As a relative newcomer to the community, about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Chabad Richmond depends on its growing pool of volunteers who roll up their sleeves and get the day-to-day work done. From delivering Light of Shabbat meals, to helping with programs, assembling Pesach packages, and so much more, Chabad’s volunteers contribute not only their time but their talents as well.
The Freilach25 gala, which takes place the evening of June 19 at Schara Tzedeck Synagogue, will mark this milestone anniversary, honour Chabad Richmond co-directors Rabbi Yechiel and Chanie Baitelman, and celebrate the volunteers who help make Chabad Richmond the centre it is.
“Education, community outreach and gathering as a community to celebrate Jewish holidays and lifecycle events are only part of what we currently do. We want to expand our reach and nurture every Jew in every way we can,” said Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman. “We have much work ahead of us, but we’re blessed to have an enthusiastic and steadfast board who resolutely work to help us grow. While some board members are retired, the majority are still working, and all of them bring their unique talents to assist us in realizing our mission.”
Current Chabad Richmond board members are Steve Whiteside, president; Ed Lewin, vice-president; Phil Levinson, second vice-president; Shaun Samuel, treasurer; Jeff Wachtel, secretary; Shelley Civkin; Dan Isserow; Sheldon Kuchinsky; Yael Segal; and Louise Wright.
While VIP tickets for the Freilach25 gala are sold out, there’s still time to purchase $250 and $72 tickets at chabadrichmond.com/freilach25. Human rights advocate Natan Sharansky will be the keynote speaker.
Shabbat In a Box preparations. Left to right are Jenny Rivera, Moshe Maurice King (from JFS), Rachael Lewinski, Michelle Pascua and Freddie Santiago. (photo from Schara Tzedeck)
At this year’s Mosaic gala May 29, Congregation Schara Tzedeck will celebrate the team that oversees and orchestrates the synagogue’s In the Box meal program – the people who “have sustained and nurtured our community through the pandemic.”
Just over two years ago, as the pandemic started in March 2020, Schara Tzedeck launched In the Box. The program delivers meals to congregants and other community members in an effort to provide support for those living alone and those in need.
Every week before Shabbat, as well as during the holidays – Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Passover – 32 drivers set out from the synagogue’s Oak Street location and deliver kosher meals to 250 households throughout the Greater Vancouver area.
“In an extraordinary partnership with Jewish Family Services, our donors and members, together with our staff and volunteers, have delivered more than 25,000 meals since the program’s inception in March 2020. Through the holiday and Shabbat In a Box initiative, we have not only nourished our shul family and wider community with hearty Jewish cooking, we have nourished them with constant personal connections,” Schara Tzedeck president Jonathon Leipsic wrote in a message to congregants.
In recognition for their efforts throughout the pandemic, volunteers and drivers will receive a challah board made especially by Schara Tzedeck spiritual leader Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt.
The 2022 Mosaic gala coincides with Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), a national holiday in Israel that commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control over the Old City following the Six Day War in June 1967. As such, this year’s gala will have an Israeli vibe, or, more precisely, the feel of “the shuk,” the Jerusalem marketplace. Food will consist of Moroccan salmon, kebabs, burekas and other delicacies that would be sold by vendors in the Holy City. There will also be candy stations, dried fruits, a spice market and fresh breads.
“This is the first gala since the pandemic started, and it is an interesting twist that what started as a program during a time when we were far apart from one another in terms of spacing is now bringing us back to the same physical space,” said Rachael Lewinski, facilities director at Congregation Schara Tzedeck, which had been hosting in-person Mosaic galas for more than a decade before COVID-19 struck.
Juleen Axler will be one of the drivers who will be honoured at the gala. Axler, who has been delivering meals to seniors and those with low incomes since the beginning of COVID, gets to the synagogue around noon on Fridays. She then takes the meals – consisting of a starter, an entrée, a dessert and a challah – to eight or nine homes each week.
The meals, Axler said, vary from week to week and, at holiday times, contain food symbolic of the occasion. For example, during Hanukkah, a box is certain to carry potato latkes.
“It’s an extremely rewarding process to be helping and to be doing my part during COVID. It has not been easy for many seniors to get a meal made and to have human connection for two years. Even now that is easier to move around and gather, seniors are still isolated. And, for my part, it is nice to witness the appreciation people have and to establish a relationship with them,” Axler said.
Despite the pandemic, Schara Tzedeck created a memorable event in 2021 through Zoom with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as their featured speaker. The evening also included footage of Shulem, the Orthodox singer; Rabbi Naftali Schiff, chief executive officer and founder of Jewish Futures; and a pre-recorded conversation between Rosenblatt and Leipsic.
Now back in person for the first time since 2019, this year’s Mosaic starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased, and donations can be made, by visiting scharatzedeck.com.
Sam Margolishas written for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, UPI and MSNBC.
To say that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on British Columbians would be an understatement. The virus has disrupted anything that we would call the normal activities of daily life. Most of us have had to make major compromises: where we go, what we do and how we can avoid getting the terrible virus. These adjustments have had a major impact on Jewish Seniors Alliance clients, who are already compromised by loneliness and isolation.
How we serve our clients and how we support our volunteers has undergone major changes – let’s give it the label “reinventing peer services.” In order to better understand what has taken place, I interviewed Charles Leibovitch, JSA senior peer support services coordinator, and Grace Hann, JSA trainer of volunteers of senior support services.
In the beginning
By mid-March 2020, the first sign of COVID-19 began to show its ugly head. The lockdown left clients and volunteers absolutely unprepared. Persons who were already isolated and lonely found themselves even more isolated and lonelier. As time progressed, clients were cut off from family members who might have supported their relatives through personal contact and social events. This was especially devastating for persons without family.
In many situations, volunteers were their primary contact; their lifeline! Being alone undermines one’s mental health. Being alone exaggerates one’s fear of COVID-19. Most of the clients were cut off from community programs, like adult day care. Spouses who usually spent time with their spouse in a long-term care facility were also cut off. Simple activities like going for a walk and sitting on a bench were curtailed. Elders had depended on having that human connection – having that human touch makes us feel needed and whole.
Volunteers meet challenge
The changing scene called for quick action, initiated by Grace and Charles. Instead of personal visits, the telephone would become the prime instrument of contact between volunteers and their clients. It was necessary to contact the volunteers quickly. Support for the volunteers would be provided by Zoom. This necessitated a steep learning curve for volunteer and client. After all, making and keeping the connection was critical. The three services – peer support, friendly visits and friendly phone calls – had to be reassessed in terms of the neediest clients. Each of the three services’ volunteers had different levels of training by Grace.
In some situations, a certified peer support volunteer was assigned to a person who ordinarily would have had contact with a friendly visitor or a friendly phone caller. Moving from in-person contact to impersonal contact was a major transition – almost like reinventing how support was to be provided. The JSA volunteers made the transition like veterans, with the extraordinary help of Grace and Charles. There was an increase in the contacts between volunteers and clients and an increase in Zoom online meetings to support the very special work being carried out by the volunteers.
Supporting the volunteers
Grace and Charles organized many activities, including outdoor picnics, weekly webinar seminars, a Chanukah party with a singalong and group support meetings every three weeks. The spirit and esprit de corps by the volunteers has been amazing. Volunteers will send cards to their clients as an additional way to keep in contact. Who doesn’t like to receive mail?
Challenging times require challenging solutions. Charles and Grace rose to the challenge and proved that, with dedication, imagination and determination, obstacles can be overcome. When the COVID-19 vaccine has been fully distributed, we will establish a “new normal.” This will present JSA, Grace, Charles and the volunteers with a new set of issues and situations. And, as the song goes, “we shall overcome” – they will face these challenges with creativity, empathy and caring.
Ken Levitt is a past president of Jewish Seniors Alliance, former chief executive officer of Louis Brier Home and Hospital, and a past chair of Camp Miriam. In 1985, he co-edited The Challenge of Child Welfare, the first textbook on child welfare in Canada. A version of this article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Senior Line.
Left to right, Sasha Gerson, Joanna Wasel and Frances Belzberg will be honoured by CHW on Sept. 22. (photos from CHW Vancouver)
Welcome to September! A few signals that summertime is ending are the kids going back to school, the Jewish holidays quickly approaching and the return of Jewish community gatherings like the upcoming Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) Vancouver luncheon.
On Sept. 22 at the Richmond Country Club, CHW is holding an event to honour exceptional volunteers. As a volunteer organization driven by women, which focuses on the welfare of children and women in Israel but is also concerned with the health care of all Israelis, CHW often chooses to recognize the contributions of local women who make a difference to the lives of those in our local community.
This year, the organizing committee of the luncheon, headed by CHW volunteer Toby Rubin, selected three visionaries who have put their considerable talents as organizers, motivators and mentors to work to improve various areas of Jewish life in Vancouver. Sasha Gerson, Joanna Wasel and Frances Belzberg represent three different generations of volunteers and all contribute in diverse ways to the community.
Gerson is well known in the Russian-Jewish community. For years, she helped immigrants settle in Vancouver through her work at Jewish Family Services. Her most public role is as an award-winning radio host. Twelve years ago, she and her partner, Dmitry Shiglik, launched Radio VERA, a weekly Russian-English talk show. Her motivation is to bring Jews together, and her volunteer activities through the radio have included organizing trips to Israel, festivals for children and music events. She interviews people primarily in Vancouver but has guests from Russia and Israel on her show. She is also a CHW volunteer, currently serving as treasurer of CHW Vancouver.
Familiar to those who are connected in any way to Camp Hatikvah, Wasel is known as a volunteer extraordinaire. She is currently serving her fifth year as president of the Camp Hatikvah board and, during her presidency, she has expanded participation in the camp’s programming. One of her most important legacies is the introduction of Family Camp, which was first held eight years ago. This program has brought a camp experience to more than 220 people every year since its inception.
“You’re never too old or too young to be a camper!” said Wasel of Family Camp. She sees the weekend-long experience as a chance for adults to make new friends. “People bond and it establishes a foundation for the Camp Hatikvah community. In addition to being good, quality family time, we see it as a community-building experience,” she said.
Camp Hatikvah is associated with the Young Judaea movement, a Zionist organization that dates back to 1917. Historically, CHW has been associated with Young Judaea, as well, providing funding for national programs including Biluim Canada and Israel.
The third honouree, Belzberg, has had a life-long commitment to philanthropy and Jewish community building. She has been involved with CHW for 67 years, most of those in Vancouver. Having contributed in the early years of her marriage to Hadassah in Edmonton, Belzberg knew that joining a Hadassah chapter when she moved to Vancouver would help establish close friendships in a new city. She continued as a volunteer in many leadership roles, including chair of the Hadassah Bazaar, and on the national board as well.
Belzberg’s dedication to community extends beyond CHW. She also has served as Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver’s first women’s division chair and has held many other leading fundraising roles, including with St. Paul’s, B.C. Children’s and Vancouver General hospitals. She was a founder of the Dystonian Medical Research Foundation and was recognized for her diverse and numerous efforts with the Order of Canada in 1995. Belzberg has given countless hours as a volunteer, driven by a belief she explained this way: “Without community involvement,” she said, “there will be no future for the Jewish people. It is up to us to combat antisemitism and make sure our communal organizations remain strong.”
Those who attend the Sept. 22 luncheon, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will have the opportunity to hear a short address by each of the honourees. Proceeds from the event will benefit one of the many educational projects CHW supports in Israel – the CHW Centre for Clinical Training and Community Care, Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, is one of the fastest-growing institutions of higher learning in Israel. It is a pluralistic college with a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, from health and life sciences to information and computer technology.
Luncheon tickets are selling fast, said Rubin. With more than 100 already sold and capacity at 150, those interested should purchase tickets soon. For more information or to register, call the CHW office at 604-257-5160.
Michelle Dodekis a freelance writer living in Vancouver.
Jewish Seniors Alliance’s AGM was held on Oct. 11 at Congregation Beth Israel. (photo from JSA)
The annual general meeting of the Jewish Seniors Alliance was held on Oct. 11 at Congregation Beth Israel. As is customary, the AGM was followed by a gala dinner during which JSA honoured dedicated volunteers from three community organizations for their service to seniors in Vancouver.
The meeting was called to order by JSA president Ken Levitt. He introduced Rabbi Jonathan Infeld of Beth Israel, who gave a short d’var torah on the importance of community actions and involvement with seniors.
Levitt then asked everyone to rise in acknowledgement of JSA members who had passed away over the last year.
Several speakers offered greetings to JSA: Isobel MacKenzie, seniors advocate of British Columbia; Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara; Ezra Shanken, chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver; and Gudrun Langolf, president of the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organization of British Columbia (COSCO).
Reports were presented by JSA treasurer Larry Meyer; on peer support services by Gyda Chud for Pam Ottem; on membership by Binny Goldman; from Levitt, as president; and from the nomination committee by Marilyn Berger, who was especially emphatic, urging people who receive Senior Line magazine and are not JSA members to sign up.
In his report, Levitt emphasized JSA’s advocacy role and outlined five issues in particular for which JSA is advocating:
For the B.C. Ministry of Health to provide the 25% more effective flu vaccine free of charge. It presently costs $75 for the high-dose flu shot.
The implementation of a federal pharmacare program.
For the City of Vancouver to allow applications for the provincial homeowners grant to be done in person, without use of a computer, as many seniors have difficulty using computers or do not have access to the internet.
For the B.C. government to initiate a poverty reduction program similar to those that exist in other provinces.
To reduce the need for food banks – JSA had made a presentation to Federation concerning the Food Security Program.
After the reports were completed, Levitt adjourned the meeting and invited everyone to be seated at the festively decorated tables. About 170 supporters of JSA enjoyed a glass of wine and a salmon or vegetarian lasagna dinner that was followed by the presentation of the awards.
This part of the evening was presented by emcee Ed Gavsie, who called upon Langolf to make the presentation to Sheila Pither. Pither has been active with COSCO for 18 years. For the past 10 years, she has coordinated the organization’s Health and Wellness Institute, promoting its expansion from one workshop topic to more than 40. Pither said she was honoured to have been chosen and was grateful to be at the ceremony with friends and family, at age 86, to accept the award.
The next awards went to Muriel Morris and Gary Zumar of JCC Showtime. Maurice Moses presented to Morris and Arnold Selwyn to Zumar.
Morris has been a volunteer piano accompanist since high school. She has accompanied more than 210 concerts since joining Showtime in 2013 and she noted the pleasure she gets when they perform at seniors facilities and she sees the people come alive to the music and the dancing.
Selwyn recounted how Zumar, with his wide experience in audio-visual technologies, has volunteered his services to many Jewish organizations. Zumar started with Jewish Heritage Players more than 40 years ago and has continued for more than 12 years with Showtime. Selwyn called him a volunteer’s volunteer. Zumar responded by thanking everyone at Showtime for this honour.
Toby Rubin of the Kehila Society then presented the final award to Pat Hoffman. Hoffman became involved with Kehila’s Monday Seniors Luncheon at Beth Tikvah 15 years ago. She has been involved in the working committee as the program has expanded to include activities such as English-as-a-second-language, fitness and entertainment. Rubin described Hoffman as the lifeline of the program, the first to arrive and the last to leave. Hoffman expressed her appreciation for the recognition and said she gets much satisfaction from being a volunteer.
While dessert was served, attendees were entertained by jazz singer Jill Samycia, the door prizes and 50/50 tickets were drawn and, after much shmoozing with old friends and dinner, everyone went home having spent the evening honouring four active seniors and again proving the JSA adage “seniors stronger together.”
Shanie Levin is an executive board member of Jewish Seniors Alliance and on the editorial board of Senior Line magazine.
This year, Jewish Federation honoured, for the first time, an organization outside of the Jewish community. The inaugural recipient of the honour was the Vancouver Police Department.
At its annual general meeting June 19, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver honoured four volunteers: Alex Cristall, Judi Korbin, Judith Cohen and Courtney Cohen. It also honoured, for the first time, an organization outside of the Jewish community – the Vancouver Police Department.
On June 18, L’Chaim Adult Day Centre celebrated its first 100th birthday, with program participant Beverly Klein.
On the evening of June 13, siblings Shirley Barnett and Philip Dayson were honoured with the B.C. Genealogical Society Book Award.
On the evening of June 5, Jewish Family Services held its first annual Volunteer Appreciation Event, celebrating the dedicated volunteers of JFS and the Better at Home program.
Louis Brier Home and Hospital has successfully achieved accreditation with exemplary standing from Accreditation Canada.
Among the B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s Liberty Award winners on May 17 were Ken Klonsky, for excellence in the arts, and Peter Klein, for excellence in journalism.
At its annual general meeting June 19, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver honoured four volunteers.
Alex Cristall was presented with the Harry Woogman Award, which recognizes a volunteer who leads consistently and conscientiously by example and has long-standing and diligent campaign involvement. Cristall is the outgoing annual campaign chair. His dedication and commitment to leadership excellence has made an enormous impact on Federation and the community as a whole.
Judi Korbin was given the Arthur Fouks Award, which honours leaders who demonstrate dedication to the goals and principles of Jewish Federation and who provide outstanding leadership to the annual campaign. Korbin is the outgoing chair of Federation’s endowment program, the Jewish Community Foundation, and is a past chair of the annual campaign.
The Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award went to Judith Cohen. As a past volunteer chair of women’s philanthropy, Cohen is no stranger to philanthropic work. She draws the inspiration for her community involvement from having grown up seeing her parents “pour their time and energies into the Jewish community.” She received the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award from Jewish Federations of North America for demonstrating the highest ideals of leadership and involvement.
The Young Leadership Award was presented to Courtney Cohen for her extensive volunteer work with many Jewish organizations around Greater Vancouver. Just two examples among many are her involvement in Federation’s Axis program for young Jewish adults as the co-chair of the leadership development pillar, and her founding of Rose’s Angels, a care-package project created to honour her grandmother.
This year, Jewish Federation also honoured, for the first time, an organization outside of the Jewish community, with the first recipient of the honour being the Vancouver Police Department.
“Our Federation has had a long and valued relationship with the department and our staff have been able to count on their assistance and intervention during crisis situations and high-profile events attracting protesters, as well as being willing to provide education and training to our communal professionals on an as-needed basis,” said Bernard Pinsky, chair of Federation’s community security advisory committee, in presenting the award, which was accepted by Deputy Chief Lawrence Rankin on behalf of the VPD.
Pinksy expressed Federation’s “appreciation to constables Ryan Hooper and Dale Quiring for their support over the years,” and said Federation was looking forward “to a continued positive relationship with Constables James Hooper and Jacqueline Abbot.”
In introducing the video created for Federation’s 30th anniversary, board chair Karen James thanked “Jonathan and Heather Berkowitz, whose experience editing the Federation Magazine for many years was invaluable to this project, as well as past Federation president Sondi Green, whose father, Arthur Fouks, was a founder of our Federation, and Al Szajman, chair of our marketing and communications resource group for their work on this project.”
On June 18, L’Chaim Adult Day Centre celebrated its first 100th birthday, with program participant Beverly Klein. Four generations of her family, friends, fellow program participants, L’Chaim board members, staff and volunteers, as well as Jewish community leaders, threw a party at L’Chaim to commemorate her reaching this milestone.
Knowing her love of music, she was honoured with the musical talents of Allison Berry, who performed classics from the 1940s. Beverly was delighted to receive congratulations and warm wishes from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Queen’s representative, the governor general of Canada, Julie Payette.
Ezra Shanken, chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, spoke about Beverly and said that she didn’t look a day over 40, to which she replied, “Hey, I like this guy!”
A much-loved program participant since 2013, the birthday girl was born in Poland near Warsaw in Meserich, and was one of 11 children. A story treasured by her children is Beverly’s childhood memory of preparing for Shabbat by “building a floor” and “doing the stove” – her home’s dirt floors had to be swept and pounded down, and Beverly would pile up the bricks for the oven, which was then whitewashed. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1929 with only the clothes on their backs, which were sewn from potato sacks. During the Second World War, Beverly came to Vancouver to spend time with her sister Ruby, and she met her husband Dave. They married and had two daughters and a wonderful life together.
Beverly continues to live in her own home because of the love and devotion of her family. The Turnbulls – Wendy, husband Steve and boys Ryan and Gavin – and the Blonds – Arlene, husband Les and children Amanda and Ben – are all devoted to their mom and bubbie.
Both daughters Arlene and Wendy gave heartfelt speeches at the birthday party. Arlene said, “It’s very reassuring to families to know that their loved ones have a safe place to go where they are not only stimulated but treated like family.” Wendy said, “L’Chaim remembers that older people deserve respect for a lifetime of achievements and all that they are today. The sheer joy with which the staff planned Beverly’s party touched all of us.”
The L’Chaim Adult Day Centre strives to improve the quality of life of its participants by providing a caring and stimulating group experience for those who might otherwise be socially isolated, while also providing support and respite for care-giving families and friends. It is funded in part by Vancouver Coastal Health, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver and private donations from the larger community.
On the evening of June 13, siblings Shirley Barnett and Philip Dayson were honoured with the B.C. Genealogical Society Book Award. Barnett and Dayson were recognized for their book Don’t Break the Chain, which describes the journey of Abraham and Toba Nemetz from Svatatroiske in Ukraine to Vancouver and points in between.
Fleeing from pogroms in 1922, Abraham and Toba began a new life in Canada. One of the pages in Don’t Break the Chain outlines how their family of nine children grew into 196 descendants. Family trees and portraits – both individual and group – are part of a fascinating picture of a family whose lives became an important part of both the Jewish and general communities of Vancouver.
In her acceptance of the award, Barnett said that, while researching the book, numerous family members (known and previously unknown) were reached with 100% cooperation from all of them in helping to compile information for the book. The title comes from Ben Dayson, Barnett and Dayson’s father. Although he married into the family, because of his belief in the value of family ties, Ben Dayson often “ended his conversations and speeches with the sentence, ‘don’t break the chain.’”
Barnett thanked the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia for their support and rich accumulation of archival material. For more information, interested readers may access nemetzfamily.ca or the Jewish Museum at jewishmuseum.ca.
Congratulations to Shirley Barnett and Philip Dayson for being honoured by the B.C. Genealogical Society, who recognized the positive impact of their family and this book on the history and development of our province.
On the evening of June 5, Jewish Family Services hosted more than 70 people at its first annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the dedicated volunteers of JFS and the Better at Home program, a government-funded service for seniors managed by United Way and administered by JFS. The guest speaker, Dr. Rotem Regev, presented on the value of human connection, empathy and the power of giving back.
Richard Fruchter, chief executive officer of JFS, spoke about the commitment of volunteers to the agency, describing “volunteers as the life-blood of JFS.” It was volunteers, he said, who founded the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau of Vancouver (JFS’s original name) when it opened more than 80 years ago to assist the poor and elderly living in Vancouver, and to help resettle new immigrants fleeing antisemitism in Europe.
“Your commitment to uplifting lives, for our clients and community, is an example for us all,” Fruchter said. “By stepping up to help, offering your time, skills and resources, you are the reason we can meet more of the needs in our community and accomplish the work that we do.”
There are more than 170 people who volunteer regularly through JFS and Better at Home, and some have been serving for more than 15 years. JFS’s youngest volunteers are in grades 7 and 8 from Vancouver Talmud Torah and King David High School who help regularly at the Jewish Food Bank.
JFS volunteers are responsible for a wide range of work. They support the Jewish Food Bank at the Peretz Centre; seniors lunches and outreach services, such as grocery shopping, visiting and driving to and from appointments; English-language practice for newcomers to Canada; interviewing skills for job seekers; mental health outreach; and administrative support in the office. Chanukah helpers, Passover hampers, Rosh Hashanah activities and Project Isaiah are all programs that rely almost entirely on volunteers. For many individuals and families, these Jewish holiday programs are the only connections they have with their Jewish heritage.
For more information on volunteering with JFS, contact Ayana Honig at [email protected] or call 604-226-5151.
Louis Brier Home and Hospital has successfully achieved accreditation with exemplary standing from Accreditation Canada.
Accreditation Canada is an independent, not-for-profit organization that sets standards for quality and safety in health care and accredits health organizations in Canada and around the world. Louis Brier Home and Hospital voluntarily participated in accreditation because it believes that quality and safety matter to residents and their families/significant others. Improving the quality of care is a continuous journey – a journey to which Louis Brier is fully committed.
As part of the Qmentum program, the home and hospital has undergone a rigorous evaluation process. Following a comprehensive self-assessment, external peer surveyors conducted an on-site survey during which they assessed the organization’s leadership, governance, clinical programs and services against Accreditation Canada requirements for quality and safety. These requirements include national standards of excellence; required safety practices to reduce potential harm; and questionnaires to assess the work environment, resident safety culture, governance functioning and client experience. Results from all these components were considered in the accreditation decision.
The accreditation survey team spent four days at Louis Brier, 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 accreditation surveyors determined that the Louis Brier successfully met 100% of the ROPs and 100% of the criteria evaluated.
“I am very proud of everyone at Louis Brier Home and Hospital,” said Dr. David Keselman, chief executive officer. “Our staff worked and continue to work incredibly hard to make sure we meet the needs of our residents in every possible way, helping them and their loved ones maintain optimal health status, control and dignity every day, every time. Receiving exemplary standing from Accreditation Canada is a real testament to the changing culture and focus at Louis Brier Home and Hospital. Accreditation Canada standards and requirements will continue to guide us into the future as we continue to evolve and continuously improve our practices and care delivery efforts.”
He added, “I will, of course, be remiss if I do not mention the ongoing support and generosity of the LBHH and WR [Weinberg Residence] and the [Louis Brier Jewish Aged] foundation boards, without whom this journey may not have been as smooth or possible.”
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s Liberty Awards recognize outstanding achievements to protect and promote human rights and freedoms in Canada. Among the 2018 award winners were Ken Klonsky, for excellence in the arts, and Peter Klein, for excellence in journalism.
Klonsky, co-author of Dr. Rubin Carter’s Eye of the Hurricane, is a former Toronto teacher and writer now living in Vancouver. He is a director of Innocence International, the organization conceived by Carter to help free wrongly convicted prisoners worldwide. His artistic works call readers to action to defend civil liberties and improve the justice system. His art and advocacy on behalf of those who have been wrongfully convicted has contributed greatly to the advancement of human rights in Canada and internationally.
Klein is a journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker. He has been a producer for the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes since 1999, produces video projects for the New York Times and writes columns regularly for the Globe and Mail. He is the founder of the Global Reporting Centre, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reporting on neglected global issues and innovating the practice of global journalism. His record of groundbreaking broadcast journalism exposing human rights abuses around the world deserves to be celebrated. His efforts are empowering the next generation to continue to hold the powerful to account.
The other 2018 Liberty Awards were Miranda Hlady (youth or community activism), Stockwoods LLP (legal advocacy, group) and Dr. Pamela Palmater (legal advocacy, individual). Hassan Diab, Rania Tfaily and Don Bayne, on behalf of the Hassan Diab Support Committee, were recognized with the Reg Robson Award, which is given annually to honour substantial contributions to the cause of civil liberties in British Columbia and Canada.