Board of Directors

Linda Hershkovitz


Linda Hershkovitz is a native of Toronto and president of the New Israel Fund of Canada…

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She has a BA from the University of Toronto, an MA from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD from the University of British Columbia in economic geography and development studies with a focus on China. She is a former faculty member of the Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto, has lived and worked extensively in Asia, and served as Cultural Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. For the past two decades she has worked as an independent consultant in international development, specializing in gender equality and women’s rights. She has provided socioeconomic research, gender analysis, monitoring and evaluation, training and capacity development to the Canadian government, the UK government, the EU, UN agencies, international NGOs and the private sector. Through her work, she has become passionate about the role of civil society in holding governments accountable in defence of democracy, human rights and social justice.

Lorne Cappe

Vice President

Lorne is a professional Architect, Urban Designer and City Planner with over 35 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors…

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Lorne worked for many years for the City of Toronto in City Planning, Urban Design and as a Project Manager on many large City building projects. He currently teaches at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto. Lorne is a past Chair of the Toronto Society of Architects and on the Ontario Association of Architects Governing Council. For the past four years, Lorne has been on the Board of the First Narayever Congregation and was previously on the Founding Board of the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School as well as on the Board of Kehilla Residential Program. Lorne has been on the Board of the New Israel Fund of Canada since becoming incredibly moved and committed during the NIFC study tour in 2017.

Joseph Steiner


Joey’s career in volunteer Jewish community service has largely revolved around Jewish education…

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 He is a member of the Board of Bialik Hebrew Day School (and served as its president for four years in the early 1990s). He has been a member of the Board of Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School. Joey is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools and served on the task force which negotiated the merger of five North American day school networks/service organizations which created Prizmah. Previously, he was on the board of Hillel of Greater Toronto (subsequently merged into Hillel Ontario), which, at the time, served three universities and several colleges in the Toronto area.

Joey is an associate member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, where he served as chair of the budget and finance subcommittee for education. He currently serves on the Jewish Agency’s Israel Engagement Committee, the Subcommittee on Programs of the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Budget and Finance Committee itself. Joey serves on the Board of the Canadian Friends of the Shalom Hartman Institute and on the consolidated board of that Institute, which is based in Jerusalem and New York. He has been chair of the former Board of Jewish Education in Toronto and chair of the Board of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.

Joey is married to Elaine Steiner who was, for many years, a teacher at United Synagogue Day School (now Robbins Hebrew Academy), the Solomon Schechter school in Toronto.

Syvanne Avitzur

Syvanne Avitzur is a trilingual (English/French/Hebrew) Israeli-born Canadian who is working towards her M.A. in Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa as well as working as a researcher and project coordinator in the environmental policy space.

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She is an NIFC New Generations Leadership Council Member, a 2024-2025 NIFC Naomi Chazan Fellow, and a former volunteer with NIF in Jerusalem who cares deeply about NIF’s mission and promoting human rights and equality in the region. Passionate about active citizenship and engagement, Avitzur has worked in several capacities to establish experiential learning opportunities with various stakeholders and titleholders, working towards meaningful participation within governments and the United Nations. She has experience as a Middle East and North Africa Researcher, focusing on women and queer activism movements as well as the effects of climate change in the Levant.

Sylvia Bashevkin

Sylvia Bashevkin is a Toronto-based writer and researcher, best known for her work on women’s political participation.

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A professor emerita in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, she is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds an honorary doctor of letters degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Bashevkin’s scholarly distinctions include the Canadian Political Science Association Prize in International Relations, the Bertha Lutz Prize for highest quality public writing and research on women in diplomacy from the International Studies Association/SOAS, the Mildred Schwartz Lifetime Achievement Award in Canadian Politics from the American Political Science Association, the Jill Vickers Prize from the Canadian Political Science Association and the Ursula Franklin Award in Gender Studies from the Royal Society. She has won numerous public recognitions including the 2020 Woman of Distinction award in the field of education from YWCA Toronto. Bashevkin is the author of books including Women as Foreign Policy Leaders: National Security and Gender Politics in Superpower America (Oxford University Press, 2018); Women, Power, Politics: The Hidden Story of Canada’s Unfinished Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2009); Tales of Two Cities: Women and Municipal Restructuring in London and Toronto (UBC Press, 2006); Welfare Hot Buttons: Women, Work and Social Policy Reform (University of Toronto Press, 2002); and Women on the Defensive: Living Through Conservative Times (University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Esther Enkin

Esther Enkin was appointed Ombudsman for CBC’s English Services in November 2012. She retired from the position in 2019.

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 Ms. Enkin has over 25 years of journalism experience with CBC News, and is widely recognized in Canada and abroad for her knowledge and leadership in the field of journalistic ethics, theory and practice. Until her nomination as CBC Ombudsman, she was Executive Editor of CBC News, where she was responsible for the quality of CBC journalism, overseeing the development of policy and ensuring CBC’s journalistic standards were met nationally and regionally, on all platforms. In 2010, she, along with a colleague from Radio Canada, was in charge of the rewriting and redevelopment of CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. She provided close to 2,000 employees with training on the new Standards and Practices. Before that, Ms. Enkin was Deputy Editor in Chief for CBC News. In that capacity, she ensured compliance with CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices throughout CBC and managed the integration of radio, television and on-line news. She had begun working on the integration of newsrooms and newsgathering processes in her previous position as Director of Content Development. Prior to that, Ms. Enkin occupied several key positions at CBC News, including Head of Information Programming and Chief Journalist, Deputy Managing Editor, Senior Assignment Editor, Senior Editor for the World at Six and Field Producer for The Journal, where her documentaries won several international journalism awards.

Ms. Enkin earned a Bachelor of Journalism Honors degree from Carleton University. She is Vice-
President of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, and serves on the Ethics
Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Mark Finkelstein

Originally from Zimbabwe, Mark is a CPA, CA (South Africa and Canada). He has degrees in Accounting and Commerce from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and has worked in various industries, globally.

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He is currently CFO at a family office in Toronto.

Amongst his community involvement; he is actively involved in Habonim Dror South Africa and Kaleidoscope, and was on the board of Bialik Hebrew Day School and Chair of the Canadian Adult March of the Living.

Ariel Katz

Ariel Katz is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. 

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Professor Katz received his LL.B. and LL.M from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his SJD from the University of Toronto. His general area of research involves economic analysis of competition law and intellectual property law, with allied interests in electronic commerce, pharmaceutical regulation, the regulation of international trade, and particularly the intersection of these fields. Between 2009 and 2012 Professor Katz was the Director of the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy. Prior to joining the University of Toronto Professor Katz was a staff attorney at the Israeli Competition Authority. Since joining the Faculty of Law, Professor Katz has taught courses on intellectual property, constitutional law, cyberlaw, and the intersection of competition law and intellectual property. He shares some of his current thoughts on these issues on his blog.  

Maytal Kowalski

Maytal Kowalski is a Canadian-Israeli digital marketing and fundraising strategist, with over 10 years experience working with non-profits and charities within Canada and the US.

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She began her career as the Production Coordinator for the Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto, has worked for The Second City, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Thomas Ltd, and is now the Manager of Marketing Strategy at Vancouver Foundation. Maytal is also the co-founder of Press Pause Collective, a fundraising and marketing consulting collective, focusing on inclusive and equitable practices within the field. Clients include Cycle Toronto, Heart to Heart, and JQT Vancouver.
In addition to her expertise in marketing and fundraising, Maytal is a classically trained dancer, circus performer, dog foster-parent, and pet mom to Sydney the cat and Pezmo the dog.

Michael Mitchell

Michael Mitchell is a Vice-Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and an Arbitrator/Mediator in private practice.

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Michael was a senior partner at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, a leading labour law firm in Toronto and Ottawa for almost forty years, where he also served as the managing partner.

Michael  was the co -author of the Changing Workplace Review, a process and Report published for the Ontario Government in 2017. He is the co-author of the leading textbook on the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Michael was President of  the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, and the President of Darchei Noam, the Toronto Reconstructionist Congregation. He is a long time donor and supporter of the New Israel Fund and participated in the NIFC study tour of Israel  in 2018.

Michael is married to Lynne Mitchell, has three daughters, Rachel, Alisa and Sara, and has six grandchildren.

Trudy Shecter

Trudy Shecter is an Honours graduate of the University of Toronto…

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She holds a Masters Degree in Contemporary Jewish Studies from Brandeis University and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons College. She also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has succeeded in various careers including non-profit and business management, fundraising, immigrant resettlement, marketing and administration. She has been an active community volunteer since the age of 13. She served as a member of the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for more than ten years. Until recently, Ms Shecter was a member of the Ontario Review Board and is currently a member of the Consent and Capacity Board. Importantly, Ms Shecter was the founding Managing Director of the New Israel Fund of Canada from 1986 until 1990. The vision and values of NIF speak to Ms Shecter’s soul and passion. She sees her key role as a fundraiser for NIFC.

Karen Shiller

Karen is a native of Montreal but has lived most of her adult life in Toronto and Ottawa. She is an active member of the newly established NIFC Ottawa Leadership team and a passionate
supporter of NIFC since participating in an NIF study day in Jerusalem in 2019.

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Karen holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a Major in Industrial Relations from McGill University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto and a TESL graduate diploma from Algonquin College (Ottawa). In 2017, Karen retired from ten years of settlement work and teaching English as a second language to newcomers to Canada. In the past, she has also worked as a Project Officer for the Institute on Governance conducting governance studies for the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC), the Volunteer Bureau of Ottawa-Carleton (now Volunteer Ottawa) and Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre. Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1983,
Karen was an Associate Lawyer practicing in the commercial field at Tory, Tory, Deslauriers & Binnington (Toronto) until 1988 and at Soloway, Wright (Ottawa) until 1994.

Since 1988, Karen has been an active volunteer in the Ottawa community sharing her experience in law, governance and business management. She has been a board member and held executive positions for non-profit community groups including Temple Israel (Ottawa), Star of David Hebrew School, the Ottawa Public Library Board, LearnIT2Teach, and the ODSCB Task Force on Learning for Living Mental Health program.

Tema Smith

Tema Smith is a diversity advocate, writer and Jewish community builder.

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 She is currently the Director of Jewish Outreach and Partnerships at the Anti-Defamation League. She was previously Director of Professional Development at 18Doors (formerly 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.

Tema is also a contributing columnist at The Forward whose writing has been published in MyJewishLearning, the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Jewish News. Tema is dedicated to building a meaningful and inclusive Jewish community through research, training, writing, and relational engagement work. Her leadership and commitment to the future vibrancy and vitality of the Jewish community have been honoured with a 2022 JPro Young Professionals Award.

Over the past ten years, Tema has worked to advance the conversation on racially diverse Judaism and antiracism in the Jewish community, working with organizations like Be’chol Lashon, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Miles Nadal JCC, and CJPAC and conducting trainings and presentations for numerous synagogues and Jewish organizations, including the Boston JCRC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Hillel International, Limmud North America, the JCRC of Greater Washington, the Buffalo JCRC, Hadassah, the AJC, Drexel University, the Women of Reform Judaism, Virginia Commonwealth
University, Harvard and the ADL.

Tema is also a member of the Nexus Task Force examining the issues at the nexus of Israel and Antisemitism in America hosted at the Knight Program in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and an IPFAtid Bronfman Convener at the Israel Policy Forum.

Before beginning her career in Jewish communal service, Tema was a graduate student in Religion and Politics and Early Judaism under the supervision of the former Canada Research Chair in Modern Jewish Thought at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, during which time she spent a year in Jerusalem studying at the Hebrew University and seeing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and social issues in Israel firsthand.

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