COVID-19 isn’t the only global pandemic to worry about; the worldwide increase in domestic violence has been coined a “shadow pandemic” by the United Nations. Globally, an estimated one in three women lives with violence and fear. But the number of domestic violence complaints in Israel, for example, has increased by 800% since the beginning of COVID. True to its mission, Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) is leading the way to empower women by stepping up emergency support and services at this critical time.
CHW strongly believes that every human being deserves the right to achieve their full potential, while living in safety and security. CHW appointed its first chief executive officer, Lisa Colt-Kotler, who is spearheading a transition and new direction for the 100-year-old organization, with a history of support for women and children in Israel and Canada. This summer, CHW is launching a quadruple matching 24-hour crowdfunding campaign and proceeds will help empower victims of domestic violence.
CHW’s summer campaign, S.O.S. – Starting Over Safely, has three priorities for projects in Israel: CHW Youth Villages, which provide a safe haven for at-risk adolescents and supports mental health through a variety of outlets; Essential Kits for Families, which provides the basic necessities needed to help each family start over safely after they leave an emergency shelter; and the Safety Net Program, which will empower women and their children by providing housing, financial help, social and personal support, employment support, and a network of other women in similar circumstances. Safety Net has nearly a 100% success rate of breaking the cycle of violence and preventing victims from re-entering a domestic abuse relationship.
Aug. 24-25, funds donated will be matched three more times by a loyal community of donors recognized as “Matching Heroes.” During the 24-hour campaign, which kicks off at noon in each centre across Canada, each gift donated on the website chwsos.ca will be quadrupled.
And, on Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. PST, CHW is hosting a free, star-studded, 90-minute virtual telethon experience during which viewers will learn more about how to help empower victims of domestic violence. To watch, just click on the link from the campaign website.
For more details, contact Irena Karshenbaum, CHW development officer for Western Canada, at [email protected] or 403-253-4612.
For this year’s Negev campaign, JNF Pacific Region has partnered with ALUT, the Israeli Society for Autistic Children, to renovate Aviv House, one of the first lifetime living facilities established by ALUT. ALUT has built and operates 18 “Homes for Life” in Israel, residences for individuals with autism who require supported living, that allow the residents to become integrated into the community to the greatest degree possible and provide for lifetime care in a family-type setting.
Aviv House (Beit Aviv) was established in 1992 in Jerusalem and the 14 residents have been living there since its inception. Their ages currently range from 35 to 49, and they all require assistance in almost all aspects of everyday life.
The physical house, now well over half-a-century old, is showing its age and has reached the point of risk. For example, the walls are crumbling and the sewage lines are regularly clogged; the building is not wheelchair accessible.
For more information and to watch a video from the campaign’s honorary co-chairs, Penny Sprackman and David Goldman, visit facebook.com/jnfvancouver. You can also contact the JNF office at 604-257-5155 or [email protected].
Israeli actor Shira Haas was the featured guest at the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev’s virtual gala July 7. (photo byShula Klinger)
On July 7, the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev held their second virtual fundraising gala. More than 1,200 participants logged on to the An “Unorthodox” National Virtual Gala event, which raised $850,000 for brain research at BGU’s Zlotowski Centre for Neuroscience.
The Zlotowski Centre is a group of researchers dedicated to finding cures and management tools for neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS and epilepsy.
Months in the making, the virtual gala was the work of a countrywide team of BGU staffers and numerous volunteers. Every participating household in Metro Vancouver received sweet and savoury kosher treats from Café 41. The accompanying gift box also brought olive oil from the Negev, a copy of Deborah Feldman’s memoir, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots (Simon & Schuster, 2012), appetizer dishes and a commemorative cutting board.
Danny Chamovitz, BGU’s president, spoke about the work of BGU’s academics in general, in disciplines ranging from public health to brain research. Canadian Senator Linda Frum conducted the feature interview – with multiple-award-winning actor Shira Haas.
Describing herself as “very, very shy” as a young person, Haas said she had considered psychology or graphic design as professions, until a casting director approached her on Facebook. Sixteen years old at the time, she said, with respect to that first project, “I understood that this is what I want to do, it was like the door to Narnia.”
Haas does not take her success or popularity for granted. “It was always a dream to work internationally, in different languages, for different audiences, but I never imagined it,” she said. “It was always about the work. I am very, very lucky to be in this position.” She added, “My parents deserve to be talked about! They are the most supportive and amazing parents.”
Known for taking on demanding roles, Haas approaches acting in a scholarly fashion. She studied musculoskeletal diseases to play a terminally ill woman in the film Asia, and researched Russian, Yiddish and Charedi culture for the series Shtisel and Unorthodox. She said she finds beauty in hard work, explaining that Asia was “challenging in the most beautiful way. It was a lot of physical and emotional work, and very personal for me.”
When playing a part, Haas said she is motivated by two things. First, she must be passionate about the role because “that’s what brings everything alive.” About Shtisel, she said, “I fell in love with it immediately.”
Her second principle is to portray “subjects that matter to me.”
Haas’s idealism was evident in the way she spoke about Asia. “It’s not really about death,” she said. “It’s about relationships, about appreciating the time we have and what we do with it. The highest form of art is to bring light to the darkness.”
About Unorthodox, she said, “It didn’t occur to me that it is about the Orthodox world. It was just a story about people who want to be loved, their doubts, desires and failures.”
And Shtisel, she noted, had a huge impact on people all over the world. The show helped change people’s view of Orthodox communities, she said: “It’s universal.”
Of her forthcoming portrayal of Golda Meir in her early years, Haas described a woman with “a very interesting life. She was very passionate, with many dreams and desires.”
Since David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir were friends, she laughed, “this event was meant to be!”
Haas spoke of her personal connection to BGU. Her sister studied at the university and a close friend is there now. Haas wanted to participate in the gala for several reasons, including, she said, “I am Jewish, I am an Israeli. I want to keep on doing events like this! I am even more proud to do it for Ben-Gurion.”
As for the brain research being conducted at BGU, which the gala funds will support, there has already been groundbreaking progress. Claude Broski’s group has identified a protein that can slow down the degeneration brought on by Parkinson’s. The social robots developed by Shelley Levy-Tzedek and her team will have an impact on stroke patient recovery – the robots offer motivation, feedback and performance-tracking during the rehabilitation phase. Epilepsy researchers are developing wearable hardware and software that could alert patients to an oncoming seizure, an hour before it happens. And Deborah Toiber’s Alzheimer’s team is exploring questions about brain aging, such as, Why does the disease affect so many of us, when only 5% of cases are genetic?
David Berson, executive director of CABGU, British Columbia and Alberta, said, “It has been very gratifying to see how the Metro Vancouver community has embraced BGU students and faculty in recent years. Many new supporters have stepped forward during the last year to engage with us. We are especially grateful to our community partners, who helped us promote this Unorthodox event.”
Among the many contributors to the gala were board members Jay Eidelman and Si Brown. Rachelle Delaney helped Berson with the goodie boxes at the crack of dawn on July 7, while volunteer drivers delivered the boxes. Adrian Cantwell and I were co-chairs for the Metro Vancouver team.
Shula Klingeris an author and journalist living in North Vancouver. She was Metro Vancouver co-chair of the CABGU gala with Adrian Cantwell.
The annual general meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver took place on June 21. Welcomed were five new directors: Gil Kimel, Dean Lederman, Lana Pulver (chair of the annual campaign), Michelle Pollock (chair of the Israel and global engagement committee), David Porte and Daniel Steiner. They join Bruce Cohen, Alex Cristall, Catherine Epstein (vice-chair), Jessica Forman (chair of the HR committee), Sue Hector, Hodie Kahn, Shay Keil, Rick Kohn, Candace Kwinter, Shawna Merkur, Kyra Morris, Lianna Philipp, Lisa Pullan, Stan Shaw and Diane Switzer.
Kwinter is the new board chair and, as such, her central challenge mirrors that of the community: how to navigate recovery and reopening in a time of great uncertainty.
“Over the past year, I have held a dual role as vice-chair of the board and chair of the Israel and global engagement committee, which has immersed me in our work,” said Kwinter in her remarks in the June 25 Federation Shabbat message. “And, through my position on our Community Recovery Task Force, I’ve gotten to know the organizations in our community and see how our community planning, convening, facilitating and fundraising functions create a valuable synergy. The health and strength of our local community is paramount, and it will continue to be a focus throughout my term.
“Israel also holds a very special place in my heart, and I am actively involved with our partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors, where I serve on three committees: antisemitism; unity of the Jewish people; and aliyah. In 2018, I was privileged to be part of a group of community leaders who traveled to Far East Russia to see the impact of our overseas work. As travel restrictions begin to ease, I hope we will have the opportunity to visit our partnership region in the Upper Galilee Panhandle and resume our Israel experience programs for young adults.
“At the same time,” she continued, “I remain connected to the work we do across the continent as part of JFNA [Jewish Federations of North America]. I have attended several General Assemblies over the years, and now is the perfect time for you to experience this epic gathering of Jewish leaders, because you can participate without the time and expense of traveling.
“Looking ahead, I know we have challenges to face, but this is also an exciting time in many ways. COVID has accelerated change and has prompted us all to look at new ways of strengthening our community. Rather than looking ahead to the ‘new normal,’ we need to work together to create the ‘next normal.’ That will be our collective journey over the next two years, and I am looking forward to the future we can build together.”
At the AGM, four community leaders were honoured. Jonathon Leipsic, who chaired the Federation annual campaign from 2018 through 2020, received the Harry Woogman Award, for his consistent and conscientious leadership and his long-standing and diligent campaign involvement. Yael Segal and Becky Glotmanreceived the Lou Zimmerman Award for their integral role in the revitalization of the Ben Gurion Society, a recognition society for young donors who give $1,000 or more to the Federation annual campaign. And Enav Zusman received the Young Leadership Award.
The 2020/21 annual report can be found at jewishvancouver.com/news-and-publications/annual-reports. In 2020, Federation raised $12.2 million from 2,600 donors: $8.8 million in the 2020 annual campaign; $2 million for community recovery; and $1.4 million in special project funding.
COVID-19 was a crisis that affected – and continues to affect – every aspect of the community. Because of donors’ generosity, Federation this year was able to direct more funding to its partners than ever before.
(British Columbia’s record-breaking heatwave has had devastating effects across the province. The tragic fire in Lytton was not the first that we’ve seen and likely will not be the last. With growing concerns for another wildfire season, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver has set up an emergency B.C. Wildfire Relief Fund to assist those affected by wildfires in our province. To donate, visit jewishvancouver.com/bcfire.)
* * *
On May 20, Junior Achievement British Columbia (JABC) inducted new members into its Business Laureates of British Columbia Hall of Fame, including Gordon Diamond. There was also the posthumous induction of 10 Pioneer Laureates, including Morris Wosk, z”l. Diamond and Wosk were featured in the June 25 Jewish Independent article “JA’s newest laureates.” The article accidentally overlooked another posthumous honouree, however: Dr. Walter Charles Koerner, z”l. Here is what the JABC highlighted of Koerner’s life.
Koerner was born in 1898 in what is now the Czech Republic. He developed his expertise in the forestry industry there, through his family’s lumber business.
Koerner and his brothers immigrated to Canada in 1939 and founded the Alaska Pine and Cellulose Co., of which he was president. In 1957, the company became Rayonier Canada Ltd. and Koerner became president and later chairman of the board until his retirement in 1973.
Shortly after his arrival in Canada, Koerner made the University of British Columbia (UBC) a focal point of his philanthropy. He believed that a strong university was critical to building an engaged and successful society. He served as a member of the board of governors of UBC, as well as the chair. Not only that, he was the founding chair of UBC Hospital.
Koerner was also committed to preserving Indigenous art forms and supporting the re-emergence of Pacific Northwest Indigenous art. His multiple initiatives included supporting Indigenous carvers, repatriating Indigenous works from abroad and negotiating with then-prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau for financial support for the construction of the Museum of Anthropology, to which he donated his extensive collection. In recognition of his efforts in supporting Indigenous culture, the Haida Nation celebrated Koerner as an honorary chief of their nation.
Koerner was a notable philanthropist, who donated millions of dollars to educational institutions and other public organizations and endeavours. Among his many honours, he was a Companion of the Order of Canada, and held an honorary doctor of laws from UBC.
Koerner passed away in 1995.
* * *
Vancouver’s Lilian Broca is among the artists whose works comprise the From Canada exhibition at La Maison de la Mosaïque Contemporaine in Paray-Le-Monial, France.
Every year, La Maison de la Mosaïque Contemporaine organizes and hosts an international mosaic exhibition. The 2021 edition, the 24th, is uniquely devoted to a single country, Canada, through the works of 12 artists whose origins reflect the vast expanse of the territory. This is the first time in Europe that a mosaic exhibition has been dedicated to a North American country, and it is supported by the Canadian embassy in Paris, as well as several other organizations, government agencies and communities.
Joining Broca are artists Maria Abagis, also from British Columbia; Margo Anton, Chris Sumka and Erin Pankratz, all from Alberta; Sophie Drouin, Valerie McGarry, Heather Vollans and Julie Sperling, from Ontario; Suzanne Spahi and Ginette Lussier of Quebec; and Terry Nicholls of Newfoundland.
The exhibit was arranged by Sophie Drouin and Chantal Demonchaux. It opened this month and runs to Sept. 19. For more information, visit maisondelamosaique.org.
Emily Pritchard has been appointed as director of the upcoming capital campaign for the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver redevelopment project. She brings close to a decade of experience to the role and has led successful capital fundraising campaigns throughout her career.
“We are delighted to welcome Emily on board,” said Alvin Wasserman, president of the JCC. “Her appointment is an indication of the growing strength and immense potential of this enormous undertaking.”
The redevelopment will be the single biggest project in the history of the local Jewish community and will bring diverse groups of people from across the region together around a central community hub.
“I am thrilled to be working on this project. Not only is this one of the most ambitious capital campaigns in the city, it is an excellent example of how a capital project can pull a community together,” said Pritchard. In previous roles, Pritchard has led successful campaigns for Christ Church Cathedral and Covenant House Vancouver.
Over the past few years, the JCC, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and King David High School have engaged in a strategic process with stakeholders regarding the proposed redevelopment of the JCC site. As part of that process, the organizations agreed to collaborate on fundraising.
“The creation of the capital campaign director role is part of our commitment to building an experienced team of professionals,” explained Alex Cristall, Jewish Federation’s board chair. “The proposed redevelopment of the JCC site is a complex, long-term project that will take commitments from across the community, government and beyond to realize. Ensuring we have Emily in place at this early stage will enable us to be fully prepared when the time comes to launch the capital campaign.”
KDHS co-president Neville Israel said Pritchard is “a critical part of our cross-organizational team.”
“As the redevelopment starts to gather steam,” added school co-president Jackie Cristall Morris, “I am confident that she will help bring to life the exciting opportunities ahead of us.”
The current 60-year-old JCC facility serves 40,000 people a year, comprising more than 300,000 visits annually. In April 2021, the B.C. government announced $25 million to support the first phase of the redevelopment. This followed Vancouver City Council’s unanimous approval of the rezoning and redevelopment plan for the site. Previously, the provincial government and private donors provided support for the planning stages of the project, which is expected to be completed in two phases.
The first phase will result in a renewed 200,000-square-foot multigenerational community centre on what is currently the JCC parking lot. It will include expanded childcare, seniors’ services, arts and cultural spaces, and amenities for all Vancouver residents. More than 15 not-for-profit organizations are expected to call the centre home, and plans include expanded space for the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, a new theatre, and more.
Once that is completed, the redevelopment’s second phase will begin on what is currently the site of the existing JCC building. Central to this is a mixed-use rental housing project, with units expected to be offered at or below market value and be open to everyone. In this phase, with support from private donors and supporters of the school, KDHS will move to a new facility that will give the school ample space to provide academic, athletic and extra-curricular programming.
Mitchell Oelbaum, national president of Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University. (photo from in.bgu.ac.il)
Raising nearly $800,000 at a not-for-profit gala is no small feat, nor is having more than 1,200 people register for an event. When you add a pandemic to the mix and make it a virtual event, one might assume that it would be impossible to come close! But that’s precisely what the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University (CABGU) did in just seven weeks.
“We are a lean but unbelievably keen staff at CABGU, with an incredibly generous and committed group of lay leaders,” said Mark Mendelson, CABGU’s chief executive officer. “Achievements like this make me so proud!”
Mendelson knew that every detail of the event was accounted for, beginning with the star attraction. Israeli actress Shira Haas, star of the popular Netflix series Shtisel and Unorthodox, recently nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Emmy, is the featured speaker. Fresh off her recent press tour for the newly released movie Asia, she will be joining the event live from Israel. Haas will be taking questions from Canada’s Sen. Linda Frum, who will be moderating the conversation along with Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, BGU’s president.
CABGU’s An “Unorthodox” National Virtual Gala for Brain Research at BGU raises money for the Canada Fund to Advance Brain Research. “The fund will go a long way in assisting researchers at the university with conducting groundbreaking and out-of-the-box research,” said Mitchell Oelbaum, national president of CABGU.
“CABGU launched the Canada Fund to Advance Brain Research at BGU in April,” added Mendelson. “We know that there is a strong appetite for the subject of brain research because so many of us know at least one person, if not more, who is impacted by neurodegenerative diseases here in Canada.”
Tickets for the July 7 virtual gala are sold out. However, a few sponsorships are still available at bengurion.ca.
– Courtesy Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University
Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Leonard Brody spoke with King David head of school Russ Klein about soccer, history, business, education and the pandemic at the Golden Threads Gala on May 13. (PR photo)
Entrepreneur Leonard Brody was the featured speaker at King David High School’s Golden Threads Gala on May 13, which attracted 600-plus viewers. The event raised more than $350,000 for the school from community donors in both live (via video stream) and silent auctions.
Hailed in the financial media for his innovative approach to thinking about management, Brody, who helped found the news site NowPublic, is an award-winning entrepreneur, venture capitalist and two-time Emmy Award nominee. He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in start-up capital, taken a company to a $6 billion market capitalization at its initial public offering, and been involved in several other companies. Brody is also the co-author of two bestselling books, Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Jurassic Park to Java and Everything I Needed to Know About Business … I Learned from a Canadian.
Before introducing Brody, King David head of school Russ Klein read through the speaker’s extensive curriculum vitae, calling it “one of the most impressive bios I have ever read.” The first question of the wide-ranging interview, though, had to do with Brody’s forays into owning professional sports teams.
“It sounds more glamorous than it is,” said Brody, who has been involved with European soccer clubs for almost 20 years and co-owner of the Coventry City Football Club for 10. “Coventry has arguably been one of the most challenging turnarounds in English football and we got promoted last season into the Championship League, and it looks like we will stay there next season. This is a big accomplishment for us. It’s been fun.”
Upon hearing of this success, Klein suggested Brody consider assisting the Vancouver Canucks, but then turned to more serious matters, asking about what Brody calls “pushing the reset button.”
Brody discussed historical cycles, beginning at the start of the Industrial Revolution, in about 1760. During several periods since then, something has triggered a reset, whether it be disease or war. Each of these cycles, said Brody, including our present circumstance, creates a “forced reality” and the question becomes “what is the behaviour that is going to stick?” It is a question “everyone on the planet is thinking about.”
The conversation then veered to the concept of “successful failure” in terms of what companies promise to the market and what they deliver. In Brody’s view, many sectors are “grossly over-promising” and “half-delivering” on their products. If a company can only attain half of its promise, it is, in Brody’s view, ahead of the market as a whole. Using the example of Tesla, he cited the company’s history of “overshooting a mark, creating a vision and taking customers with it” towards a higher-end goal.
On Klein’s question of whether post-secondary education is still necessary, Brody responded, “If you want to create a generation of profit-centric, money-hungry idiots, then, yes, you can avoid university.” However, he added, if you want to create a society of good citizens with critical thinking skills and the ability to be independent adults, then university education is still essential.
Brody himself holds a bachelor of arts (honours) from Queen’s University and a law degree from Osgoode Hall at York University; he is a graduate of the Private Equity Program at the Harvard Business School.
The last discussion point was the pandemic, which Brody deemed “one of the most well-managed human traumas ever.” While not discounting the tragedy inflicted on those who have fallen victim to the disease, Brody stated that we should emerge from this stage with “an unprecedented economic growth pattern.”
Currently, Brody is writing a new book in partnership with Forbes magazine, entitled The Great Re:Write, based on the successful documentary series he and Forbes produced – which has had an audience of more than seven million in the past year.
The Golden Thread Gala: Connecting Generations celebrated the community that nurtures King David High School, inspires the next generation of leaders, and was rooted in the appreciation of Jewish values and traditions. The inaugural gala highlighted a story of success told through generations, with education as the “golden thread weaving our past to our Jewish future.”
Live auction items included a “be head of the school day” for one lucky student, a set of Forevermark Black Label earrings, dinner with Russ and Deborah Klein, and a Nuevo Vallarta vacation package. Meanwhile, dozens of items, from paintings to cosmetics, weekend getaways to vintage B.C. wines, were available in the silent auction.
Emceeing the event was comedian Ivan Decker, a frequent guest on TV talk shows around North America, on Netflix and on CBC’s The Debaters. Media executive Howard Blank, past president and chair of Variety British Columbia and vice-president of the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame, was the auctioneer.
Sam Margolishas written for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, UPI and MSNBC.
Shira Haas is the featured guest at the July 7 event organized by Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (photo from CABGU)
Israeli actress Shira Haas, star of the popular Netflix series Shtisel and Unorthodox, has been busy in recent months. Not only is she preparing to take on the role of a young Golda Meir in the upcoming series Lioness, executive produced by Barbra Streisand, but she is also the featured guest at the Canadian national virtual gala in support of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) on July 7.
An “Unorthodox” National Virtual Gala for Brain Research, organized by Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University (CABGU), BGU’s Canadian fundraising arm, will raise money for the Canada Fund to Advance Brain Research.
“We are thrilled to share this exciting announcement with our community,” said Mitchell Oelbaum, national president of CABGU.
“According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 50 million active cases of dementia worldwide, with an estimated 10 million new cases being added each year. Ten million people battle Parkinson’s each year globally. And, according to the World Stroke
Organization, 13 million people suffer from stroke annually. We wanted to do our part to help improve the chances of finding a cure for these debilitating diseases.”
The numbers are large, and there are no signs of a slowdown. That is why the fund was established by CABGU, with the goal of supporting groundbreaking and cutting-edge research for neurodegenerative diseases at the university’s Zlotowski Centre for Neuroscience.
“We are getting closer to determining the causes of age-related neurodegenerative diseases,” explained Dr. Debra Toiber of the department of life sciences in the faculty of natural sciences at BGU. “It’s an exciting time to be a scientist and uncovering the mechanisms of aging.”
Toiber is one of 67 researchers at the Zlotowski Centre. Her lab recently discovered that the SIRT6 protein is critical for the prevention of neurodegeneration, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Colleague Dr. Shelly Levy-Tzedek’s lab studies the impact of age and disease on the control of body movement and how best to employ robotics to facilitate a fast and efficient rehabilitation process. Meanwhile, Dr. Claude Brodski, also with the Zlotowski Centre for Neuroscience, is currently conducting a study, albeit in its early stages, that may offer a disease-modified drug target to address the impact of Parkinson’s. While these findings are encouraging, more research needs to be conducted.
“CABGU launched the Canada Fund to Advance Brain Research at BGU in April,” said CABGU chief executive officer Mark Mendelson. “Our team has been hard at work ever since, and there is a strong appetite for this subject matter here in Canada. The sad reality is that we all know someone, whether it is a relative, a friend or a neighbour, who is struggling with one of these devastating brain diseases.”
The national virtual gala is already more than 50% sold out. To learn how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets, head to bengurion.ca.
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science and Society, McGill University, presented on The Chemistry of Wine and Its Many Benefits, at Canadian Friends of Sheba’s virtual event on May 2. (screenshot)
Canadian Friends of Sheba hosted Sheba Under the Stars on May 2, raising close to $100,000 for Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre. More than 100 guests attended the virtual evening featuring live entertainment, wine tasting and presentations on lifestyle choices from leading world experts.
Guests received a complimentary gift bag of wine and chocolates, and were treated to numerous performances from host Stacey Kay, Juno Award-winning singer/rapper and finalist on America’s Got Talent. The hour-long show also featured live wine tasting with Michael Avery, winemaker at Galil Mountain Winery, in Israel, as well as a presentation on The chemistry of Wine and Its Many Benefits, by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University.
Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, director general, Sheba Medical Centre, opened the event by highlighting Sheba’s global fight against the coronavirus through its recent support of missions to India, northern Italy, Cyprus and Uruguay, and called on the guests to be “inspired by Sheba’s vision to transform into the city of health.”
Presentations from “Sheba’s stars” included Redefining the Field of Lifestyle Medicine by Dr. Rani Polak, founding director of Sheba’s Centre of Lifestyle Medicine, and from Prof. Michal Schnaider Beeri, director of Sheba’s Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Centre, who shared tips on how wellness and lifestyle affects the brain.
This spring saw the launch of the This Year Like No Other, This Year More Than Ever 2021-2022 Louis Brier Jewish Aged Foundation campaign, which is raising funds to enhance care and innovate the program and service offerings for residents of the Louis Brier Home and Hospital.
Early in 2020, the foundation stepped up to assist the Louis Brier leadership in its exemplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By doubling the home’s funding, the foundation was able to support the home in keeping its seniors safe and engaged during one of the most challenging years of their life.
The biennial campaign, which started April 19, will run to May 28. With the community’s help, the goal is to raise $2.4 million. Campaign chairs are Harry Lipetz (board president) and Lee Simpson (immediate past president).
The $2.4 million amount is needed to keep up with the home and hospital’s funding needs, which doubled with the onset of COVID-19. While the foundation is well aware of the many challenges of the present time, we believe this year, like no other, and more than ever, we must collectively come together to care for, and give a well-deserved kavod, to the people who built our community for us in the first place. To contribute and create impact where it’s most needed after the extraordinary challenges of the year 2020. To be part of ensuring that the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the home’s Jewish seniors are met.
Louis Brier’s background
In 1945, 14 friends known as the Hebrew Men’s Cultural Club shared a vision to create a home for Jewish seniors in Vancouver. That home, initially built to accommodate 13 residents, was established in 1946. Over time, that modest facility grew, changed locations and expanded its services, eventually becoming the Louis Brier Home and Hospital, which has progressed in step with Vancouver’s Jewish community.
Today, Louis Brier is part of a continuum of care known as the Snider Campus, which also includes the Weinberg Residence, a boutique assisted living and multi-level care residence adjacent to Louis Brier.
The Louis Brier Jewish Aged Foundation provides and distributes funds to the Snider Campus towards maintaining and fostering the well-being of the Jewish aged of British Columbia, while supporting the enhancement of their quality of life based on Jewish traditions.
Some quick facts
The Louis Brier is a 215-bed long-term residential care home serving Vancouver’s Jewish community.
The home and hospital provide three levels of residency (intermediate care, extended care and special care).
Thirty-five residents of the current population at Louis Brier are Holocaust survivors.
Eighty percent of Louis Brier Home and Hospital’s residents are diagnosed with varying levels of dementia.
The Louis Brier has 436 employees – 195 full-time, 101 part-time and 140 casual.
The home and hospital residents range in age from 50 to 103, with the average age being 84.
The Louis Brier is an accredited institution with exemplary standing (2018). The Accreditation Canada survey team spent four days at the facility and reviewed a total of 19 required organizational practices (ROPs), 216 high priority criteria and 295 other criteria, for a total of 551 criteria. The surveyors determined that Louis Brier successfully met 100% of the 551 criteria evaluated.
The Louis Brier was awarded the 2020 Canadian Non-profit Employer of Choice Award.
The Louis Brier is the only facility in British Columbia with a companion program and has the largest recreation team in Western Canada.
The Louis Brier had a single COVID case among residents.
To donate to the campaign, click here. For more information, call 604-261-5550.