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Tikkun Olam [clear filter]
Sunday, March 6


G-d, the Workplace, and You
For many of us work is where we bring a part of ourselves. A space for the profane, not the sacred. We often leave the best part of ourselves outside the office doors. The thing is we spend much of our lives at work and unless we can find a way to bring our spirituality into the workspace we are missing a great opportunity. Wherever two or more meet, as our Christian brothers and sisters say, there is G-d. Can we inject holiness, compassion, sacred relationship and deep meaning in to the workaday lives we lead? The answer is yes.

avatar for Ralph  Benmergui

Ralph Benmergui

I am a long time broadcaster who now works in Academia as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships and Sheridan College. I am in the last year of a three year program with the Aleph Ordination Program as a Mashpiah, Jewish Spiritual Director.

Sunday March 6, 2016 10:00am - 10:50am


Jewish Farmers of Ontario Unite!
Did you know that southern Ontario is now home to the largest Jewish communal farm in North America?! Bela Farm is a 114-acre rural centre for land-based sustainable Judaism in southern Ontario. Come and meet two local Jewish farmers from Shoresh who are collaboratively creating this project with community members like you. Learn about the vision for the project, ask lots of questions and taste some sweet honey from Bela's bees.

avatar for Risa Alyson Cooper

Risa Alyson Cooper

Risa is an ardent educator, environmentalist, and urban homesteader!  She completed her B.A. Honours at Queen’s University in Comparative Religious Studies, and her M.A. at the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, focusing on Contemporary Jewish Environmental Ethics.  Upon graduating, Risa moved to rural Connecticut where she worked as a Jewish environmental educator at the Teva Learning Centre... Read More →
avatar for Sabrina Malach

Sabrina Malach

Sabrina is a professional shmoozer, networker and pollinator-protector!  Sabrina began working with Shoresh in 2011 after spending six years working and volunteering in the Jewish Food Movement in New York and Israel. She participated in the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship in 2005, graduated from the Eco-Activist Beit Midrash in Jerusalem in 2006, and worked as the program assistant for Hazon from 2006-2007.  Upon returning to... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 10:00am - 10:50am


Combatting Hatred Within and Between Our Communities in Canada
Why is it that people recognize human rights violations against their own people but fail to see when they are the purveyors of prejudice, stereotypes and even hatred against others? With the increased use of propaganda techniques, heightened rhetoric and the politics of fear, how can and should we bring some of the factions in our community together to find common ground...for Israel's sake and for the sake of our future generations of Jewish leadership in Canada?

avatar for Dr. Karen  Mock

Dr. Karen Mock

Dr. Karen Mock is a human rights consultant, educational 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, Karen is one of the few people in Canada qualified by the courts and human rights tribunals as an expert on human rights, discrimination, racism, antisemitism and hate crime. Considered a pioneer in the field of multicultural... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 11:00am - 11:50am


The Jew as an Agent of Tikkun Olam
The Jewish imperative to repair the world and how it has translated over the years and, in particular, in modern days.

avatar for Avrum Rosensweig

Avrum Rosensweig

I was born into a rabbinical home in Kitchener, ON. In my early years, I attended yeshiva and, later studied journalism at Ryerson. In 1990 I began my community work as a fundraiser with UJA. In 1994, after Rwanda, I decided to launch Canada's first Jewish humanitarian organization. Our mission was to encourage all Jews to play a role in tikun olam and to create programs to allow them to do so. Since then, Ve'ahavta has worked in three... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 12:00pm - 12:50pm


The Philanthropic Mind
The session is based on the results of our in-depth interviews with dozens of Canada’s top philanthropists and our recently published book The Philanthropic Mind. Through revealing quotes and rich anecdotes, we will elucidate the passions, motivations, defining experiences, likes, dislikes, joys and challenges of these givers. More importantly, we will shed light on what some might find very surprising about the actions and attitudes of these notable Canadians, many of whom are Jewish. Ultimately we will demonstrate that despite their wealth and the magnitude of their giving, they are - first and foremost - people.

avatar for Chuck English

Chuck English

Chuck English is a leader in the field of strategic marketing, providing expert consulting and counsel to businesses and not-for-profits for over twenty years. His successful firm, English Marketing Works, has improved the capacity of dozens of independent schools, fundraising organizations, and businesses by producing measurable results from their marketing investment. Chuck speaks at seminars and conferences, is an accomplished writer, and is... Read More →
avatar for Mo Lidsky

Mo Lidsky

Mo Lidsky is a principal at Prime Quadrant, an investment research and consulting firm. Previously, Mo was the co-founder of TMX Inc., FundCoaches, CharityBids, and Apex Global Capital. Mo served as the chief executive officer of Yeshiva University (Canada) and chairman of the THJ Foundation. Mo continues to serve on a number of boards and is the co-author of In Search of the Prime Quadrant: The Quest for Better Investment Decisions.

Sunday March 6, 2016 1:00pm - 1:50pm


The Gate of Tears: Joyful Sadness, Activism, and the Spiritual Path
Authentic spiritual practice embraces sadness and joy, spirituality and social justice, equanimity and emotion, seriousness and play. Living in the dynamic tensions between them is the subject of the sixth book by Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson, a book called The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path. The Gate of Tears is both a personal chronicle of Dr. Michaelson’s coming to terms with the loss of his mother, and a heartfelt spiritual teaching about the happiness that can coexist with the full range of human experience. Drawing on Jay’s fifteen years in Jewish, Buddhist, and LGBTQ spiritual communities, Jay's teaching is infused with a contemporary sensibility, skepticism, and, yes, even humor. And as a public figure who regularly appears on national media, Jay argues for an integration of political engagement and spiritual vulnerability

avatar for Jay Michaelson

Jay Michaelson

Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson is the author of six books and three hundred articles on religion, sexuality, law, and contemplative practice. He is a weekly columnist for the Daily Beast and the Forward newspaper, and is a frequent commentator on public affairs on National Public Radio. In 2010 and 2014 he won the New York Society of Professional Journalists’ award for opinion writing. | | Dr. Michaelson enjoys a second career as a scholar and... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 2:00pm - 2:50pm


Finding Judaism in Kenya
In 2008, Adam Hummel was a participant on a peacebuilding project to Kenya, a few months following that country's worst civil war. While, strangely enough, being shown how to pick tea in one of Kenya's numerous tea-fields, Adam was asked by a local girl: "Do you know what the parsha is this week?" Stunned, Adam began to ask questions and discovered a group of Kenyans who, once they had discovered Adam's faith, wanted to know everything they could about Judaism. That experience, coupled with the little known Zionist history found in Kenya, gave Adam the unique opportunity to explore his own Judaism and Jewish identity in a place where he least expected it. These experiences took place over four visits that Adam made to Kenya between 2008 and 2012, during which time he helped found the peacebuilding project "Youth Ambassadors for Peace." In his presentation, Adam will share these Jewish experiences, mixed with a little bit of Zionist history, in an effort to show how one's Judaism can both inspire, and be inspired, almost anywhere in the world.

avatar for Adam Hummel

Adam Hummel

Adam Hummel is a lawyer and founder of Youth Ambassadors for Peace. YAP is a grassroots peace-building project and youth group based in the rural village of Matongo in Western Kenya. The project was born in the aftermath of Kenya’s 2008 post-election violence, and is designed to both empower and bring together youths affected by that civil conflict. In the last six years, those Kenyans involved with YAP have helped initiate ten high... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 3:00pm - 3:50pm


Hakhel - Jewish Intentional Communities
Second only to the nuclear family, the Jewish community has been what binds Jews to our identity and fortifies our commitment to Jewish peoplehood. However, it appears that a paradigm shift is evolving in Jewish society, as a growing proportion of young adults do not identify with the traditional structures of Jewish communities, not to be confused with Judaism itself. Judaism has a long theoretical and practical tradition of what today would be called “Intentional Communities”, and session explores Jewish Intentional Communities as a new method for engaging young adults (and families) in Jewish life, drawing in part on the experience and knowledge of this movement within Israel.

avatar for Aharon Ariel Lavi

Aharon Ariel Lavi

Aharon Ariel Lavi is a serial social entrepreneur and a well-established community development professional, who believes that networks are the key to shaping our reality in the upcoming generation. Lavi is one of the founders and leaders of the Nettiot Mission-Driven Communities Network, reengaging Haredi Ba'aley Teshuva (Returnees) into Israeli society. He is also founder of Garin Shuva – A Jewish Eco-Mission-Driven-community on the... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 3:00pm - 3:50pm


A Jew at the WHO: Pandemic and Ebola Ethics in Jewish Law
Can public health authorities forcefully isolate and quarantine individuals with communicable diseases? Can humanitarian workers lie to save thousands of lives? What to do when vaccine supplies save millions of children but infect thousands with hepatitis B and HIV? How can Ebola vaccine research be carried out during an outbreak? Dr. Pakes will lead a discussion of these real-life public health and global health ethical dilemmas and use talmudic and responsa literature, as well as his own Global Health Ethical Reflection Matrix to begin to answer them.

avatar for Barry Pakes

Barry Pakes

Barry Pakes is a Public Health specialist physician, who also works in primary care and emergency medicine. He is a Royal College Fellow in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. His Doctor of Medicine was earned at the University of Toronto, his Microbiology/Immunology degree at McGill, his Masters in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health and his Diploma in Tropical Medicine from Cayetano Heredia and the Gorgas Institute in Lima... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 4:00pm - 4:50pm


Tackling Mental Health Stigma through Jewish Learning
My Chevrutah study session aims to reduce mental-health related stigma within Toronto’s diverse Jewish community through Torah text study. Although mental health stigma is a society-wide problem, existing research – coupled with my own experience – suggests that it manifests itself uniquely within the Jewish community. At the same time, I believe that our community possesses unique resources to combat mental health stigma – particularly Torah study itself. As such, I have chosen text study as a vehicle for having potentially uncomfortable conversations around this critical issue. We will examine biblical, talmudic, rabbinic, and Jewish historical texts, media articles, and personal narrative. From within our own tradition, we will counter judgement and blame, and even uncover direct contrasts to stigma – such as the dignity and holiness that can be bound with the pain of emotional distress and “mental illness.” This session has been created as part of my training in social work, in collaboration with Rochelle Goldman-Brown and The Chai Tikvah Foundation.

avatar for Aviva Bellman

Aviva Bellman

Aviva is a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) student at Smith College working with The Chai Tikvah Foundation on an initiative called the Jewish Mental Health Anti-Stigma Project. Her interest in mental health stigma – which she views as a social justice issue – and Jewish learning stems from her prior work in the area of Jewish social justice leadership training and education. Prior to beginning her studies in clinical social work... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 4:00pm - 4:50pm


Jewish Canadian Responses to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

This presentation will focus on the Canadian Jewish community’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis and put it in the context of previous such events. Our presenters have a full range of policy and implementation experience.  We will describe previous refugee crises, Canada's policies at the time and the role played by the Jewish community.  The Executive Director of JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Services) Toronto will talk about JIAS’ work with over 34 Jewish community groups, families and members of congregations to privately sponsor Syrian refugees. We will describe how these groups evolved and the issues they have faced.  Some of them have inspiring stories of how they came to sponsor and how they formed and grew their partnership groups.  We will hear directly from members of several of these groups who will describe their own experience and successes.

avatar for Naomi  Alboim

Naomi Alboim

Naomi Alboim is a Fellow, Adjunct Professor and Chair of the Policy Forum at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston. She is an active public policy consultant, advising governments and NGOs across Canada and in the Caribbean, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ghana and Kenya. | | Previously, Ms. Alboim worked at senior levels in the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments for twenty-five years, including eight... Read More →
avatar for Pippa Feinstein

Pippa Feinstein

Pippa Feinstein is a Toronto-based lawyer, researcher, and mediator dedicated to promoting social and environmental justice and helping to build more compassionate communities. She works in an interdisciplinary way to respond to the needs of grassroots organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and other sole practitioners. She has been a member of the First Narayever Congregation since childhood and is a member of... Read More →
avatar for Abby  Robins

Abby Robins

Abby has spent the last 15 years working in Communications for non-profit organizations. She has worked at Frontier College, JVS Toronto, Second Harvest, and the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation. Prior to 2001, Abby worked in television production for 15 years. She has volunteered as a literacy tutor, a CanSurmount visitor, a Coordinator of Hillel Children's Workshop, and a member of the City Shul Leadership Team. 
avatar for Janis Roth

Janis Roth

Janis Roth is the Executive Director of JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Services) Toronto. She earned both her Bachelor and Master of Social Work from McGill University and has been working in the social service field for 35 years within and connected to the Montreal and Toronto Jewish communities. Janis has received several awards for her academic achievements and work innovations including a James McGill Award, Canada’s Social Sciences and... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 5:00pm - 5:50pm


Our Choice of Hate and Intolerance – Us vs Us
“Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater”. George Washington Carver

I was almost destroyed. I was lost. I was angry. I was filled with hate and intolerance in my life. There was so much I didn’t understand and couldn’t know at the time. But along this path I was able to develop through introspection, by meeting some extraordinary modern “enemies” and in the process the hate and the intolerance I held for too long began to come down. And just as the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, so too did my own walls. East Berlin holds a special place for me ever since my momentous visit there in 1983 – the genesis of my story. Who knew, that personal liberation would have remarkable life changing consequences – including an unfathomable and unforeseen end to a bitter 42-year estrangement from my father.

avatar for Stuart Lewis

Stuart Lewis

Author of Us versus Us, An Intimate Journey of Letters and WallsStuart Lewis is a businessman living in Toronto. Born into a secular Jewish home, he grew up in a predominantly Jewish Toronto neighbourhood surrounded by families of Holocaust survivors. Despite the comfortable middle-class appearances, money was a constant struggle and when he was fourteen his father — a failed salesmen of the Willy Loman variety — abandoned home and family... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 5:00pm - 5:50pm