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The Jews of Thessaloniki: Where Did They Go?

Black and white historical photo of two men with round hats and cloaksThursday, November 23, 2017

Doors open: 1:00 pm, Program 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Guest speaker: Belinda Keshen
Before 1939, there was once a thriving Jewish community in Thessaloniki, Greece that dated back 2000 years. Learn about their fascinating history, their vibrant culture, how they disappeared, and what is left of their legacy today.

Drop-In: $5.00 (Includes refreshments)
During this program, participants will learn about the thriving Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, Greece before 1939. How many Jews lived in Thessaloniki at that time? What happened to them? Where did they go? What does the Jewish community of Thessaloniki look like today? This lecture will be facilitated by, Belinda J. Keshen,

A woman leans against a wall and smilesBelinda Keshen is a second generation Jewish Greek survivor, and is the Principal of the Downtown Jewish Community School, which is housed in the Miles Nadal JCC. Belinda has more than 25 years of experience in Jewish educational programming, activities, and leadership in supplementary schools, synagogues, day schools and summer camps. She is a graduate of the concurrent Jewish Education program at York University and has her certification as a Principal from the Jewish Day School Principal Certification program. Belinda is qualified as both an English and Hebrew teacher and as a Primary Specialist. She recently received a Graduate Diploma program between the Jewish Studies department at York University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Belinda’s approach to Jewish practice and life is pluralistic and she celebrates the diversity of our traditions. She is trilingual, speaking Hebrew, French, and English fluently. Her professional career has included many roles. At Temple Emanuel in Toronto, Belinda taught pre-confirmation and confirmation classes and led Israel trips. She has also worked within the conservative movement at Beth Jacob in Hamilton and was the Education Director for Camp Ramah and United Synagogue Day School. Most recently over the last seven years, she was Director of the Centre for Diverse learning at the Posluns’ branch of Associated Hebrew Day School, in addition to her responsibilities as the Vice Principal for the branch overseeing both Judaic and Secular studies programming. She has used art, music, and drama as essential components of her curriculum which has allowed her to engage Jewish cantors, artists, and performers as educators.

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