Hilla Keren grew up on a religious Kibbutz in Israel, near the Jordan River, that celebrated agriculture and Jewish life. From 1986 to 2014 she lived and worked as a social worker in Maryland and was an active member of the East Bank Havurah, an egalitarian fellowship promoting the joyful participatory practice of Judaism for people of diverse backgrounds and ages. Hilla taught Bar and Bat Mitzvah lessons to children and adults and led Jewish prayers and community celebrations.
From 2005 to 2009 Hilla was an active member of the Living Room Dialogue and Love Thy Neighbor both of which are dedicated to improving Jewish-Palestinian relations and promoting peace and understanding between the two groups. In March 2014 Hilla moved to Toronto to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She joined the DJC in the fall of 2014 & has been active in community events, multi-faith programs, and the choir. She recently led a Shiva service for a DJC member and has helped lead a Rosh Chodesh group in Toronto.
Hilla has more than 20 years of experience in individual, couples, group, and family therapy with a passion for helping people achieve true healing. In her work, Hilla always leads with her heart, integrating the theory, skills, and knowledge obtained through years of experience into an intuitive process that goes beyond typical talk therapy. Hilla is looking forward to working with this wonderful, welcoming community.
Josh Greenhut and his wife Susan Rich have been members of the DJC since 2003; their 11-year-old Jonah and 8-year-old Sadie both attend the DJC school. Growing from a “high-holiday only” DJCer, to a hesitant member of the Fundraising Committee, and now to a member of the Board, Josh loves this community, in all its diversity, full-heartedness, and willingness to wrestle with big questions. Professionally, Josh is a researcher and brand strategist, working with companies to figure out and articulate who they are and what they stand for. He brings the same keen ear and respect for common vision to the DJC. In his spare time, Josh likes cycling, live indie rock, and playing monster with his kids.
Nadya has been involved in the DJC for 10 years. She was one of the founders of the DJC’s B’nei Mitzvah program; her elder son was in the first B’nei Mitzvah year, and her younger son was in the 2012-13 year. Both her sons also had individual Bar Mitzvahs at the DJC.
Nadya’s passion for the DJC centres on commitment to creating an open, thought-provoking, alternative and widely inclusive Jewish community. Understanding progressive Jewish community as a place that both welcomes and honours the diversity that walks through our doors, that centres mixed-faith and queer families, Jews of colour, those with disabilities or less access to economic resources, and all those who may often tend to be ‘outsiders’ to Jewish community, is an aspect of the DJC that is close to her heart and that she seeks to support and strengthen. A critical, thoughtful approach to Palestinian rights and peace in Israel/Palestine is also an aspect of the DJC to which she is committed. In her working life, Nadya is a sociologist and Associate Professor in the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University.
Shelley, his wife Keri Levine and their two children, Isabel and Ethan, are relative newcomers to the DJC. The Levines live in Riverdale and moved from a larger distant synagogue to the more intimate DJC. The move has been a most welcome change in their Jewish lives as they now can enjoy attending a neighbourhood shul with friends and family. Shelley and Keri especially value the easy-going approach the DJC brings to their Jewish life and the diversity of programming. Shelley has a small law firm specializing in the areas of Immigration, Refugee, and Family law. Shelley also teaches Immigration and Refugee law at the University of Western Ontario. When Shelley is not working, he enjoys photography, coaching hockey, playing squash, and skiing with the family.
Emma Firsten-Kaufman has been attending DJC services and events for half her life and is excited by the opportunity to be involved with the Board. With a Jewish identity borne of secular Sunday school, religious summer camp, and international volunteer work, she was committed to reconnecting as an adult to a Jewish community inclusive of the breadth of Jewish experience. Emma has a Masters of Public Health degree and works at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where she is dedicated to making Ontario’s health system more coordinated, accessible, and evidence-based. When not working, she is mostly practicing Spanish, doodling, or dancing.
Mara and her family have been members of the DJC for over 10 years. Mara and her spouse have two children, both of whom attend the Jewish studies program at the DJC. Mara’s oldest child will be attending the B’nai Mitzvah program next year. In addition to being a mother of two very active children, Mara works full time in the criminal justice system and is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she teaches Criminal Procedure. Mara comes to the DJC Board with many years of board experience, having been on the board of a number of different not-for-profit agencies over the past twenty years. When not at work or with her family, Mara can be found playing hockey at her local hockey rink.
Amelia has been attending the DJC for over a decade. The DJC gave her a place and a motivation to re-embrace her Judaism after becoming disaffected as a youth. As an East-ender, Amelia was thrilled to find a religious home that resonated, not only on a spiritual level but on a social justice one as well. Amelia feels the embrace of the DJC as its open arms gathers in the diversity of Judaism that resides in this city.
Professionally, Amelia is a lawyer with an exclusive practice in Workplace Harassment Investigations and Mediations. With a passion for Human Rights, Amelia has previously sat on a number of Boards and Committees including at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and on the City of Toronto’s Committee for LGBTQ issues. As a busy single mom to twin boys, becoming a Board Member at the DJC is her first foray back into “giving back” in a while, slightly shifting her world away from skateboard parks and video games.
Tammi Geraci has been an active member of the DJC community since 2013 when she joined having eagerly served as a volunteer. Soon after becoming a member Tammi joined the Member Engagement Committee and has since facilitated in bringing engaging programs to the DJC including Jewish Folk Dancing and the DJC Chai Party. She became the Co-Chair of the Member Engagement Committee in 2016. Tammi marched with the DJC in the 2014 World Pride Parade, and co-founded the DJC Pride Committee in 2016 of which she is the Co-Chair. This Committee develops initiatives where the DJC can be supportive of our LGBTQ members. Also, since 2014, Tammi has been a regular voice singing with the DJC Community Choir throughout the year and at the High Holy Days.
Having obtained an Honours’ degree in Recording Arts Management from the Harris Institute for the Arts in Toronto, Tammi has since managed diverse artist. Tammi is involved in writing original folk/rock songs for performance and publication. Her artistry also includes constructing window ornaments using crystals, precious stones and refashioned jewellery and, as well, she is an accredited professional cook.
Tammi is enthusiastic and brings fresh vitality to the Board with a vision of what will enhance our sense of community and belonging.
Janice found her way to DJC as she sought to become more active with Judaism in recent years and wanted something more progressive than the small, orthodox shul her extended family was attending. She has been a member since 2011 and her children are going through the B’Nei Mitzvah program (2017 and 2019).
Janice is the principal at The Linden School — a progressive, not-for-profit k-12 girls’ school in central Toronto whose mission and values are very similar to the DJC’s. She has been an educator in public and private schools since 1994 and before that was in medical engineering.
Janice is committed to fitness and wishes she had more time for sports (especially squash which she played competitively in university and also long-distance running). She loves singing and playing guitar and has a long history of studying music.