Article: Oakville Beaver
By Julia Le

Zak Ebrahim, YMCA Community Breakfast for Peace keynote speaker and author of The Terrorists Son: A Story of Choice

Zak Ebrahim, YMCA Community Breakfast for Peace keynote speaker and author of The Terrorists Son: A Story of Choice

A childhood amid terrorism was all Zak Ebrahim knew.

He was only seven years old when his father shot and killed a leader of the Jewish Defense League, and 10 when his dad helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York while in prison.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in 1993, Ebrahim’s family spent years moving around hiding from their identity; haunted and persecuted by the crimes of his father.

Ebrahim, author of The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice, will share at the annual YMCA Community Breakfast for Peace Nov. 19 how he stopped hiding from his past and resolved to dedicate his life to promoting peace.

As keynote speaker, he will tell his powerful story of a boy who was presumed to follow in his father’s footsteps and a man who chose a different path.

It will take place at the Oakville Conference Centre off Wyecroft Road from 7-9:30 a.m. Tickets cost $25 or $220 for a table of 10.

Sponsored by the Oakville Beaver, the event will also award the 2015 YMCA Peace Medallion to a youth, adult and group who have made a difference in Oakville.

It’s part of YMCA Peace Week, Nov. 14-21.

During the week, YMCAs across Canada will host events and activities to help people explore peace from personal, local and global perspectives. YMCA will be asking people to “Build community. Act for peace.”

In Oakville, it will host a number of activities focused on inspiring empathy and kindness.

The YMCA Candlelight Walk for Peace, with special guests Julia and Emma Mogus from Books with No Bounds, will take place on Nov. 16 from 6:45-8:30 p.m. at the Peter Gilgan Family YMCA on Rebecca Street. The event encourages residents to take a short walk through the neighbourhood and reflect on what peace means to them. New school supplies will be collected to help the Mogus sisters in their mission to help First Nations youth.

Be Kind Bells will be distributed to participants of the Walk for Peace. More than 500 of these hand-made chime bells have been decorated by children and youths in YMCA programs and will be hidden in the community as a reminder to spread some kindness. If you find one, you’re encouraged to share where you found it over social media. You can then keep it or hide it for someone else to discover. Use the hashtags #BeKindBell and #YMCAPeaceWeek.


Photo by Graham Paine — Oakville Beaver

Be Kind Bells

Crafty people of all ages were encouraged to roll-up their sleeves and help make clay discs that will be fired, then painted and hung from more than 500 Be Kind Bells that will be hidden around Oakville as part of YMCA Peace Week (Nov. 14-21).

The craft event ran 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Peter Gilgan Family YMCA in south Oakville. Mom Laura Costantiello helps her daughter Alina Feitz,4, roll out the clay and use cookie cutters to make the discs in various shapes.

YMCA is also encouraging people to do a random act of kindness and post it to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #30seconds4peace. YMCA staff, its Just the Guys program participants and participating high school students will get the ball rolling by doing one, simple, selfless task for someone else and then giving that person a #30seconds4peace card in hopes they will do something nice for someone else and pass the card along. An act of kindness is an act of peace – in just 30 seconds you can do something to spread kindness that can ripple to others.

Other events during the week include Yoga for Peace. Participants of all of the YMCA yoga classes will be given a free “Bring a Friend” pass for future use.

Other events include Yoga for Peace. For more information, visit