Suri Epstein – Correspondent (Jewish Tribune)
TORONTO – More than 320 people, some sporting dazzling saris, turbans, or kippas, recently participated in an unusual networking event in downtown Toronto.
BINDAAS: Indian and Israeli Fusion, was an evening that brought together Indo and Jewish Canadian young professionals to build relationships and bridge communities. More than 16 Jewish and Indian cultural groups sponsored the popular program.
The event, held at the Tryst nightclub, celebrated Israeli and Indian culture through Israeli and Indian foods, Indian dance, and a concert by the internationally renowned Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthani Gypsies.
“Bindaas is a collaborative effort of Jewish and Indian organizations,” said Dan Hadad, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “The idea was to bring young professionals together to network through music, dance and even food. We wanted to showcase the relationship between India and Israel in terms of high tech, water management, tourism and agriculture.”
“India and Israel are natural friends,” said Bala Radhakrishnan, president of the Tamil Nadu Cultural Society of Canada, one of the sponsoring groups. “We have many similar values as well as sharing concerns on issues such as terrorism.”
Oeishi Bhattacharjee is chair of the Young Professionals Committee of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, said, “For every Facebook message I posted, at least 25 people expressed interest in coming. There was a lot of excitement. The uniqueness of the two cultures combined was fascinating to a lot of people; an Israeli singer with Indian folk musicians.”