MERCAZ-CANADA Board

Executive Board (3 year term)

David Sefton, President, was born in Berkhamsted, England and immigrated to Canada in 1952. He is a Civil Engineer involved in real estate, construction and Property Management. David is a founding member of Shaar Shalom Synagogue [1974], and presently sits on its Board of Governors. He is a Past President of Toronto Jewish Free Loan Cassa. David and his wife Marlene have two children and five grandchildren.

Stan Greenspan, 1st Vice President, was born in Trail, BC and raised in Toronto, ON, where he lives with his wife of over 39 years, Vanessa, and is the father of Nicole (Ramat Gan) & Jessie (Toronto). A graphic artist and internet developer, Stan graduated in the first baccalaureate class in Image Arts Programme from Ryerson Polytechnical University in Toronto. He operates Interactivepages in Toronto, working with many Jewish organizations. Stan has been involved in both synagogue organization and Federation of Jewish men's Clubs (FJMC) for over 30 years, beginning at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue and at the Sunnybrook Hospital Jewish Chapel, which he worked to build. Stan helped form the chapel's Men's Club, and coordinated the Toronto Brotherhood Shabbat Programme. Stan served FJMC as the Great Lakes Region Vice President, as President of the Ontario SubRegion, as a founding member and President of the Lake Ontario Region, and 1st Vice President on the International Executive. In July of 2017, he will become the first Canadian citizen and resident since 1979 to become FJMC's International President. Stan travels extensively for the FJMC, leading training programs around the continent. Stan recently earned his private pilot licenses for the USA and Canada and may be found in the air at the controls on sunny days.

Catherine Epstein, Secretary, was born in Lachine, Quebec and has lived in a number of Canadian cities including Halifax and London. She now resides in Vancouver with her husband and 3 children. Catherine was employed for ten years with the Royal Bank of Canada, specializing in the areas of Retail, Audit and Human Resources. Her numerous volunteer activities include being a member of the Canadian Hadassah-WIZO National Executive Board and serving as a National Trainer for Hadassah-WIZO. In 2005 she was the Publicity Chairperson for their National Convention. Catherine has served as a Board Member of The Women's League of Congregation Beth Israel and Fundraising Chairperson and President for the synagogue. She fundraises for her children's school and is also a Lab Instructor/Docent of school programs at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Arthur Andrews, Treasurer, was born and raised in Toronto. He is involved with Beth Tzedec Synagogue, Toronto, where he has been a member for over 50 years, where he served on the board of Directors, and as Chairman of Beth Tzedec Memorial. Art is on the Executive of the Beth Tzedec Men's Club, and Chairs the Beth Tzedec Golf Classic. He is the owner of Arcade Press Limited. Art and his wife, Carole, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

Marion (Blonder) Mayman, Immediate Past President, was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Married to Shlomo, they have 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, and 5 grandchildren. In 1957 she and her husband made aliyah to Israel, where they lived for 5 years. They currently live in Toronto. Marion is President of MERCAZ-Canada and Vice President of MERCAZ Olami. She also serves on the Va'ad HaPoel of the World Zionist Organization and as a committee member of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors. She Chairs the Speakers Bureau of the Israel Committee of USCJ. She also sits on the Boards of the Canadian Zionist Federation, the Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism and JNF Toronto. In the past Marion has been National President of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, President of Agudath Israel Congregation (Ottawa), and President of JNF Ottawa.

Board members (2 year term)

Lou Bracey, Calgary

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Toronto, is the Anne & Max Tanenbaum Senior Rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto. He is deeply involved in work across the Jewish community. Rabbi Frydman-Kohl has been involved with UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and has served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly of Ontario and the Toronto Board of Rabbis. He helped to initiate the Jewish Leadership program of the Kellogg School of Management, serves on the University of Toronto's Jewish Studies Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly. The recipient of a Coolidge Fellowship for research in an inter-faith community at the Episcopal Divinity School at Harvard University, Rabbi Frydman-Kohl is a leader in interfaith activity in Canada, helping to organize the Path of Abraham missions to the Holy Land and serving as a member of the Canadian Jewish-Catholic Consultation process. He has doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. Rabbi Frydman-Kohl and Josette, his wife, are the parents of Yakov (married to Sarah), Rafi, and Amir (married to Amanda), and proud grandparents.

David Goldberg, Toronto, is one of Canada's leading authorities on issues affecting Israel's government and politics, relations with its Arab and Muslim neighbours and the broader international community, Israel-Diaspora affairs, Canada-Israel bilateral relations and Canada's Middle East policy. David holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from McGill University. He is an author of and contributor to multiple books, chapters, scholarly articles and reviews. Following teaching International Relations at York University, and a long career of service in Canadian Jewish communal organizations, including Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East, Canadian Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and the Canada-Israel Committee, David established Dynamic Global Information Service, an independent research, education and policy analysis consulting firm specializing in issues affecting Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish world. He completed a long-term contract as Educational Consultant/Project Manager for "None Is Too Many", Canadian Jewish Congress's project with the Canadian government designed to memorialize the historical injustice epitomized in Canada's 1939 refusal to admit more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism aboard the ocean liner, M.S. St. Louis. A native of Toronto, David is an active member of Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am, founding the Israel Committee and serving in various other leadership capacities.

Ron Hoffman, Toronto, is a lawyer and businessman with a passion for involvement in Jewish life in Toronto. He is the current President of the Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism and a past President of JNF Canada. He is the Chairman of the Board of JNF Toronto and serves on JNF Canada's National Board with a responsibility for community outreach. Ron has served as Chair of the Reena Foundation, Vice President of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (Ontario Region), Treasurer of Adath Israel Congregation and President of its Brotherhood. Ron is a recipient of the Shem Tov Award given by UJA Federation for exemplary involvement and leadership and was Toronto Chair of the JNF Mega-Tour in 1990. Ron and his wife, Heather have been blessed with children, Russell and Lori, Russell's wife Amy and grandchildren, Samantha and Jake.

Irving (Irv) Nitkin, Vancouver, born and raised in Montreal, graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor and Master of Engineering. Irv and his wife, Betty (Zeisler), moved to Vancouver, where he continued his career as a structural engineer. Joining Congregation Beth Israel, they became active in Men's Club, Women's League and a number of committees. Irv served as Ritual Committee Chair and President. Moving to Congregation Har El, West Vancouver, Irv served as Ritual and Education Vice-President and Art and Education Co-Chair. He is also a member of Congregation EmanuEl in Victoria, home to his grandson. Irv is active in USCJ Pacific Northwest Region, serving as Regional President for five years and Vice-President of International USCJ, in charge of Service to Congregations. Irv is active in JNF, CZF and the Jewish Community Centre, holding several Executive positions. Retired from engineering, and in between meetings at Har El, he fills his spare time with other volunteer work in the Community as well as a mainly unsuccessful attempt to learn the cello.

Trudy Sassoon, Toronto, is a very active member of Shaar Shalom, Thornhill, Sisterhood. She has occupied herself with many Sisterhood projects while serving on the Executive and Board and as President, also serving as President of Canadian Seaway Branch of Women's League for Conservative Judaism. Trudy was honoured as WLCJ Branch Sisterhoods' Women of Achievement for the Torah Fund and Eishet Chayil by her synagogue for all she has done over the years. Trudy sits on the Board of the Toronto Jewish Book Fair, Children's section, choosing books and booking programmes. Trudy and her husband, Claude, moved from Montreal in August 1977 and have a daughter, Lila.

Randy Schwartz, Winnipeg, holds a Certificate in Management, and has been an Administrative Assistant in the Infectious Diseases Department at a major Winnipeg hospital for over 27 years. Also very active at her congregation in Winnipeg, Randy is a Past President of Rosh Pina Sisterhood. She also served on the Executive Committee and as a member of the Synagogue Merger Steering Committee (merging three Winnipeg Synagogues), Chairing the Catering Merger Committee, the Sisterhood Merger Committee and the Official Opening of Congregation Etz Chayim. She served on the Executive Committee of the newly formed congregation and Chaired the Catering Committee. Randy is the Immediate Past President of Midwest Region Women's League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ) and is an International Vice President of WLCJ. Randy has one son, Jory, who is an Interior Designer in New York.

Rabbi David Seed, Toronto, is Associate Rabbi of Adath Israel Congregation, Toronto. He served as Secretary of the Toronto Board of Rabbis and President of the Ontario Region of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis and is active on both its Social Action Committee and Resolutions Committee. Born in New London, Connecticut, Rabbi Seed attended the Joint Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University and was ordained by the Seminary. He also received his Master of Social Work from Columbia University. Rabbi Seed has always had an interest in social action projects and the mitzvah of gemilut chasadim, acts of loving kindness, and has helped to create meaningful programs at Adath Israel. He has also been involved with interfaith activities in the community and sits on the board of the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto.

Judy Silver, London, has her Master of Library and Information Science from University of Western Ontario. She is the owner/manager of Silver Lining Information Solutions, an Internet marketing firm, which has existed since 1995. Judy volunteers for many organizations. In Regina and Winnipeg, she was an active member of her synagogue board, an ORT Executive Member, and Hadassah-WIZO Executive Member. Currently, Judy lives in London, Ontario. She is involved with the Or Shalom Theatre Troupe, serves on the Chevra Kadisha and as the Or Shalom Librarian. Her involvement in Hadassah-WIZO continues as Vice President of the London Council and a National Executive Board member.

Howie Sniderman, Edmonton, is Chairman of the litigation department with the law firm Witten LLP in Edmonton, Alberta. He has served as the Chairman of Maccabi Canada-Edmonton and of Camp BB-Riback in Alberta. Howie held a variety of Executive positions with the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and has represented the Jewish Federation of Edmonton on the Canadian Jewish Congress and UIA Canada. Howie is a Past President of Beth Shalom Synagogue, Edmonton, and serves as a member of the International Board of Directors of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and as President Elect of USCJ's Northern Pacific Region.

Miriam Telem, Toronto

Board members (3 year term)

Uriel Bard, Toronto, born in 1967 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Uriel's family made Aliyah when he was six months old. After completing his army service, Uriel came to Toronto to complete a B.Sc. in Computer Science from York University before returning to Israel. He also holds an M.B.A from Tel-Aviv University. In January 2016, Uriel returned to Canada reuniting with his family. While in Israel, in addition to a career in the IT industry, Uriel was always involved in the Masorti Movement: as a youth leader in NOAM- the Masorti youth movement, and as cantor in Kehillot Moriah, Haifa, and Tiferet Shalom, Tel Aviv. Uriel also participated in Kolot (Voices)- beit midrash for social action leadership, and studied Talmud at the Schechter Institute of Jewish studies in Jerusalem. Uriel is passionate about building bridges between the Jewish streams here and in Israel, also creating awareness of these movements within the Israeli secular community.

Rabbi David Bluman, Vancouver, is a native of Vancouver, BC. He graduated with a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia. During his undergraduate studies he traveled to Israel to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he met his wife, Olga. After university, David studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and in May 2009 he received Rabbinic Ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA. He began his rabbinate at Kadima Day School in West Hills, CA, as the School Rabbi. Rabbi Bluman joined Congregation Beth Israel in 2013, as the Director of Youth Engagement. He is in charge of the Hebrew School, USY, Chai School, B'nai Mitzvah class and the young adults program.

Fran Caine, Toronto, was born in Rochester New York, and attended university in Buffalo. After marrying her husband, Sy, they moved to Toronto, joining Beth David. Eventually, Fran, with Sy and other families, formed a new congregation, Sharei Tikvah, in the Don Mills area. After some time Sharei Tikvah merged with a Bayview group to form Beth Tikvah. Fran was a founding member of the Beth Tikvah choir, and has been singing with them for over forty years. In addition, Fran was a founding member of the Beth Tikvah Sisterhood, where she became active on the board. Over the years Fran became more active in both Beth Tikvah Sisterhood and Women's League of Conservative Judaism, holding many positions and becoming Beth Tikvah Sisterhood President in 2000. For the last two years Fran served as Vice President and President of the WLCJ International Northeast Region. Fran is also active in UJA and as a Baycrest Hospital volunteer.

Marilyn Cohen, Toronto, was the previous Executive Director of MERCAZ-Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism. Marilyn has worked as the Alumni Coordinator for Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT); sat on the Boards of UJA Federation Women's Division and Women's League for Conservative Judaism (Canadian Seaway Branch & International Board), and as an Executive and Board member of Beth Tikvah Synagogue, Toronto. In recognition for her work at Beth Tikvah, she received a Volunteer of the Year award from the City of North York and, together with her husband Bob, the 2002 Ateret Kavod Award from United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Canadian Region. Their two daughters, Naomi & Debra, are also very involved in the Jewish community.

Eleanor Diamond, Montreal

Nola Lazar, Winnipeg, was born, raised and educated in Winnipeg, and is an active volunteer in her local Jewish community. She held positions on two Synagogue boards (Beth Israel, and Congregation Etz Chayim) and served as Branch Co-Chair for National Council of Jewish Women. Passionate about increasing youth involvement in the synagogue, Nola Chairs the Congregation Etz Chayim Youth Committee, and oversees successful programs, such as weekly Junior Congregation, Purim Carnival, Family Fun Nights and Tu B'Shevat Seder. Nola and her husband, Dr. Matthew Lazar, developed the annual Passover Chocolate Seder, where the attendance has grown from year to year. Trained in design, Nola expresses her love of Judaism through art in various media. Her most recent project is painting Jewish themes on silk for Tallitot. Nola's four children attend the Gray Academy of Jewish Education.

Max Marmer, Toronto, was born and bred in Toronto. He has been involved in Jewish life and the Jewish community all his life. Throughout his middle and high school years, Max was an active member of the Eastern Canadian Region of United Synagogue Youth (ECRUSY), serving as an international Vice President for one term. Max has a degree in Administartive Studies from York University in Toronto. More recently, Max served as the ECRUSY Director of Youth Activities. He was selected as a youth delegate for Masorti Olami to the World Zionist Organization Congress in 2015. Max continues to be committed to Jewish youth development and is deeply involved in synagogue life.

Rabbi Philip Scheim, Toronto, is the spiritual leader of Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am Congregation in North York, Ontario. Rabbi Scheim came to Beth David in 1981, as Assistant Rabbi under the late Rabbi Albert Pappenheim z"l. He assumed the senior rabbinic post in August 1984. Rabbi Scheim received his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1981, where he earned his M.A. in Rabbinics in 1980. His B.A. in Jewish Studies was earned at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec in 1976. Rabbi Scheim sits on the boards of MERCAZ-Canada and Masorti-Olami, as well as several other charitable and service organizations in Canada and Israel. He serves on the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement, on the Administrative Committee and the Executive Council of the Rabbinical Assembly, and is a member of the Chancellor's Cabinet of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was co-editor of Megillat HaShoah, a Holocaust liturgy produced by the Rabbinical Assembly and Schechter Institute of Israel.

David Roytenberg, Ottawa, was born in Winnipeg and grew up near Montreal. He has been a life-long supporter of the State of Israel and the Conservative movement. David marked his becoming Bar Mitzvah at the Sha'ar Shalom Conservative Synagogue in Laval Quebec in 1969. In his youth he was a member of Canadian Young Judea, spending a summer in Israel in 1973 and a nine-month period on the Shnat Hachsharah program on Kibbutz K'far Glickson in 1974-1975, before serving as Mazkir Ezor of Eastern Region in 1975-76. David married Dora Benbaruk at Agudath Israel Synagogue, Ottawa, in 1992 and is the proud father of Jonathan and Michael. He completed a Master of Computer Science at Carleton University in 1996. David served for six years as a member of the board of Agudath Israel Congregation in Ottawa and is currently serving as First Vice President and Ritual Committee Chair for the congregation. For the past 20 years David has worked as an independent consultant providing software design and development services to clients in the public and private sector.

Elaine Sharfe, Saskatoon, serves numerous local and national boards. Positions include President of Agudas Israel, Saskatoon, her local Hadassah-WIZO, the Persephone Theatre, a regional professional company, and the Civic Auditorium. She founded the Osteoporosis Society in Saskatoon, served as its first President, and was on the national board of the Osteoporosis Society of Canada. She began the Women's Division for UIA, Saskatoon, served as Chair and sat on the National Board for the Women's Division of UIA. Other appointments include the City Council's Race Relations Committee and Allocations Committee for Theatre, Arts and Sports. Elaine Chaired the Transportation Committee the year the Summer Games were in Saskatoon, and was on the Board of Directors for the Saskatoon Craft Council. Elaine has written travel articles published in a number of papers and periodicals. She has published a children's book and is currently working on another. Elaine and her husband, Sherwood, have four children and fifteen grandchildren. They winter in Boca Raton, Florida, where they are members of the Conservative Synagogue, B'nai Torah and spend several weeks a year in Israel.

Stephen Werger, Toronto, has been actively involved at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda, Toronto, for many years. He has served as President of the Board of Directors and the Men's Club. Stephen has served on many committees as Chair or member, and is currently serving as the co-Chair of the cantor search committee. Stephen married Beth 28 years ago at Beth Emeth. Their children, Tanya and Sam, grew up at Beth Emeth. He has also served as a co-Chair of the Eastern Canadian Region of United Synagogue Youth (ECRUSY) regional council. In 2016, Stephen became President of the Canadian Council of Conservative Synagogues. Stephen looks forward to contributing to the board of MERCAZ-Canada.

Charles Wrock, Toronto