JSpaceCanada is a Jewish, progressive, pro-Israel, pro-peace voice in Canada. We support Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people with full recognition of the equality and civil rights of all its citizens. We strongly support a two-state solution and a lasting agreement that will bring peace to the region. Understanding them to be an obstacle to that peace, we oppose Israel’s Jewish settlements. We also oppose all initiatives that attempt to challenge Israel’s right to exist or impose boycotts, divestments, or sanctions on Israel.
- To serve as a voice of fairness and balance and to give a progressive perspective on Israel.
- To provide Canadians with an alternative to the pro-Israel right and the anti-Israel left.
- To educate Canadians on the historical and geographical facts behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the historical, religious and spiritual context of Canadian Jews’ relationship to Israel.
- To help Canadians understand the legitimacy of critiquing policies of the Israeli government while affirming Israel’s basic rights as a sovereign state.
Who We Are
Our coordinating committee is a group of concerned individuals from a variety of backgrounds. We are academics, civil servants, trade unionists, authors, social justice activists, and entrepreneurs who want to provide a progressive, pro-Israel analysis and voice in the Canadian Jewish community. We reach out to individuals and organizations with a rationale for working in support of Israel.
- Hart Schwartz, Chair, is a Toronto lawyer practising in the areas of human rights and constitutional law. He is a member of the advocacy committee for Human Rights Watch, Canada and a former long-serving board member of the First Narayever Congregation in Toronto. He teaches Constitutional Litigation at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University which he also previously taught at the University of Windsor Law School.
- Francine Dick, Secretary, has participated in the Heart to Heart program of Camp Shomria and Givat Haviva, hosting Israeli Arab and Jewish teenagers on their visits to Toronto. An unashamed optimist and activist, she is active in JSpaceCanada because it reflects both those qualities. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her volunteer service.
- Henry Ruschin, Treasurer, is an outpatient pharmacist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He has been a pharmacist in Toronto for 48 years, 33 of which were spent teaching biological sciences full-time at a community college.
- Karen Mock, Program Chair, is a human rights consultant, psychologist and teacher-educator. She is the former Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith. Karen is a past president of Canadian Friends of Haifa University and active in the Antiracist Multicultural Education Network, Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, Canadian Arab Jewish Dialogue, and GTA Local Partnership Council of CIJA. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal “for service to her peers, community and country.”
- Ron Kanter, Governance Chair, served as an Ontario MPP (1987-90) and a Toronto City Councillor (1980-87). He practices municipal and planning law with the firm of Macdonald Sager Manis. He sits on the Toronto Board of Trade City Governance Task Force.
- Mark Anshan, Honourary Legal Counsel, Anshan is a lawyer specializing in not-for-profit and charity law. He served as President of ARZA Canada, the Zionist organization of the Reform Movement, and Chair of ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists. Mark is currently on the Executive Board of the World Zionist Organization and is a Committee member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Mark served in the Canadian foreign service and spent part of his time on Middle East issues while working for the United Nations.
- Nora Gold, Founding Chair, is an author, activist, and editor of the online literary journal, Jewish Fiction.net. As well as starting JSpaceCanada, she was a founder of the New Israel Fund of Canada and Canadian Friends of Givat Haviva.
- Issie Lyon, Past Chair, has been an active supporter of Israel since his youth when he was in Habonim, the Labour Zionist Youth movement. Issie has been an active member of Canadian Friends of Peace Now for 30 years and is currently Chair.
- Rabbi Ed Elkin has served as the spiritual leader of the First Narayever Congregation in Toronto since 2000. His special interests in the rabbinate include Bible commentaries, and the relationship between religion and state in the contemporary world.
- Rabbi Larry Englander is Rabbi Emeritus of Solel Congregation, Mississauga, serving from its inception in 1973 until his retirement in 2014. He is Adjunct Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Toronto. He is former Editor of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, and in 2014 he was elected Chair of ARZENU, a world-wide progressive Zionist organization. Larry has played an active role in establishing two Mississauga interfaith organizations: Foodpath, a community food bank; and Pathway, a non-profit housing corporation, of which he was the founding President. In 2005 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in the community.
- Joan Garson, is the chair of ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists. She is president of Holy Blossom Temple and is past president and a board member of the New Israel Fund of Canada. She is active at the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization.
- Rabbi Dow Marmur is Rabbi Emeritus of Holy Blossum Temple. He currently lives in Jerusalem. His frequent essays on modern Jewish life and Israel are published on JSpaceCanada’s homepage.
- Rabbi Michael Satz is Associate Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple. In addition to his wide range of rabbinic responsibilities, Rabbi Satz has reignited the Social Action and Interfaith agenda and he works closely with the Education Team at Holy Blossom. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2002, and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 2007