JSpaceCanada is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, progressive Jewish organization. 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.
Dr. Karen Mock is the President of JSpaceCanada. She is a human rights consultant, psychologist and teacher educator. She is the 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 the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University. Karen is a past president of Canadian Friends of Haifa University and an active founding member of the Equity Summit Group of the Antiracist Multicultural Education Network, the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, the Canadian Arab Jewish Leadership Dialogue and Heart to Heart. She sits on the GTA Local Partnership Council of CIJA and is currently on the Board of the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy. Karen is one of the few Canadians qualified by the courts and human rights tribunals as an expert on antisemitism, racism, human rights, hate crime and hate group activity. She has been involved with JSpaceCanada since its launch in 2011 and is a founding director. Among her many awards and honours for her work, Karen is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal “for service to her peers, community and country,” and she was recently inducted into to Order of Canada.
Francine Dick is Secretary of the Board of Directors. She has been 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 Chodesh 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.
Henry Ruschin is Treasurer of the Board of Directors. He has been a pharmacist in Toronto for 53 years, 33 of which were spent teaching biological sciences full-time at a 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.
David Berson serves as the Executive Director of Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, British Columbia and Alberta Region. He has served as campaign director for numerous community organizations including the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Congregation Beth Israel and has served as a fundraising consultant for BC Aboriginal Mining Training Association, Or Shalom Synagogue and the Vancouver Shambhala Centre. He also served as the Director of Planning and Community Development of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. David is a member of CIJA’s Pacific Region Local Partnership Council, a board member of the Canadian Zionist Federation, and serves as the Chair of Ameinu Canada. David co-chaired OSSRI, Or Shalom’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Initiative, and also a member of the Momo Minyan that sponsored two Tibetan displaced people from north eastern India.
Bernard Bohbot has an MA in history from Université du Québec à Montréal. He is working on his PhD with his thesis on Jewish radicals who took part in the May 1968 events in France. He has been actively involved with the Canadian Friends of Peace Now Montreal chapter. Bernard seeks to promote JSpaceCanada within the French-speaking Sephardic community of Montreal (one-third of Montreal Jews are from Arab countries, mostly from Morocco), and he has a column in the Sephardic magazine, La Voix sépharade. Bernard assists us with translations with the hope of raising the progressive Jewish voice more widely.
Jordan Devon is the Vice-Chair of JSpaceCanada. He is a Toronto-based public affairs professional currently working at Crestview Strategy, one of Canada's leading government relations firms. Previously, he served as a communications aid in the United Nations office of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. Jordan graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Jewish Studies. While in Montreal, he was Managing Editor of the Bull & Bear Campus Magazine and prior to that, served as Founding President for McGill University's Israel on Campus club. He is an experienced communications professional, having staffed political campaigns at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels, as well as in the office of a Member of Parliament. Jordan served as co-chair for JSpaceCanada's 2019 Conference and currently chairs our Next Generation Committee.
Robyn Fishbein is currently a graduate student in Carleton’s Master of Political Management Program, an intensive master’s degree designed to provide a professional foundation for students who will go on to leadership roles in the political sphere, public affairs, or non-governmental organizations. Previously, Robyn worked as the Political Outreach and Programming Coordinator at CJPAC, where she worked to engage members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community in the political process. Prior to working at CJPAC, Robyn was a CIJA parliamentary intern in the office of former MP, Sheila Malcolmson. Robyn graduated from McMaster University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, where she was actively involved in her campus Hillel executive.
David Groskind is a longtime member and volunteer with JSpace Canada. David has been a computer programmer since 1981, and Web developer since 1995. He looks after the websites for the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards and other non-profits. He also specializes in electronic publishing. JSpaceCanada is grateful to David for his volunteer contribution as manager of the online technology of JSpaceCanada.
Barbara Landau is also longtime member and volunteer with JSpaceCanada. As a mediator and human rights advocate, Barbara has participated in 3 transformative Compassionate Listening Missions to Israel/Palestine/Gaza and chaired a Shared Society meeting of progressive organizations in Israel as part of Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Trade Mission. Barbara is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims, and she co-founded Together in Hope, a Jewish-Palestinian-Arab Dialogue group. Barbara chairs JSpaceCanada’s Shared Society Committee.
Kara McLean brings nearly a decade worth of professional experience in strategic research, communications, and media relations — with a particular emphasis on public affairs and stakeholder relations. Kara is passionate about helping progressive political parties to understand the natural ties between themselves and the progressive Jewish community, particularly around shared values of social justice. She focuses on what binds instead of what separates and believes that intentional listening practices lead the way to meaningful and productive consciousness building movements.
Noah Tepperman is an active business and civic leader who has developed a broad set of skills & experiences built during his involvement in numerous community initiatives and his years as an owner and leader of Tepperman’s, his 3rd generation family-owned home furnishings retail business. Noah is the founding co-chair of ProsperUs, an initiative he co-convened in 2017 as a collective of residents and the non-profit, government, health care, education, labour, and business sectors that has inspired residents with a shared vision of a prosperous Windsor-Essex County. Noah serves on the Board of Directors for United Way Windsor-Essex, is an inaugural member of that organization’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the past chair & co-founder of United Way’s Emerging Philanthropists program. He is the President of the Windsor-Tecumseh Federal NDP Riding Association, serves on the National Advisory Board for CJPAC, and is a member of community advocacy group 42 Forward.
Advisory Committee 2020
Howard Adelman is known for his work in applied philosophy concerning refugees, immigration policy, and genocide, having authored and written extensively on the Middle East, humanitarian intervention, membership rights, ethics, and more. He was Professor of Philosophy at York University for 37 years, as well as the founder and director of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his pioneering work on refugee sponsorship and for his contributions to the establishment of refugee studies as an academic discipline.
Jon Allen (LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 1976; LL.M., International Law, University of London School of Economics, 1977) joined the then Department of External Affairs in 1981. From 2006 to 2010, he was Ambassador of Canada to Israel. From December 2012 to July 2014, he was Chargé d’affaires a.i. to the Holy See, and from 2012-16, Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. In addition to postings abroad in Mexico City, New Delhi and Washington, he held various positions including as Director General, North America Bureau; Minister (Political Affairs) at the Embassy of Canada in Washington; and Assistant Deputy Minister, Americas. He is currently a Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow with the Canada International Council. As a Diplomat in Residence at Fulbright Canada, he is advancing a proposal to establish in Canada a Canada-U.S. Institute. He is a member of the Board of Transparency International (Canada) and of Project Rozana, a non-profit focusing on Israeli-Palestinian collaboration in the health sector.
Mark S. Anshan is a lawyer practicing 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 and the World Zionist Organization Executive Council. Mark serves as Honourary Legal Counsel to 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, he 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.
Rabbi Ed Elkin as 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 Iyr 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. Rabbi Elkin has been the rabbi at the traditional-egalitarian First Narayever Congregation in downtown Toronto since 2000.
Joan Garson is the Immediate Past President of Holy Blossom Temple and actively engaged with the Reform world. She is also past president and a board member of the New Israel Fund of Canada, and chairs its Advisory Council. She is a member of the board of the New Israel Fund. Joan and her husband David Baskin have two children, and she is a frequent visitor to Israel.
Nora Gold is the Founder of JSpaceCanada and a prize-winning author, activist, and editor of the prestigious online literary journal, Jewish Fiction.net. She created JSpaceCanada in her living room in 2010 as was its first Chair when it was launched in 2011. Previously, she co-founded the New Israel Fund of Canada and Canadian Friends of Givat Haviva. After ten years as a tenured professor of social work, she left academia in 2000 to write fiction full time. Her novel Marrow and Other Stories won the Canadian Jewish Book Award and her novel Fields of Exile (about anti-Israelism on campus) won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award. Her most recent novel, The Dead Man, is set in Israel. It was published in English in 2016 and was published in October 2018 in Hebrew in Israel
Maurice Green has been a practicing lawyer for over 40 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.
Ron Kanter practices municipal and planning law with a downtown Toronto law firm. He also acts as an arbitrator and mediator in land use and construction matters, and writes and speaks frequently in the media on these issues. Ron is a founding director of JSpaceCanada, and now chairs the JSpaceCanada Foundation, a registered charity. He was formerly elected as a Toronto City Councillor and Ontario MPP.
Rabbi Dara Lithwick is passionate about building bridges between people and communities and promoting inclusion as a fundamental Jewish practice. She is an advocate for LGBTQ2+ inclusion within diverse Jewish spaces, as well as for Jewish inclusion in LGBTQ2+ spaces. When not at work as a constitutional and parliamentary affairs lawyer, Rabbi Dara is active as an outreach rabbi at Temple Israel Ottawa, where she helps lead services and lifecycle events, teach adult and youth programs, and engage in outreach and social action initiatives. She led High Holiday services at Congregation Shir Libeynu in Toronto. Rabbi Dara chairs a Canadian Council for Reform Judaism group to develop a Tikkun Olam strategy for Canada and is the Canadian representative to the Union for Reform Judaism’s Commission on Social Action. She enjoys supporting the work of the Israel Religious Action Center, and Rabbi Dara and her partner love chasing their two children around Ottawa.
Israel (Issie) Lyon, is a founding member of JSpaceCanada and Past Chair He 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.
Diane Mandell, after a long career as a Master of Social Work, brings her professional experience in championing social justice issues and her personal commitment to a secure, democratic and vibrant Israel to her active role on the program committee of JSpaceCanada. With a strong belief in the need to raise both the voice and profile of progressive Zionism in Canada, she believes JSpaceCanada presents a unique opportunity to bringing members of our community together to listen, to learn and ultimately to find creative ways to reach our common goals.
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 Toronto, 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 William Lee Frost Professor of Modern Jewish History at Harvard University and the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto. He is an honorary fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford where, between 2012 and 2017, he was the inaugural Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies. Derek’s books include Israel in History: The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective, The Origins of the State of Israel: A Documentary History, and Jews and the Military: A History. Derek is co-editor of The Journal of Israeli History, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and President of the American Academy for Jewish Research.
Tema Smith is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder. She is currently the Director of Professional Development for InterfaithFamily, an organization that empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them. This comes after seven years as a synagogue professional, most recently as the Director of Community Engagement at Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s oldest synagogue.
Hart Schwartz was Acting Chair of JSpaceCanada throughout 2016. He co-chaired the first two biennial conferences, and was Vice Chair of the Coordinating Committee. He is a Toronto lawyer practicing in the areas of human rights and constitutional law. Hart was a member of the advocacy committee for Human Rights Watch Canada. He is co-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 was elected as Chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in 2015. 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 of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto from 2007-2009. Carole 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.
Judith Wiley is a respected leader in the non-profit sector with experience at the local, national and international level. She is a specialist in strategic planning, non-profit governance and organizational change management. Judith works with Jewish and non-Jewish groups on social justice issues particularly involving anti-racism and the rights of women and girls. As Executive Director of a Community Health Centre, she uses community development techniques to bring public, private and social sector stakeholders together for mutual benefit.