Sandra Glass, President
Sandra is a graduate of the University of Windsor. She has held executive positions in the not-for-profit and public sectors in Ontario and in BC. She moved to Victoria in 1998 to take up a position as a projects’ director responsible for publications, consultations, policy analyses and resource development. Her work included the responsibility for acquiring and managing multi-million-dollar government funded contracts. She has been a volunteer board member of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria for several years and volunteers for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. In 2015, Sandra founded the Victoria International Jewish Film Festival which is in its 6th year. It has continued to offer Jewish-themed cinema to our community during Covid-19 by mounting both a drive-in and a virtual film festival for 2020. She is proud of her three sons, their families and her two granddaughters in BC and Ontario and hopes to actually visit with them in the not-too-distant future but virtual visits will have to do while we are patiently waiting.
Larry Gontovnick, Vice-President
Larry was born and grew up in Montreal. He has a BSc degree in chemistry from McGill University and a PhD degree in pharmacology from UBC. He was a Medical Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. He ran the clinical trials departments for the Canadian affiliates of two major pharmaceutical companies and then headed drug development for a couple of start-up biotechnology companies in Vancouver. Larry moved to Victoria in 2006 and retired at the end of 2010. Since his retirement, Larry has served on the boards of several community organizations. He is currently President of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria and has been on the board of JFVVI since 2011.
Selma Linzer, Past-President
Victoria has been home to Selma and her husband Jack Mayer for 13 years now. In that time, she has served on the boards of Jewish Family Services, The Jewish Burial Society, The Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island, CHW Victoria (Hadassah Wizo), and her home based strata corp council. It has also been her honour to volunteer at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria with their speaker’s program and the week-end fairs. She has, with small committees, created and organized two End of Life Symposiums within the Jewish community and with Jewish Family Services, she introduced the Jewish Holiday Food basket program. It has been a primary goal to help foster a united community that is inclusive and tolerant of and helpful to all.
Peter Freedman, Treasurer
Peter Freedman is a retired IT professional who moved to Victoria with his wife, Leah, in 2011. He operated an independent consulting practice from Toronto specializing in software design and project management of healthcare and health benefits systems with clients worldwide. In Victoria he operated a mobile device game development company with his son through to the end of 2018.
Peter is an avid gardener who volunteers at the Horticultural Centre for the Pacific. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Burial Society and has served on the Boards of the Victoria Society for Humanistic Judaism, the Friends of Government House and the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.
Jeff Kushner, Secretary
Following a career as a project leader in the resource industry, and as a volunteer in the homeless sector and at Temple Bnai Tikvah in Calgary, Jeff and his partner Randall retired to Victoria about 5 years ago to enjoy all that the west coast has to offer. Jeff immediately began his new career as a community volunteer. As a member of Congregation Emanu-El he served on the House Committee and on the Avodah team and has been on the JFVVI Executive for the past 3 years. Jeff is also an active Crew member of the Oak Bay Offshore Search and Rescue squadron. While not serving in the community, Jeff enjoys being out on the water in any type of boat and outside doing house and yard work.
- Arlene Ackerman – Arlene is JFVVI’s connection to the up Island Jewish communities, where she serves as the President of the Central Vancouver Island Jewish Community Society.
- Aaron Devor – Aaron served as the Past-President of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island from 2016-2020. He was President of JFVVI 2012-2016. He was the Victoria Board Member of Hillel BC 2007-2017 and the Jewish member on the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (2005-2010). He was a President, Past-President, VP, and board member of Congregation Emanuel 1999-2003. He founded and holds the world’s only Chair in Transgender Studies, founded and serve as the Academic Director of the world’s largest Transgender Archives, and founded and host the international and interdisciplinary Moving Trans History Forward conferences. He has published three books, many scholarly articles, and delivered more than 30 keynote addresses around the world. He is a national-award-winning teacher, a Fellow of two scholarly societies, a former Dean of Graduate Studies (2002-2012), and a professor of Sociology, at the University of Victoria.
- Sharon Kobrinsky – Sharon is a registered social worker who has lived in Victoria since 1992. She has served as the Ceremonial Leader and Board Member for the Victoria Society for Humanistic Judaism since 1998, is a board member of the Victoria Multifaith Society, and served as Jewish Chaplain at the University of Victoria for four years.
- Michael Roth – Michael is dad to two amazing young adults who grew up in the safe loving embrace of the Vancouver Island Jewish community. He is committed to give something back to the same community who helped raise his children and the families and individuals who have yet to experience the support of the JFVVI. Having previously served for a short time on the board of the JFVVI he is looking forward to taking on an active role working with the other members of the Board.
- Lindy Shortt – Lindy has lived in Victoria for over 35 years, is actively involved with Chabad of Vancouver Island, but has also served in many capacities on the Board and committees of Congregation Emanu-El and volunteered extensively for other Jewish organizations represented in Victoria. Her husband Stan was a founding member of JFVVI and served on the board for several years.
- Ora Stefanic – Ora was born in Even Yehuda, Israel and immigrated to Canada after her service in the IDF Medical Corps. She is currently the Director of the Hillel BC in Victoria and runs the Aleph Bet Jewish Montessori Program in Victoria.
Click here to download a copy of the JFVVI Constitution and Bylaws.