahavta’s poverty alleviation projects including:

  • Ve’ahavta Street Academy, an eight-week skills and career development program in partnership with George Brown College that supports vulnerable individuals to build self-esteem, pursue education, employment and volunteer opportunities, and improve their lives.
  • Briut, a community based health promotion program for Aboriginal communities in Northern Ontario.
  • Mobile Jewish Response to the Homeless, Ve’ahavta’s long-standing outreach van program travels to the downtown core five days per week. Staffed by a professional outreach worker, and supported by hundreds of volunteers per year, the program provides essential supplies and support to hundreds of homeless people in Toronto.
  • The Creative Writing Program, in partnership with the Toronto Writer’s Collective, a series of writing workshops are offered in numerous shelters and drop-in centres around the GTA, providing participants with the opportunity to create community, explore their creative skills and share their personal stories of struggle and triumph.
    For more information about Ve’ahavta, please visit: or call 416 964 7698

    Twitter: @VeahavtaNews #starrynights2015
    Facebook: /Veahavta


    Anne Ptasznik, Interim Director of Communications
    (416) 964-7698 ext 228
    200 Bridgeland Ave, Unit D
    Toronto, Ontario M6A 1Z4


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