Friday, April 27, 2007

Vaughan street festival celebrates Lag B’omer and a true Israeli hero

By Daniel Horowitz --
On Sunday, May 6, which is also Lag B’omer, UJA Federation, in cooperation with the City of Vaughan, is sponsoring The Ilan Ramon Street Festival, named in honour of Israel’s first astronaut. The festival – which will run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. - will feature a barbecue, children’s rides, bonfires, an official street naming ceremony and the Fire and Light Show.

The festival will take place on the site of The Schwartz/Reisman Centre at the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus.

The street running adjacent to the campus was recently named Ilan Ramon Blvd.

Ramon, along with the rest of the ill-fated Columbia crew, died in 2003 during the space shuttle’s entry into the earth’s atmosphere.
Following the street-naming ceremony, the public is invited to sing, dance and celebrate along with one of Toronto’s most popular Israeli-style bands, Bais Groove.

“This is such an important event, not only because we will be coming together to celebrate Lag B’omer, but with the help of the City of Vaughan, we will be paying tribute to such a heroic man,” said Bryan Keshen, executive director of the Schwartz/Reisman Centre. “It’s important that our children have Jewish role models and Ilan Ramon is a courageous example of just that.”

The Street Festival will be the first event held at the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus which is located at the corner of Bathurst Street and Lebovic Campus Drive (Weldrick Road). It is an initiative of the UJA Federation Tomorrow Campaign, chaired by Gerald Schwartz and Lawrence Tanenbaum.

When its doors open in 2009, The Schwartz/Reisman Centre will be a 95,000 square foot facility which will encompass a full range of amenities including an early childhood education centre, a sports and recreation facility, an aquatic centre and an outdoor pool. The northern branch of Tanenbaum CHAT (Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto) is set to open its doors in September of this year.

Admission to the street festival is free. For more information, please call 416.631.5727.