President: Michael Aronovici, BComm, CA
Michael is the President of Interaction Restaurants Group Inc., a restaurant management and holding company that has been operating in Canada since 1988. He has been involved with brands such as Pizza Hut, Starbucks Coffee, Cultures and most recently, PF Chang’s China Bistro. In addition to his foodservice business experience, Michael has sat on several boards including Prime Restaurants Group (TSX-EAT), the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, and as a representative of a large Canadian Institutional investor. Michael is a graduate of McGill University.
Past President: Saul Carliner, PhD, CTDP
Saul Carliner is a Professor of Education at Concordia University and director of graduate programs in educational technology and university teaching. Also an industry consultant, he is the author of over 200 publications, including the recently published An Overview of Training and Development: Why Training Matters (with Margaret Driscoll, Lakewood Media). He is a past chair of allocations committees for FederationCJA, past board member of the Reconstructionist Jewish Federation, and a graduate of the Harry Kay Leadership Development Program of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish Federations.
Secretary | Treasurer: Bill Itovitch, CPA, CA
Bill is Vice President, Finance of Quantum Management Services, specializing in recruitment and staffing. He currently serves as Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of Ometz, where he is also the Chair of both the Finance and Audit Committees. Bill also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the BDH Community Foundation. Prior to working with Ometz, he served as Treasurer of the Edinburgh Home and School Association. He is a graduate of McGill University. Bill is married and the father of three children.
Vice-President: Ruth Bensimon Choueke, BA
Ruth received her BA degree from McGill University. With a strong passion for sales, she quickly used those skills for the many volunteering activities she has done for the past 15 years. Ruth sat on the board of the Akiva School for three years, where she was in charge of fundraising. She was an active volunteer for all five Ometz “A Chance to Shine” galas and chaired the event twice. She continued in the field of volunteering by acting as Chair for many high profile fundraising events for a number of Montreal organizations, including Migdal Ohr, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Jewish General Hospital, Bialik High School, Ometz, and Federation CJA. Ruth is married and has three children.
Yvonne Bensimon, BA, Med
Yvonne received her BA from Queens College of the City University of New York and her MEd from McGill University. She has taught French at the high school level, both at Outremont (PSBGM) and Bialik High Schools, and at the elementary level at UTT in Chomedey, Laval. She also taught in continuing education at John Abbott College. Yvonne was principal of the Snowdon United Talmud Torahs (UTT) elementary school from 1986-94 and 1997-2008. During the early years, she oversaw the Welcome Classes, a Quebec initiative which introduced new immigrants to the French language (mainly children from the former Soviet Union) and she worked in close collaboration with the former Jewish Family Services (JFS) and the Bronfman Jewish Education Centre (BJEC). UTT was also the first Jewish day school to accept Ethiopian children and Yvonne again worked with JFS to ensure their needs would be met. Yvonne was Co-Chair of the Chomedey division of CJA in the 1970’s and delivered Meals-on-Wheels to seniors, through the Jewish Convalescent Hospital’s program. In 1979, she received the Young Leadership award from the Allied Jewish Community Services. Yvonne is married and has two children and six grandchildren.
Jeffrey Berkowitz is President and founder of Aurora Realty Consultants Inc., a leading brokerage and consulting firm working with and representing many of the top retailers around the world. Started in 1989 with an office in Montreal, today, the company operates across Canada as well as branches in the United States and Europe. International projects involving retailers, developers and landlords have included such markets as the Middle East, Russia, Central America and Japan. In 2017, Mr. Berkowitz co-founded Halcyon Brands – an operating platform set to license and joint-venture with international retail concepts for North America - expanding bricks & mortar, e-commerce and wholesale development. In addition to his business ventures, Mr. Berkowitz is actively involved in his community and sits on numerous volunteer boards. His involvement has included camps for underprivileged children, workshops for intellectually and physically handicapped individuals, mentoring young entrepreneurs and fundraising for numerous institutions. He holds a joint honours history degree, Certificate in Management and Diploma in Real Estate, all from McGill University. He lives in Montreal with his wife and 3 children.
Igor Bernadski, CPA, CA
Igor is a chartered accountant and a graduate of McGill University. He is currently the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at Thinking Capital, a rapidly growing company within the Canadian fintech industry. Prior to that, Igor worked in the Richter US Consulting group for five years specializing in business restructuring, turnaround and transaction support. Igor also worked in Ernst & Young for three years in the audit and assurance division. Igor is married and has a baby boy.
Rob Fainer, CIM
Rob Fainer, CIM, is a Senior Investment Advisor with Manulife Securities’ Fainer Wealth Group, and is an active member of Montreal’s Jewish community. With a passion for providing opportunities to those in need, and a special interest in new leadership development, Rob draws inspiration from the leaders before him who have paved the way with good governance. Rob’s community involvement began in 2007 when he became a mentor through Ometz’s mentorship program. After being paired with an incredible young mentee, their relationship grew into a friendship that continues to this day. In 2008, Rob began to re-establish his deep personal and familial roots with the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA by engaging in various fundraising activities and pursuing leadership roles at the Ben Weider JCC. In 2010, he co-Chaired the Georges St-Pierre: Lutte Pour La Jeunesse fundraiser. In 2015 and 2016, he co-Chaired the YM-YWHA Golf Tournaments. Today, Rob is a Director of the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA where he is the co-Chair of fundraising development, and co-Chair of governance. As well, he sits on the finance committee, the HFRMS committee, and the building enhancement committee. Rob is a past Governor of the YM-YWHA Foundation. In 2006, Rob graduated from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business with a Bachelor of Commerce; he completed part of his studies on exchange in the South of France, at SKEMA Business School. Immediately thereafter, Rob became an Investment Advisor and Financial Security Advisor with Manulife Securities. In 2013, Rob earned his Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation and formed the Fainer Wealth Group.
Linda Schachter, BA, BCL, LLB
Linda graduated in Civil Law and Common Law from McGill University in 1989. She began her career in Civil and Corporate litigation, and is currently the Managing Partner at Devine Schachter Polak, a boutique firm which specializes exclusively in Matrimonial and Estate Law. She has lectured at numerous conferences and universities and has co-authored publications and the book: “Droit De La Famille Jurisprudence en Tableaux 2009”. She is a member of the Quebec and Montreal Bar Associations and sits as a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation. She has also been active in community having sat on the Board of JPS-Bialik for many years as well as the former Jewish Family Services Agency. She is married with three sons.
Joel Shalit, B.Comm, LLB, BCL, MBA
Joel is Managing Director and Partner of Seville Capital, a real estate private investment fund based in Montreal. Prior to founding Seville Capital, Joel was an attorney at a large international law firm based in New York City, and was President of Duo Display, a tradeshow display business based in Montreal. Joel currently serves a member of the Board of Directors of Federation CJA. He is a Past President of the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA Montreal Jewish Community Centres, and has served as a member of the Y Country Camp Management Committee, as well as on various subcommittees of the Y. Joel is a graduate of McGill University. His is married and the proud father of two beautiful girls.
Cynthia Telio, MSW
Cynthia was a clinical social worker and supervisor for over 30 years, working as an Intake Worker at Centre de Service Social (CSS) Jewish Family Services, and then as a school social worker and Clinical Supervisor at Baron de Hirsch, and then at Ometz. Now retired from Ometz, she is a member of the Ometz Exceptional Case Committee. Cynthia has served on the Board of Temple Emanu'El-Beth-Sholom and is Co-Chair of the Jewish Interfaith Family Forum (JIFF), providing Information and support to couples, families and grandparents who are in an interfaith family. Cynthia is married, a mother of two and a grandmother of two.
Alon Wexler BComm, CPA, CA, CBV
Alon Wexler is a partner at Richter with more than 15 years of experience specializing in business valuation and transaction advisory services. Prior to that, he worked in Richter’s Assurance division. He is a frequent lecturer for the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec for business valuation and corporate finance courses, since 2011; a member of the Board of Directors of Ometz since 2013 and a member of the Board of Trustees of Hebrew Foundation School, since 2015. Alon graduated from McGill University. He is married with two young children.
Amy Fish is the Ombudsperson at Concordia University. She is the author of the upcoming "I Wanted Fries With That: How to Ask for What You Want and Get What You Need" coming out in October, as well as the previously published "The ART of Complaining Effectively." Amy has an MHSc from the Department of Community Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a BA in American Studies and Psych from Brandeis University. She has been active in the community as a Board Member of Camp Kinneret and has served on several committees at Federation CJA and the Y. Amy is married and has three kids.
Karen is a Pediatric Allergist. She received her medical degree from the University of Western Ontario and completed her Pediatric residency and Allergy subspecialty at McGill University. She is affiliated with the Montreal Children’s Hospital as well as Hospital Maisonneuve Rosemont. She also works at The Children’s Clinic. She specializes in the management of food allergies and is an Assistant Professor at McGill University. She is an Osler Fellow and mentors McGill medical students. She has been active in the Montreal Jewish Community for a number of years. She is a Past-President of Akiva School and Camp Massad. She is a past Board member of BJEC. She is a past chair of the Allocations and Community Relations Commmittee as well as the Governance committee of FCJA. She is married and the proud mother of four boys.
Gail Small – Chief Executive Officer
Gail Small has spent her entire career working and volunteering for non-profit organizations, and has assumed a number of leadership positions in the broader Montreal community. She started off as director of Health and Physical Education at the Montreal YWCA, was executive director of the women’s shelter Auberge Transition, and was executive director of the Farha Foundation, Quebec’s leading AIDS fundraising organization. After completing her MBA at Concordia University, Gail joined the team at Jewish Family Services, where she soon became Executive Director. In 2008, she helped spearhead the successful merger of three major social service agencies (Jewish Family Services, Jewish Employment Montreal and Jewish Immigrant Aid Services) which gave rise to Ometz, where she currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Gail is the recipient of the Federation Professional Excellence Award for exemplary professional performance and service to the Jewish community. Gail’s most recent volunteer experiences have been as a Board Member of the JCC and of the BDH-Back River Cemeteries. She also continues to serve as the Executive Director of the Baron de Hirsch Community Foundation.
Dominique McCaughey – Chief Strategy and Development Officer
A recognized leader in philanthropy, community development, and strategic engagement, Dominique McCaughey is Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Ometz. Dominique dedicated the early part of her career to working on community economic development in the Montreal Jewish community, including Jewish Family Services (JFS). She eventually served as a board member at both JFS and Ometz. Prior to returning to Ometz in her current capacity, Dominique had a successful career in law starting first at the national firm Borden Ladner Gervais and then pursuing her specific interests in family and trust law at the Montreal firm Robinson Sheppard Shapiro. She was recruited by Concordia University in 2006 to join and eventually lead a newly formed sector of Advancement professionals, where she became Associate Vice President, Lead Gifts and Presidential Engagement. Dominique comes to Ometz having led large, multi-stakeholder teams through transformational initiatives, in addition to numerous annual, planned, major and principal gift campaigns. Her mandate is to ensure and maintain organizational strength, development and sustainability at Ometz. Dominique has a BA and MA from Concordia University and her BCL and LLB McGill University.
Susan Karpman – Chief Program Officer
Susan Karpman has been a leader in Jewish communal service throughout her career. Susan began at Project Genesis, eventually becoming its Senior Executive. She worked at Allied Jewish Community Services (now Federation CJA) for many years as a Planning Associate. For over twenty years, she has been a senior manager at Jewish Family Services (now Ometz) recently moving into the newly created position of Chief Program Officer. Susan is a founding Board Member of Kehilla Montreal, an organization whose mission is to identify and create affordable housing initiatives responsive to the needs of the Montreal Jewish community. She has a keen interest and involvement in programs, services and initiatives supporting and helping vulnerable and marginal groups and an advocate for social justice, assuring the protection of access to liberties, rights, and opportunities. In 2009, Susan was the recipient of the Federation Professional Excellence Award for exemplary professional performance and service to the Jewish community. She has a Master of Social Work from McGill University.
Barbara Victor – Chief Clinical Officer
Barbara Victor is the Chief Clinical Officer at Ometz. She has extensive experience in the educational, counselling and social services fields. As a consultant for both public and private school systems, Jewish and non-Jewish in Montreal, she is responsible for initiating state of the art support services for schools, teachers, students and their families. Barbara’s approach to education and counselling centres around the “whole child” and “strength-based practice”, emphasizing strengths, resiliency and the enhancement of child, familial and community protective factors. She is also responsible for Counselling services to individuals, couples, children and families at Ometz. Barbara received her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Marriage and Family Counselling from McGill University. She has been a lecturer at McGill University in the Faculties of Education and Social Work and an Advisory Member for Health Canada, having worked on several projects which identify strategies for dealing with mental health issues of children and families. Barbara is a guest speaker at conferences, schools, and synagogues on the topics of protective factors for children, support for families and building safe environments in schools. Barbara has led a team of experts in developing a Toolkit for Canadian schools on bullying, as a partner of the Jasmin Roy Foundation. This Toolkit is available for schools and parents across Canada.