The Soloway JCC recognizes youth leaders while welcoming new Board chair

Photo: Julia Silverstone and Morgan Shusterman, SJCC award winners.

By Pamela Rosenberg

The Soloway JCC is pleased to announce the appointment of their new Board Chair Jack Shinder along with awards for outstanding community members at their virtual Annual General Meeting on March 7.

Shinder steps into the role following Allan Shefrin, who chaired the SJCC’s board for two years.

“We are truly fortunate to have outstanding leadership at the JCC. Allan was instrumental in helping navigate the unprecedented experience of the pandemic. His calm and thoughtful approach was a comfort to our Board and staff,” says Barry Sohn, SJCC President & COO. “Jack is a proven community leader who displays great passion for our JCC and community. I am excited to work with Jack in moving forward to a post-pandemic experience.”

Shinder’s dedication to the community goes beyond the SJCC as he has had a long-lasting involvement with Jewish Family Services where he served as Chair of the Board. Under his leadership at the SJCC he would like to see the “SJCC as the centre of Jewish life in the Ottawa community and on a financial footing poised for growth and support for the next generation.”

Mike Aronson, recognized with Ben Karp Volunteer Service Award.

Among the highlights of the AGM were the special community awards.

Julia Silverstone and Morgan Shusterman, both grade 12 students at Sir Robert Borden High School were the winners of the Grossman Klein Teen Leadership Award for their dedication and service to the Jewish community, and the community at large, throughout their teenage years.

Silverstone has spent three years with A Ripple Effect, a program affiliated with Chabad of Centrepointe that gives Ottawa Jewish youth the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families dealing with challenges. When weekly visits with the children were no longer an option, due to the pandemic, Silverstone got creative and came up with activities like arts & crafts and baking over zoom, to stay connected with the children.

“I’m inspired by all the great organizations and role models I’ve seen do so much good while growing up in Ottawa,” says Silverstone. “Volunteering makes me feel empowered to be a small part of helping others in need in our community. I’m also inspired by the kids I’ve volunteered with who always are so excited for our visits no matter what challenges they may be facing.”

Silverstone has been an active participant in Chabad of Centrepointe’s Walk for Inclusion, helped provide meals during their drive-through meal delivery, handed out Chanukah gifts to children for A Ripple Effect, participated in holiday visits to Hillel Lodge and along with her mother, delivered meals throughout the community for The Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa during the lockdown.

She has raised funds for the Relay for Life cancer fundraiser at her school and co-organized a food drive for the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank in memory of a friend’s grandmother.

Meanwhile, co-winner Shusterman’s Jewish learning began at Temple Israel Hebrew School where she was a volunteer teaching assistant and eventually co-president of the FROSTY Youth Group. Together with her peers she volunteered at the Parkdale United Church - In from the Cold program and helped coordinate High Holiday toiletry drives.

An avid hockey player voted captain of her U18 team, Shusterman, and her team volunteer with Do It For Daron, Capital City Condors, Holiday Hamper fundraising for families in need, and most recently she organized a food drive to benefit the Barrhaven Food Cupboard.

When her friend Charlie was diagnosed with Leukemia several years ago, Shusterman organized a fundraising campaign selling hoodies and raising over $2500 for Candlelighters and the Chai Lifeline of Canada in Charlie’s honour. Recently Morgan tie-dyed and sold kids masks and donated the proceeds to Hillel Lodge and, on December 25 she spent the morning making to-go breakfasts at Paramedic Headquarters for the crew.

“I am in a very fortunate position and am motivated to do what I can to give back to my community,” says Shusterman. “This can be through small acts of kindness or large organized fundraisers. I enjoy doing what I can to positively impact the people in our community.”

A second special community recognition, the Ben Karp Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes a person who best exemplifies communal ideals and sets an ongoing example for others, went to SJCC past chair, Michael Aronson.

Aronson has been an integral part of the SJCC’s Board of Directors on two separate occasions. His first term was from 2006 to 2011 when he was a board member and Treasurer. He returned in 2016 and in 2018 became the chair.

Originally from Montreal, Aronson and his family have a long history with Jewish Community Centres. As a boy he spent Sundays at the YMYWHA in Montreal. When his family moved to Toronto his boys, Mark and Adam participated in programs at the JCC there and once they settled in Ottawa, they were regulars first at the Chapel Street JCC and then in the west end.

More than an integral part of the SJCC board for many years, Aronson is a valued SJCC member and frequent user of the centre who can often be found swimming laps in our pool or attending an Adult Cultural & Educational Program.

 - Pamela Rosenberg is the SJCC's VP Marketing, Communications, Membership & Development