connections 2015 offers the opportunity to hear from some of our most prominent and inspiring speakers from around the world.
keynoters and special profiles
the honourable professor irwin cotler, m.p., p.c., o.c.
irwin cotler is a member of the canadian parliament, emeritus professor of law at mcgill university, and former minister of justice and attorney general of canada. he is vice-chair of both the standing committee on justice and human rights and the subcommittee on international human rights, and is justice and human rights critic for the liberal party.
a constitutional and comparative law scholar, prof. cotler has extensively litigated the canadian charter of rights and freedoms – including landmark cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, women's rights, minority rights, and war crimes justice. he is the recipient of numerous awards for his work in peace and human rights, including the order of canada, for his pioneering work in peace law and human rights advocacy. he is co-founder and honorary chair of the inter-parliamentary coalition to combat antisemitism and previously led the canadian delegation to the stockholm international forum on the prevention of genocide.
session presenters & speakers
rabbi grisha abramovich (belarus)
rabbi abramovich is the head rabbi of the religious union for progressive judaism in the republic of belarus and since 2011, the rabbi of the sandra breslauer “beit simcha” center in minsk. a native of minsk, he started his jewish journey 20 years ago as a member of the youth group of the reform congregation simcha, which today is widely considered the largest jewish religious community organization in belarus. rabbi abramovich, who received his rabbinical ordination at leo back college in london, in 2003, is involved in 70 percent of all bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies in the country, conducted in seven belarussian cities. he is also a musician, and co-founded the minsk cantorial festival in the 2005. he was, one of the rabbis to start jewish- catholic dialog in minsk in the 2007. he and his wife, irina, who is the minsk jcc educator, have three children.
isidoro abramowicz (argentina)
isidoro abramowicz was born in buenos aires and has completed his major studies with major in piano at argentina’s national conservatory „carlos lopez buchardo“, parallel he studied lyrical singing and choir conducting and decided to move to germany to continue his musical training. after some years working as ba'al t´fillah in communities from north germany he moved to berlin to study chazzanut at the abraham geiger college as scholarship holder from different jewish institutions. in israel he studied at the hebrew union college in jerusalem under the regular supervision from eliyahu schleifer and in the tel aviv cantorial institute under the supervision of naftali hershtik. parallel he completed a masters in jewish studies at the university of potsdam, presenting his thesis titled "der frankfurter kaddisch: ein liturgisches kalendarium", in english "the frankfurt kaddish: a liturgical calendar" with analysis and unpublished transcripts about liturgical music of that city's main river. in recognition of the high grades he has been endowed with the ability to conduct a final study tour to south america, including communities of argentina, chile and brazil, where he held two lectures in the festival “lashir benefesh” for chazzanim and ba'aleh tfillah.