UJE Showcase a Hit at the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival 2017

Celebrities, food, and finding your roots proved to be a winning combination for the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter exhibition at this year’s Ukrainian Festival in Toronto’s Bloor West Village, held on 15-17 September.  Warm weather drew higher attendance than in any past year and the new UJE exhibition welcomed over 1,500 guests from the festive crowd. A spacious new booth enabled more people to visit the exhibit and read the information panels on display.  Among the most popular panels was an intricate map of Ukraine which provided visitors with an opportunity to locate their family towns, villages, and shtetls.

Other popular informational panels among visitors included the Did You Know? feature,  which showcased famous Jews who had roots in Ukraine. One surprise visitor from a galaxy far, far, away, Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame, conducted his own voyage of discovery at the UJE booth. The parents of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the iconic science fiction character on television and film, hailed from Izyaslav, Ukraine. The informative and crowd-pleasing Culinary Food panel outlined the similarities in the cuisines of both cultures.

The UJE exhibition has been a staple at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival for the past seven years.  This year all three recent UJE publications—Jews and Ukrainians: A Millenium of Co-Existence, The Ukrainian Jewish Encounter: Cultural Dimensions, and Babyn Yar: History and Memory—were featured on display, and videos of various UJE projects ran all day and evening.

Visitors were eager to leave their impressions of the UJE exhibit in a guest book.  One remark summarized the popular response:  “Thanks for helping us to remember our common bonds.”


Text:  Raya Shadursky
Photos:  Raya Shadursky, Ivanna Prots, Krista Hilferink
Edited by Peter Bejger