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ABOUT US

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.

Our Objectives

  • 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

We are 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.

Directors 2017

Dr. Karen Mock is the Chair of JSpaceCanada. She is a human rights consultant, psychologist and teacher educator. Former Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, previously she taught at UofT, York and Ryerson Universities. 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, Heart to Heart, and the GTA Local Partnership Council of CIJA. She is currently on the Board of the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy. Karen has been involved with JSpaceCanada since its launch in 2011, is a founding director, spokesperson and honoured to be elected JSpaceCanada’s next chairperson. Karen is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal “for service to her peers, community and country.”

Dr David B. Brooks was educated in geology and economics, and spent much of his professional career with Canada’s International Development Research Centre. Born in the USA, David immigrated to Canada in 1970, and became a Canadian citizen in 1975. After retiring in 2005, he continued with research and with advising several Canadian NGOs on water and energy issues. David’s main research interests are split between water soft paths (an approach to sustainable governance of fresh water) and water demand management in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel and Palestine. He has authored and/or edited several books and articles on these topics and issues. In 2012 Dr Brooks received an honorary doctorate of environmental studies from the University of Waterloo.

Francine Dick was born and raised in Toronto. An unashamed optimist and activist, she is active in JSpaceCanada as it reflects both those qualities. She is a participant in the Heart to Heart program of Camp Shomria and Givat Haviva, hosting Israeli Arab and Jewish teenagers on their visits to Toronto. Francine was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her volunteer service. During a recent trip to Israel, she visited with the family of a former camper of Heart to Heart in the town of Kafr Qara. She also celebrated Rosh Hodesh with Women of the Wall and was honoured with an Aliyah. A certified financial planner with Carte Financial, she specializes in socially responsible investing and insurance. Francine is Secretary of the Board of Directors of JSpaceCanada.

Marc Dolgin grew up in Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba. After graduation, he joined the Department of External Affairs, serving in the Soviet Union and Chile, later transferring to other Ministries, including CIDA where he was Director-General of its NGO program. After retirement from the Public Service, Marc became Executive Director of the World University Service of Canada, retiring to join several NGO Boards, as well as volunteer and consult to the NGO sector, generally on management and governance matters. He has been a member of JSpaceCanada since its early days, as well as a supporter of Peace Now and the New Israel Fund.

Limor Petersil Farhi Farhi was born in Israel and raised both there and in Canada. During her degree in Israel in Human Services, she took part in a curriculum to develop inter-cultural awareness, confront prejudice, and foster vital inter-personal skills among students of all backgrounds. Limor then participated in the MENA Leaders for Change program, subsidized by the U.S. State Department, and has since successfully completed multiple courses from The United States Institute of Peace. Limor is currently working on adapting the curriculum in which she participated, to promote open dialogue, respect and understanding for Israeli and Palestinian students in Canada. Limor is an active member of JSpaceCanada’s Program Committee, and is very pleased to be on the Board in the coming year.

Ron Kanter practices municipal and planning law with the firm of Macdonald Sager Manis. He also acts as an arbitrator and mediator in municipal and planning matters, and writes and speaks frequently on municipal government and planning issues. He is a founding director of JSpaceCanada, and chairs its Governance Committee. Ron was formerly an elected Toronto City Councillor and an Ontario MPP.

Henry Ruschin has been a pharmacist in Toronto for 48 years, 33 of which were spent teaching biological sciences full-time at community college. Henry retired from teaching in 2004 and is currently working part-time as an outpatient pharmacist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Henry is also a member of JSpaceCanada’s Program Committee and is Treasurer of the Board of Directors.

Miriam Schachter is a long-time active member and educator at Hashomer Hatzair Canada and Camp Shomria. From that inspiring youth-led community she learned the value of experiential education grounded in social justice and activism. Miriam has a BA in Architectural Design and Visual Studies from the University of Toronto, and recently completed her Master’s at the Harvard, focusing on Arts in Education. Upon her return from Boston, she joined the Heart to Heart team 2016 as Program Coordinator. Miriam was lucky to get to work closely with the courageous Heart to Heart teen participants. Now Miriam looks forward to her role on the JSpaceCanada board of directors, to help work towards achieving a just and peaceful future for Israel.

Devon Spier is a published author and a first-year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion. She has been awarded a Peace Medallion by the YMCA and is the recipient of awards for academic excellence in Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. Splitting her time between Kitchener-Waterloo, the Greater Toronto and New York areas, Devon facilitates opportunities for Jews and Arabs to collaborate in local community development initiatives promotingconflict transformation and peace. She created the first-ever Halal student meal program in Canada and successfully coordinated the first two years of the University of Waterloo Peace Camp, which currently trains hundreds of children in non-violent dispute resolution. Devon is thrilled to continue her commitment to interreligious understanding as a student rabbi on the board of JSpaceCanada.

Advisory Committee 2017

  • Mark S. Anshan is a lawyer practising not for profit and charity law, having previously served as in house counsel to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and as a corporate lawyer in private practice. Mark is a long time active member of the Jewish community in Toronto and the Reform movement, having served in numerous roles including Chair of ARZA Canada, ARZENU and President of Holy Blossom Temple. He currently serves on the Jewish Agency for Israel Strategy and Budget subcommittee for Programs, the World Zionist Organization Executive Council and as Chair of ACT to End Violence Against Women.
  • Rabbi Ed Elkin was born in Long Beach, Long Island New York and was educated at Princeton in Religion and in Rabbinical Studies at the Hebrew Union College. He previously held the position of Assistant Rabbi at the Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal. Rabbi Elkin also taught Jewish studies at Bialik High School and was a part-time rabbi at Congregation Hamelech in Kingston, Ontario. In 1996, he moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to work for the North Carolina Hillel Foundation as the Executive Director of Jewish University Studies. Rabbi Elkind has been the rabbi at the traditional-egalitarian First Narayever Congregation in downtown Toronto since 2000.
  • Rabbi Lawrence A. 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. Larry received his Doctorate of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College 1984. He has taught at York University and at Leo Baeck College in London, England. He has written several articles on Jewish Mysticism, as well as a book, The Mystical Study of Ruth. 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 also 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 President of Holy Blossom Temple and actively engaged with the Reform world. She is past chair of ARZENU, the International Reform Zionist Organization. She is also president and a board member of the New Israel Fund of Canada and a member of the board of the New Israel Fund. Joan and her husband David Baskin have two children.
  • Nora Gold, the Founding Chair of JSpaceCanada and currently the Chair of the Nominating Committee, is an author, activist, and editor of the online literary journal, Jewish Fiction .net. Gold initiated the formation of JSpaceCanada and was also a founder of the New Israel Fund of Canada and Canadian Friends of Givat Haviva. Her 2014 novel, Fields of Exile (about anti-Israelism on campus) won the 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Award, and her first book, Marrow and Other Stories, won a Canadian Jewish Book Award in 1999. Her most recent book, the novel The Dead Man, was published this spring
  • Maurice Green has been a practicing lawyer for 39 years in all aspects of Labour and Employment Law, Education Law, Human Rights and Constitutional Law. An active member of Holy Blossom Temple, he has served on the Board of Directors, Executive Board (Secretary), and as chair and member of various synagogue committees. Maurice is a Past President of the New Israel Fund of Canada, and served for several years on their Advisory Board, as well as on International Board of the New Israel Fund. He is a member of the Canadian Arab Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group.
  • Israel (Issie) Lyon, Past Chair, JSpaceCanada Coordinating Committee, has been an active supporter of Israel since his youth when he was in Habonim, the Labour Zionist Youth movement. Issie has also been an active member of Canadian Friends of Peace Now for 30 years and is Past Chair of the Toronto Chapter. He attended the initial JStreet conference in Washington, D.C. in 2009 and was a Canadian representative to the 2010 World Zionist Congress in Israel. Issie was a founding member of JSpaceCanada and is also a founding director.
  • Rabbi Miriam Margles serves the Danforth Jewish Circle. In 2005, she co-founded Encounter, an educational organization dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the Jewish people to be constructive agents of change in transforming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To date, Encounter has engaged over 1,500 rabbis, philanthropists and heads of major Jewish organizations in face-to-face encounters with Palestinians in the West Bank and in healing rifts within the Jewish community due to the conflict. Miriam works with Jewish and non-Jewish groups, to generate understanding of antisemitism and to build allied relationships between Jews and non-Jews.
  • Rabbi Dow Marmur was born in Poland, spent the years of World War II in the Soviet Union, returning to Poland in 1946. He immigrated to Sweden two years later, and in 1957 went to London to study for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College graduating in 1962. He served two congregations in Britain and from 1983 – 2000 was the Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple in Toront, where he is now Rabbi Emeritus. After his retirement he served as the Interim Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem. Rabbi Marmur is a Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto and a Fellow of the University of St Michael’s College, Toronto. Between 2007 and 2014 he was an Appointed Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Dow is the recipient of Poland’s Order of Merit and has an honorary doctorate from Regis College, Toronto. Dow has written six books and edited two, and his articles appear regularly in the Toronto Star and the Canadian Jewish News. He now lives in Jerusalem with his wife of 60 years, Fredzia. His insightful blogs from Israel appear on the JSpaceCanada website.
  • Derek J. Penslar is the Samuel Zacks professor of Jewish history at the University of Toronto and a visiting professor of history at Harvard. He is the Stanley Lewis visiting professor of Israel studies at Oxford University and an honorary fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford. Derek has written or edited ten books, including Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective, and Jews and the Military: A History. Derek is co-editor of The Journal of Israeli History and is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Academy for Jewish Research. We were honoured to have Professor Penslar as the keynote speaker at the launch of JSpaceCanada in 2011.
  • Rabbi Michael Satz’s life as a rabbi has taken him from the American Midwest (he grew up in St. Louis and went to HUC-JIR Cincinnati), to the East Coast (Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ), to the West Coast (Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, CA), and now to Toronto (his wife’s native city). In Michael’s own words, “At Holy Blossom I have the honour to work with our adult learners, those passionate about social justice, lovers of Israel, and our compassionate congregants in our Bikkur Cholim committee. Lately, I have taken an interest in the study and practice of Mussar, a Jewish spiritual path focused on building up our positive character traits—in other words, how to be a mentch. I love to play guitar, especially with HBT’s Neginah Band, and I dream of the day that my rabbinical school band the Minor Prophets gets back together. I am a wannabe connoisseur of Chinese tea, but, most importantly, I am married to Rabbi Janice Elster, and we are the parents of Eitan and Ammiel Elster-Satz.” We are delighted Rabbi Satz has joined the JSpaceCanada team.
  • Hart Schwartz was Acting Chair of JSpaceCanada throughout 2016. He co-chaired both biennial conferences, and was Vice Chair of the Coordinating Committee. He is a Toronto lawyer practising in the areas of human rights and constitutional law. Hart was​ a member of the advocacy committee for Human Rights Watch Canada. He is the co-Vice President of the Board of Directors of the First Narayever Congregation in Toronto. Hart has taught Constitutional Litigation at the Windsor Law School and is now doing so for Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Hart is a founding member and founding director of JSpaceCanada.
  • Carole Sterling has recently been elected as Chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. She has held many communal leadership positions in the Jewish community, including President of the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism from 2008-2011 and President at Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto from 2007-2009. Carole is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Holy Blossom Temple and serves as Governor on the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion Board. Carole earned both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Diploma in Secondary Education from McGill University. Carole has received many awards, including the Granovsky Award for Campaign Excellence in 2003 and the United Israel Appeal Leadership Award in 2000.

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