Diabetes Canada named Gerri Klein as Diabetes Nurse Educator of the Year, 2020, citing Klein’s dedication and passion for her work. For three years, rain or shine, she led a noontime Walk the Walk program for patients living with diabetes; she often makes home visits to vulnerable seniors afflicted by the condition and has accompanied patients to smoking cessation clinics, psychologist and psychiatrist visits, as well as support meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon visits.
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The board of directors of the Kehila Society of Richmond has announced the appointment of its new political liaison, Zach Segal, effective this month.
Segal grew up in Richmond, attending Richmond Jewish Day School and Steveston High School. He then studied political science at the University of British Columbia and the University of London.
Following university, Segal worked in Ottawa for four years as a political advisor under the last Conservative government. Today, he can be found working at Vancouver-based Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
As a strong advocate for community involvement among Jewish youth, Segal has spoken to schools and Jewish youth organizations about political activism and community involvement. He and his family have a long history in the Lower Mainland and within British Columbia’s Jewish community, dating back to his great-grandparents. He is an active member of the Jewish community and a longtime member and volunteer with CIJA, CJPAC and a variety of other outreach Jewish community organizations.
The board looks forward to Segal assisting in the continued growth of Kehila’s Richmond Jewish community and the community at large. He is a passionate and strong advocate who is ready to roll up his sleeves to make a real difference.
For more information, contact the Kehila office at 604-241-9270.
Annette Whitehead has spent her life helping others.
Annette Whitehead – who turns 80 on Nov. 17 – continues to devote herself to helping others. Born in Winnipeg, but raised since infancy in Vancouver, her volunteer career started with her being a candy striper in her teens.
Over the years, Annette has served in myriad capacities for various organizations. Her only absence from local community work was during her three-and-a-half years of living in Sweden, immediately after her marriage and the birth of her first child, a son, Sidney.
Upon her return to Vancouver, Annette gave birth to her second child, a daughter, Sally. Together, Annette and her husband Jacob (z’l) raised their children and, thanks to Annette being a “stay-at-home mom,” she also raised half the neighbourhood’s children, who made the Whitehead home their meeting place. To this day, many of her children’s friends, now with children of their own, keep in touch with her via Facebook and Skype, still addressing her as “Mrs. Whitehead,” as they did when they were kids.
Throughout her years as the anchor of her family’s home life, Annette took on babysitting, both as a source of income and on a volunteer basis for families in crisis. Once both her children went off to university and on to successful careers in finance and law, Annette started accepting home-stays, overseas students who were visiting Canada to master English. She hosted home-stays from 1993 until 2014. Many of the students have kept in touch with her and consider her their “Canadian mom.”
Sadly, Annette became a widow 13 years ago, but she has retained a busy life. These days, she enjoys spending a great deal of time with her two granddaughters, Raya and Lilah. As well, she holds positions on the boards of several organizations and participates in volunteer activities on an almost daily basis.
Annette is a trustee on the board of Jewish Women International, B.C. chapter (JWI-BC), and is co-chair of JWI-BC’s Noah’s Ark Project, which provides rear-facing infant car seats to 17 hospitals, organizations and institutions in the province, for working poor and refugee families, as well as several Ministry of Children and Families offices. In her co-chair position, Annette serves as a JWI-BC chapter liaison with social workers at several hospitals with respect to the delivery of the car seats and other baby items, as needed.
Every year since its inception by JWI-BC in the 1980s until the program was terminated last year, Annette was one of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day volunteers at BC Children’s Hospital, delivering refreshments, snacks and homemade baking to doctors, nurses and other hospital staff, as well as to the parents of young patients. Annette still sends out e-announcements to JWI-BC’s membership – congratulatory messages on births, engagements, weddings and achievements, as well as speedy recovery wishes and, sadly, condolences.
Annette currently sits on the Kitsilano Community Centre’s board, as well as on the seniors board and the seniors committee. As the goods and welfare secretary, she has volunteered for a number of years to send out get-well cards via standard mail to senior members.
At Kerrisdale Community Centre, Annette sits on the senior board and also volunteers as a photographer for special events. Her pictures have been published as part of the centre’s advertising – on the cover and inside the community-wide seasonal program schedules published twice a year. In addition, she volunteers in setting up for special luncheons.
Annette is a past board and committee member for both the program and youth committees at Marpole Community Centre. For many years, she volunteered at the centre’s yearly Marpole Festival Days, working with children and their families, as well as taking photographs for in-house publication.
In the past, Annette has served as volunteer treasurer, both for JWI-BC chapter and for David Livingston Elementary School’s parents committee. For a number of years, she volunteered as a library assistant – at McBride Elementary and Vancouver Technical schools – and also helped slower readers at several Vancouver schools with their reading skills.
Maintaining her interest in health-related activities, Annette volunteers yearly for the Vancouver Sun Run and the HBC Children’s Hospital fundraising run, and has worked in registration, childcare and catering positions for both charities. For several years, she volunteered for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon, leading patients recovering from strokes on neighbourhood walks, with the purpose of improving their ability to walk and talk.
Wishing Annette the happiest of birthdays and thanking her for all she has done for the Jewish and general communities. May she live until 120.
Newcomer to Vancouver and longtime National Council of Jewish Women of Canada member Rachel Ornoy, left, cheers the Purse Project volunteer gang on.
Members of National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Vancouver section, under the guidance of Cate and Jane Stoller, stuffed purses with cosmetics, toiletries, comfort candles, chocolates, gift cards, pyjamas and other useful items on the morning of Sept. 27 for partner agency Atira Women’s Resource Society, a not-for-profit organization committed to the work of ending violence against women.
Thank you to everyone who dropped off purses, helped fill the bags and collect their contents – more than 100 purses were delivered to Atira. Also thank you to Jane Stoller for putting together the hostess table with coffee and Timbits. It was a lovely pre-Kol Nidre morning mitzvah and it was great to have a socially distant visit with our NCJWC Vancouver friends.
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This year’s Project Isaiah campaign required Jewish Family Services (JFS) to change the way it looked at the traditional food drive. From Sept. 8 to Sept. 29, JFS ran its very first virtual community food drive, ending with a COVID-19-safe drive-thru drop off.
Despite the needs being greater than ever – more than double compared to last year – this year’s Project Isaiah campaign has been the most successful food drive in the past 10 years. Thanks to donors, the Jewish Food Bank will be able to feed 700 clients (up from 450 last year) over the next four to six months; recipients include 175 children and 118 elders within our community.
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Carolyn Digby and Aaron Klein were wed in a romantic ceremony, surrounded by family and friends, Nov. 9, 2019, at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. The couple resides in Toronto, where both are pursuing studies, Carolyn in a clinical psychology counseling master’s program, and Aaron in aerospace engineering, doctorate program.
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The Peretz Centre has appointed Liana Glass to lead the centre’s pnei mitzvah program. The Peretz pnei mitzvah – pnei (faces) rather than b’nei (“sons of”), to reflect a gender-neutral descriptor – is a two-year program in which students meet once every second week for two hours, culminating in a group ceremony. The next intake period is this fall.
Glass, who has earned a master’s of community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia, has considerable experience in teaching and facilitating groups from diverse backgrounds, most recently as a research intern with Vancouver’s Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative.
Glass’s path to secular Judaism was not a straight one. After studying Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute’s summer program in 2017, she found that “Yiddish opened up a secular avenue for me to explore my Judaism and connect with it on a different level. It allowed me to reexamine Judaism in the larger context of my life and as part of my cultural identity. The prospect of helping pnei mitzvah students find that sense of connection through the various subjects we’ll explore in class is extremely exciting.”
“In our search, we indicated that we were looking for a candidate who is dynamic, enthusiastic and firmly committed to secular Jewish ideals and learning. Liana brings all that and so much more. We’re looking forward to working with her and seeing where she’ll be taking the program next,” said David Skulski, Peretz Centre general manager.
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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver elected its 2020-2021 volunteer board of directors at its annual general meeting Sept. 30. New directors, elected for a two-year term, are Hodie Kahn, Shay Keil, Kyra Morris, Lisa Pullan and Stan Shaw. Each of them brings a background of community leadership and past contributions to Jewish Federation.
Kahn is currently chair of Jewish Federation’s Jewish Day School Council, whose work addresses the ongoing enrolment and financial stability needs facing the day schools; she is also a member of the Community Recovery Task Force. Keil is chair of major gifts for the Federation annual campaign and a member of the Jewish Day School Council; he is a past co-chair of men’s philanthropy. Morris is the new chair of the Axis steering committee, which oversees Federation’s programs for young adults. Pullan has lent her fundraising and leadership expertise to Federation for many years, including chairing women’s philanthropy and serving on the board in that capacity. And Shaw has held several leadership roles with Federation; he co-chaired the Food Security Task Force and is now bringing his cybersecurity expertise to the new cybersecurity and information protection subcommittee.
Returning directors elected for a two-year term are David Albert, Bruce Cohen (secretary), Alex Cristall (chair), Jessica Forman, Rick Kohn (treasurer) and Lianna Philipp. They join the following directors who are in the middle of a two-year term, and will be continuing their service on the board: Jim Crooks, Catherine Epstein, Marnie Goldberg, Candace Kwinter (vice-chair), Melanie Samuels and Pam Wolfman.
Joining or continuing to serve on the board are Sue Hector (women’s philanthropy co-chair), Karen James (immediate past chair), Jonathon Leipsic (campaign chair), Shawna Merkur (women’s philanthropy co-chair) and Diane Switzer (Jewish Community Foundation chair).
At its Oct. 14 annual general meeting, the Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society confirmed the society’s board of directors: Rita Akselrod, Marcus Brandt, Jeremy Costin, Michelle Guez, Belinda Gutman, Helen Heacock-Rivers, Philip Levinson, Michael Lipton, Shoshana Krell Lewis, Jack Micner, Talya Nemetz-Sinchein, Ken Sanders, Joshua Sorin, Al Szajman, Robbie Waisman and Corinne Zimmerman. For more information, visit vhec.org/who-we-are/#board.
Patrick McDonald will hand the artistic reins of Green Thumb Theatre to Rachel Aberle in January. (photo from Green Thumb Theatre)
After a distinguished 32-year tenure, Patrick McDonald recently announced that he will be stepping aside as artistic director of Green Thumb Theatre at the end of 2020. After several seasons working closely with McDonald, Green Thumb’s associate artistic director and award-winning theatre artist, Rachel Aberle, will assume the role, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
McDonald has led Green Thumb Theatre since 1988. The theatre organization, which was founded in 1975, tours to schools and other venues across the country and internationally. McDonald’s dedication to placing youth engagement and artistic integrity on an even plane has underpinned the organization’s mission of providing socially engaged professional live performance to young people, regardless of geographic or economic status.
“I am proud of how, as a company, we have stayed to course over the last three decades continuing to create new, engaging and challenging work about the issues young audiences are dealing with,” said McDonald. “ I am especially proud of the number of scripts we have brought forward that are now a part of the growing canon of theatre for young audience scripts produced worldwide.”
As performing arts organizations across the globe face uncertainty and calls for innovative programming, McDonald is confident he is leaving the theatre in good hands, stating: “Rachel Aberle, in collaboration with general manager Breanne Harmon and our current staff, will, without doubt, continue this legacy and meet the current challenges head-on. They are ready, and they will do well.”
Aberle, who made her professional performance debut with the company, has penned two critically acclaimed plays for the organization. Her play Still/Falling, which explores themes of adolescent mental health, premièred in 2015 and has been performed more than 180 times across North America and received a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for significant artistic achievement. The Code, which explores themes of consent and cyberbullying, premièred in 2018 and was recognized with a Jessie Award for outstanding production, the Sydney J. Risk Prize for outstanding original script by an emerging writer, and was included on Tapeworthy blog’s Best of Stage 2018 – selected out of almost 200 shows worldwide. Aberle has held the position of associate artistic director with Green Thumb since 2017.
“I am humbled and honoured to be asked to serve as Green Thumb’s next artistic director,” remarked Aberle, who is a member of the Jewish community. “I have grown up at Green Thumb, under the mentorship and guidance of Patrick McDonald. During these difficult times, I take this role on with a deep appreciation of the complex challenges the company faces. I believe that now, more than ever, young people deserve opportunities to explore the struggles they face on a daily basis. This is the work that Green Thumb has always done, and work that I am excited to continue to do.”
During his tenure, McDonald has commissioned more than 50 new plays from emerging and established playwrights, and has directed more than 75 productions. He has been recognized for his work, including the 2009 Jessie for career achievement and, in 2013, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award. In addition to the school touring program, McDonald established mainstage production partnerships with more than 20 arts organizations nationwide and internationally.
“We are humbled to have worked with Patrick and marvel at his creativity and tenacity in moving youth theatre forward,” said Cheryle Beaumont, chair of the board. “With a long and committed history with Green Thumb and a wealth of experience to bring to her new role, we are most pleased to welcome Rachel Aberle to the position of artistic director this coming January.”
Harmon, said, “Patrick’s long history at Green Thumb has seen him mentor hundreds of emerging artists, administrators and playwrights, offering endless opportunities and truly elevating theatre for young people across the country. He will be leaving Green Thumb with a strong legacy.”
Looking to the future, Harmon, who is also a member of the Jewish community, added, “Rachel is passionate, knowledgeable and a true champion of ensuring young voices are represented truthfully. I look forward to our new partnership.”
Alison Klein has been accepted to the master of arts, interdisciplinary studies, in the faculty of humanities and social sciences at the University of Athabasca. The focus of her learning is disability and how services are offered to persons with disability in Canada. She plans to use her studies to inform her work on The Self Advocate, her podcast featuring people with cognitive disabilities who advocate for themselves.
Following a North American call for submissions and an exhaustive selection process, Jewish Family Services (JFS) in Vancouver has been chosen by the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies for participation in Year Two of the NJHSA Jewish Poverty Challenge, an offering of the network’s Centre for Innovation and Research. The goal of the program is to help NJHSA member agencies better analyze the marketplace, launch and manage solutions, and implement sustainable measures for success to address the many dynamics associated with responding to Jewish poverty.
NJHSA has partnered with Start Co., a venture development consultancy firm based in Memphis, Tenn., with an expertise in launching startup, entrepreneurial initiatives and engaging municipalities, corporations and nonprofits in poverty reduction responses. The team at Start Co. will provide expert consultation assistance as JFS rethinks and redesigns products and services, adjusting assumptions and organization models. Throughout, special attention will be paid to the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery methods.
“We are so honoured to have been selected to participate in this challenge,” said Tanja Demajo, JFS chief executive officer, in a press release. “The demand for our services has increased during COVID-19 and we have had to pivot quickly. Although we have adapted, we are experiencing growing pains. This opportunity through the NJHSA and with Start Co. is timely in helping us address our pain points in an innovative way so we can be more efficient and can operate at a pace our clients are demanding during this crisis.”
Reuben Rotman, president and chief executive officer of the network, added, “The COVID-19 pandemic has even further heightened the critical need for innovative solutions to the challenges of Jewish poverty. With newly vulnerable clients reaching out for assistance in unprecedented frequency, the agencies are challenged to identify new ways of working and new efforts to achieve sustainable solutions for those in need.”
For more than 80 years, JFS has delivered a continuum of social services to individuals and families of all ages and in all stages of life in the Greater Vancouver area; its pillars of support include food security, counseling and mental health, care management, financial aid and home support.
The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies is an international membership association of more than 140 nonprofit human service agencies in the United States, Canada and Israel. Its members provide a full range of human services for the Jewish community and beyond, including healthcare, career, employment and mental health services, as well as programs for youth, families and seniors, Holocaust survivors, immigrants and refugees, persons with disabilities and caregivers.
Dr. Mel Krajden is among those who will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia this year. The announcement of the 13 new appointments was made on BC Day, but the investiture ceremony will be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria in 2021.
Krajden is medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Public Health Laboratory and has made significant contributions to fields of research, including hepatitis, HIV, HPV and, most recently, COVID-19.
With the emergence of COVID-19, British Columbia and Canada needed urgent access to rapid, validated tests for the virus. Under his leadership at BCCDC, and relying heavily on his expertise, Krajden and his team were able to rapidly develop an assay for the province to commence testing in January 2020, weeks before other jurisdictions. Access to this test was an essential element in the management and control of the outbreak and the safety of British Columbians.
Krajden created the world-leading B.C. Hepatitis Testers Cohort, which integrates de-identified data on 2.4 million individuals tested for, or diagnosed with, hepatitis B, C, HIV and TB infections, linked to their corresponding healthcare administrative data since 1990, to create longitudinal medical histories. This cohort has produced influential pieces of evidence that shaped clinical and public health guidelines and policy in Canada and globally. He was instrumental in the development and continued progress of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded Canadian Network on Hepatitis C, a multidisciplinary group committed to developing a national strategy for hepatitis C elimination.
Krajden was one of the key personnel in the STOP HIV initiative in British Columbia. This public health endeavour saw the implementation of acute HIV testing, allowing diagnosis during the most infectious period of the disease, resulting in timely interventions and communication to partners to reduce transmission. This undertaking helped lead to the lowest HIV incidence on a provincial scale in decades.
Krajden also played a pivotal role in global public policy changes in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine dosing regimen and the associated reduction of financial access barriers to care. Similarly, his work with respect to assessing the utility of HPV testing versus traditional Pap smears is expected to contribute to guidelines that will benefit women worldwide.
In his educational capacity, Krajden has the reputation of being a wonderful teacher and valued mentor, training researchers, health professionals and students at all levels. He is known for his willingness to provide input and advice despite numerous other commitments, contributing to the success of others. His dedication further extends into the clinical realm, where he always has patient interests at heart and never hesitates to devote his own time to make a difference in client outcomes.
In appointing Krajden to the Order of British Columbia, it is recognized that, over many decades, he has demonstrated exceptional innovation, leadership and sustained contributions to the province, country and the world. He is a highly respected visionary, scientist and educator who has inspired countless researchers and health professionals with his clinical excellence, dedication and generosity of spirit.
Tamara Micner, Rembrandt Koppelaar, Karen and Jack Micner and Dr. Talie Lewis are extremely proud to announce the ordination of Mimi Micner to the rabbinate. The virtual ceremony took place June 7 from Hebrew College in Boston. Mimi and Talie live in Watertown, a half-hour drive from Mimi’s new position, rab- bi at Temple Beth Torah in Holliston, Mass.
Mimi is the granddaughter of Kela (z’l) and Lito (z’l) Guincher, who are kvelling on the Richter scale above. She is also the granddaughter of Chaim (z’l) and Susie Micner, who are surely enormously proud as well.
Ezra Shanken, executive director of Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, and Rabbi Chalom Loeub, chaplain of Chabad Jewish Student Centre, Vancouver, help with the delivery of seder meals. (photo from Lubavitch BC)
Lubavitch BC had its largest communal seder ever, with more than 1,000 participants. Families in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Burnaby, the North Shore and other areas of the province, enjoyed a complete seder with all the trimmings. And now is the time to say thank you to everyone who made this happen.
Firstly, Rabbi Yitzchak and Henia Wineberg, Rabbi Schneur and Shainy Wineberg, Rabbi Dovid and Chaya Rosenfeld thank Chabad of Richmond and the Community Kollel for partnering with Lubavitch BC to ensure that this project reached the largest number of people; Maple Grill, FortyOne Catering, Miriam Sklar and Lizzy Vaknin for their help with the organization and logistics; Sklar and Meir Jerbi for their help with packing and distribution; David and Diana Benjamin, Ezra Shanken, Glenn Berlow and numerous others for their help with the deliveries; and Rabbi Falik and Rebbetzin Simie Schtroks for coordinating the Langley and Surrey pickups and deliveries.
This project was not easy to accomplish in a short time. Extra amounts of matzah, wine, Haggadot, seder plates and Kiddush cups had to be sourced; ingredients and merchandise had to be purchased; and 1,000 meals had to be cooked and packed under the strict protocols of health and safety during COVID-19. Dozens of heartfelt notes of appreciation were received from members of the community, who shared how the project allowed them to have a wonderful Pesach under these difficult circumstances.
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A program of the JCC Jewish Book Festival, the Western Canada Jewish Book Awards celebrate excellence in writing on Jewish themes and the achievements of authors from Western Canada. The shortlist for the 2020 honours was recently released. The winners were to be announced at a ceremony April 23, but that celebration has been postponed till later in the fall. The nominees are as follows.
The Nancy Richler Memorial Prize for Fiction: Daniel Goodwin (The Art of Being Lewis), Alex Leslie (We All Need to Eat) and Rhea Tregebov (Rue des Rosiers).
The Pinsky Givon Family Prize for Non-Fiction: Allan Levine (Seeking the Fabled City), Naomi K. Lewis (Tiny Lights for Travellers) and Heidi J.S. Tworek (News from Germany).
The Diamond Foundation Prize for Children/Youth: Jackie Mills (Little Synagogue on the Prairie), Ellen Schwartz (The Princess Dolls) and Harriet Zaidman (City on Strike).
The Lohn Foundation Prize for Poetry: Alex Leslie (Vancouver for Beginners), Dave Margoshes (Calendar of Reckoning) and Tom Wayman (Helpless Angels).
The Kahn Family Foundation Prize for writing on the Holocaust: Olga Campbell (A Whisper Across Time), Susan Garfield (Too Many Goodbyes) and Martha Salcudean (In Search of Light).
Dr. Peter Suedfeld with Governor General Julie Payette at Rideau Hall. (photo by Sgt. Johanie Maheu)
On Nov. 21, 2019, Vancouver’s Dr. Peter Suedfeld was among those invested into the Order of Canada by Governor General Julie Payette during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Its companions, officers and members take to heart the motto of the order: “Desiderantes meliorem patriam” (“They desire a better country”).
Suedfeld was invested as an officer of the order. The honour’s website notes that his “groundbreaking research expands our notions of resilience and transcends academic fields. Professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a prolific writer, he is internationally acclaimed for documenting previously ignored positive psychological and physical effects of extreme and challenging environments. His work has taken a critical look at the impacts on humans experiencing polar isolation, space exploration, sensory deprivation, decision-making during international crises, and such traumatic experiences as genocide. He is highly regarded both as a mentor and active member of his community.”
Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Close to 7,500 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the order. Those who bear its iconic snowflake insignia have changed Canada’s measure of success and, through the sum of their accomplishments, have helped build a better country.
Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. For more information about the Order of Canada or to nominate someone, visit gg.ca/en/honours.
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JNF Canada is proud to have completed renovating the infrastructure of the Israeli Scout’s facilities in the city of Ra’anana, to be more accessible for children and youth with disabilities. This project was the focus of the JNF Vancouver 2017 Negev Dinner, honouring the Averbach family.
The Israeli Scouts, Tzofei Tzamid, run programming for more than 80,000 members aged 9-21 (including more than 2,500 with disabilities) throughout Israel. They bring together children and youth from across the spectrum of Israeli society to learn leadership skills and the value of inclusive community, and to enhance their self-image.
A special thank you to Gary Averbach, Michael Averbach and Shannon (Averbach) Gorski, and the entire Vancouver community for taking this vision forward and helping JNF improve the lives of the members of Tzofei Tzamid. To learn more about the project, visit jnf.ca/tzofei-tzamid.
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Rob Philipp has been appointed to the position of chief executive officer of Hillel BC, effective in June.
Philipp’s appointment follows a Canada-wide process engaged by the search committee of the Hillel board of directors, comprised of Gordon Brandt (chair), Eric Andrew, Rebecca Recant, Frank Cohn, Talia Magder, Alexis Pavlich, Rachael Segal and Isaac Thau (board president). Philipp was the unanimous recommendation of the search committee and unanimous choice of the board of directors.
Philipp has a long history with the Vancouver Jewish community, having served on several boards, including 20 years on the board of Temple Sholom and being president of that organization. He participated in the Vancouver Wexner Heritage Leadership Group, which was a selected group of local Jewish leaders that studied and learned together for two years.
Philipp brings a unique and impressive set of experience, credentials and passion to Hillel. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, where he was an active member of Hillel, he worked as a chartered professional accountant. He then developed his career in sales, marketing and management in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, most recently as the chief executive officer of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and as interim executive director of Temple Sholom.
He is known for being a creative and innovative leader, with a warm and strong team approach and a people-first mentality. His experience in developing and executing strategy, program development and delivery, combined with his business, governance and financial acumen, will be tremendously valuable to the continued growth of Hillel based on the strong foundation built by Rabbi Philip Bregman and Sam Heller in recent years.
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The Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver welcomes Jessica Mann Gutteridge as the new artistic managing director of the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre and Chutzpah! Festival. The position was previously held by Mary-Louise Albert, who is leaving after 15 successful years. The JCC thanks Albert for her excellence in service and dedication to the community and the arts.
Gutteridge joins the JCC from Boca del Lupo, where she managed Performance Works on Granville Island. She was also a founding board member of the Granville Island Theatre District. She held positions of managing director and education manager at Carousel Theatre for Young People. Her work as a dramaturg has included new plays for young audiences and playwrights from Shakespeare to Genet to Edwin Sánchez.
She received her master’s in fine arts from the Yale School of Drama’s department of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, and studied directing at Wesleyan University. Born and raised in New York, she returned to the theatre after nearly two decades as a lawyer specializing in advertising and trademark law. At Columbia Law School, she was editor-in-chief of the Columbia-VLA Journal of Law and the Arts. Her nonprofit board work has included serving as co-president of Landmark on Main Street (a performing arts and community centre on Long Island, N.Y.), the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, and the Bayview Treehouse Preschool. She was a member of the 2018-19 Cultural Leadership Program at the Banff Centre in Alberta.
“I look forward to continuing to bring diverse, world-quality artists to present their work to Chutzpah! Festival audiences and to reach a new generation with exciting performances. I am also delighted to steward the Rothstein Theatre as a gem appreciated by professional artists and community members throughout Metro Vancouver.”
The JCC is excited to see Gutteridge apply her industry experience and talents to the management of the centre’s fully equipped 318-seat performance venue, and the creative direction of the Chutzpah! Festival, one of the major art events in Vancouver’s cultural calendar.
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At Congregation Beth Israel’s annual general meeting Dec. 5, several volunteers were recognized. Mazal tov to Howard Mickelson and Keren Gertsman (President’s Award), Lloyd Baron (Board of Directors Special Service Award), Michael Harris (Board Recognition Award) and Lissa Weinberger (Special Service Volunteer Award).
The congregation also welcomed its incoming board for 2019-2020: Helen Pinsky (president), David Silver (vice-president), Heather Sirlin (secretary), Keren Gertsman (treasurer), Lisa Averbach, Anton Bloem, Alexis Doctor, Kevan Jacobson, Lisa Marcoe, Christie Menzo, Dale Porte, Jennifer Wolf and David Woogman.
Dr. Yosef Wosk, right, with Max Wyman, 2017. (photo by Fred Cawsey)
The Yosef Wosk Poetry Initiative at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, which began in 2009, marked its 10th year with a celebratory gathering of artists and poets and with the publication of a commemorative book earlier this year. In addition, the Yosef Wosk Poets’ Corner, along with the adjacent Poet Laureates Garden, was inaugurated on the newly renovated top floor of the downtown central Vancouver Public Library – it was named in recognition of Dr. Yosef Wosk’s decades-long support of the VPL.
Wosk was an early major donor to the redevelopment of the eighth and ninth floors and the roof of the central branch of VPL and was asked to serve as honourary chair of the VPL campaign in 2018/19. The architect for the renovations, as for the library itself, was Moshe Safdie, while Cornelia Hahn Oberlander designed an extensive garden to complement her roof garden that crowns the award-winning structure.
In the library world, Wosk – who has established more than 400 libraries on all seven continents over the past 20 years – was able to fund more than 50 new initiatives in 2018/19, including 20 libraries in remote Himalayan villages and 37 in Jewish communities throughout the world.
As a writer and publisher, Wosk’s work has appeared in a number of publications. Most recently, these include having curated and written the preface for Memories of Jewish Poland: The 1932 Photographs of Nachum Tim Gidal, featuring photographs by Gidal from Wosk’s and the Israel Museum’s collections (Gefen Publishing, Jerusalem and New York, 2019). He also initiated and funded a biography, written by Christopher Best, of Faye Leung, the effervescent pioneer in the Chinese and real estate communities, affectionately known as the Hat Lady (Warfleet Press, 2020).
Wosk’s essay “On the Wings of Forever” was published in the online Ormsby Review this year in collaboration with the Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars. The editor’s preface notes that: “With prose as profound and learned as it is clear and accessible, here Wosk examines and appreciates the role of museums and museum workers in the digitizing modern world. It’s not gloom ’n’ doom. Instead, he outlines what he calls ‘a stirring vision, one of innovative technology on a human scale, heart-centred and soul-sized.’”
In collaboration with the Canadian Museums Association, Wosk helped transform the President’s Award into the President’s Medal; he also commissioned the medal and wrote the introduction in the booklet that accompanies the honorific, which was first awarded in 2019.
The province-wide Max Wyman Award for Critical Writing in the Arts, which was inaugurated by Wosk in 2017, formed an alliance this year with the VIVA Awards (the Shadbolt Foundation), which will begin in 2020.
In academia, Wosk was reappointed this year as an adjunct professor in humanities at Simon Fraser University and completed four years as a Shadbolt Fellow at SFU, where he was recently named a Simons Fellow.
During the year, Wosk served on 11 boards in the Jewish and general communities in areas such as education, medical research, museums, libraries, literature, business and the arts. These boards have included the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Schara Tzedeck Cemetery Board, CHILD Foundation, Museums Foundation of Canada and Pacific Torah Institute. He was also an ambassador for the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale and is completing a second term with the B.C. Arts Council.
Breanne Harmon at the 41st Annual Business / Arts Awards. (photo from Business / Arts)
On Nov. 7, Vancouver-based Green Thumb Theatre, in partnership with TELUS, was awarded the Community Impact Award sponsored by KPMG at the 41st Annual Business / Arts Awards Gala, held at Meridian Hall in Toronto. The Business / Arts Awards recognizes and celebrates partnerships between business and the arts, and profiles exceptional volunteers and leaders in the business and arts community who have made a significant impact on the arts in Canada.
Breanne Harmon (née Jackson) is general manager of Green Thumb. She was born and raised in Richmond, and was an avid and active member of both Beth Israel USY and Vancouver Hillel at the University of British Columbia, where she graduated with her bachelor of fine arts in theatre production and design.
Since 1975, Green Thumb Theatre has been a staple in many schools across Canada. Each year, they tour to hundreds of schools and communities, and bring professional productions to students who may otherwise have no exposure to theatre in their communities. For the past 13 years, TELUS has been a committed partner, supporting Green Thumb in creating and executing relatable, educational, artistically excellent and relevant theatre for young audiences. Throughout this partnership, TELUS has supported the development of plays that address important social issues, including bullying, homophobia, drug addiction, respectful relationships and consent.
“By bringing live professional theatre that addresses social issues youth face on a daily basis directly into their schools, we can continue to reach thousands of youth with our programming each year, making a lasting impact on those who see our plays,” said Harmon.
Green Thumb Theatre is the third theatre company – and first theatre for young audiences and touring company – to be awarded the Community Impact Award. This is the first time Green Thumb Theatre has been recognized by Business / Arts.
Maya Lichtmann (photo from Connect Model United Nations Vancouver)
Maya Lichtmann was selected in May as a Canadian high school intern for StandWithUs, an international organization that educates about Israel and fights antisemitism. She was chosen for the program after participating in a StandWithUs event at King David High School.
Lichtmann, a Grade 12 student at J.N. Burnett Secondary School in Richmond, attended a conference in August at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles with about 100 other high school interns, including about a dozen Canadians. She will join all high school and college interns in January at the same location.
As part of the internship, she recently delivered an educational program to two History 12 classes at her school. She covered the history of the Jewish people, how they came to Europe, the rise of Nazism, the Holocaust, the creation of the state of Israel and the rise of anti-Zionism. While she uses resources offered by StandWithUs, her presentations are developed independently.
“A lot of the presentations that StandWithUs have are catered toward Jewish audiences, because a lot of the kids who are doing the internship go to private Jewish schools,” she said. Because she goes to a public school, and one where a majority of students are of Asian heritage, she developed the presentations for audiences with limited knowledge of the topic. She received entirely positive feedback from a “100% non-Jewish audience,” she said.
Lichtmann plans to make a presentation about LGBTQ+ rights in Israel to her school’s gay-straight alliance, and one about Israel’s role in the international community at her Model United Nations Club, which she led as president last year. She will also be delivering a presentation at a student-run TEDx event.
“I’m very passionate about Israel,” she said. “It’s one of the key factors in fighting international antisemitism because I believe that unity and acceptance of Jewish people has been a struggle for the past 1,900 years, as the Jewish people were throughout the Diaspora, and I hope to continue to help Jewish people feel more accepted within society.”
She added: “My grandfather was in a concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen. We were forced to relocate after the Holocaust, so my family moved to Israel and my father was born in Israel and then immigrated to Canada. But my ties and connection to Israel are obviously still very strong.”
Lichtmann also is on her school’s student council, president of the school’s Women in Leadership Club, youth representative on the board of directors at the Thompson Community Centre in Richmond, and premier-elect of the Richmond-Delta Youth Parliament. She coaches cheerleading and tutors international students in English.
Lichtmann is a daughter of Mandy and Eyal Lichtmann and big sister to Noa and Liel.