Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation celebrates award winners

The Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation is proud to offer scholarships and grants with the shared purpose of benefiting our community and improving the lives of all Canadians. This year’s award winners were recognized on June 5 at the Foundation’s Annual General Meeting.

The Foundation is proud to offer the George Joseph Cooper Scholarship. George Cooper, who passed away in 2004, set up a personal insurance policy in which the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation was named the beneficiary agency with the purpose of creating a scholarship to support the arts.

The G.J. Cooper Scholarship Award, valued at approximately $16,000, is granted each year to support a member of the Ottawa Jewish Community who is between the ages of 18 and 30, who has displayed leadership qualities, and academic excellence and who has an interest in the Jewish Community. The award must be used for formal education or apprenticeship in the artistic, literary, or social sciences.

This year’s recipient is Lindsey Cogan. Cogan has an extensive resume of awards and community and leadership involvement, but in this time of heightened antisemitism, it’s her work with the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) that stands out. 

“Taking leadership roles has been central to both my personal and academic growth. My leadership has taken two main paths: through political realms and in Jewish organizations. My leadership experience politically, has revolved mostly around communications and strategic messaging. Through these efforts, I was able to work collaboratively with my executive team to promote events to encourage student engagement in politics, both through Women in International Security, and also the Carleton Campus Conservatives. After my year as a CJPAC fellow, I was so inspired that I stayed on as a a Senior Fellow and worked with both Jewish and non-Jewish students, to empower pro-Israel sentiment across the political spectrum in Canada. CJPAC sits nicely at the nexus between the Jewish community, and my involvement in politics.” says Cogan

“I am so humbled to be the recipient of the G.J. Cooper Scholarship this year. Ottawa has been such a welcoming home to me as I completed my undergraduate degree at Carleton University, and my involvement in the Jewish student community here has been at the core of my experience. Next year, I’ll be going to the University of Cambridge to complete my Masters in Environmental Policy, and this is no small feat. I will be challenged academically and financially. The financial assistance this scholarship is giving me is incredibly helpful in allowing me to pursue my next degree, and I am truly, beyond grateful.”

Among the grants is the Women’s Collective Philanthropy Program (WCPP) grant. The WCPP supports initiatives that strive to expand and improve opportunities and choices in the lives of women and children in Ottawa’s Jewish community; and funds innovative initiatives, training and education by individuals and/or organizations that help women and children in our community.

This year’s recipient is Suzi Shore Sauve from House to Home for “The Period Project.”

“House To Home Ottawa is thrilled to receive the Women’s Collective Endowment Grant for our Period Project. Being able to send feminine hygiene products to newly arrived refugee families is something that we know makes a difference. The feedback we have had in the past has been overwhelmingly positive. Unfortunately, we can only give these necessary products when funding is available and that can be a challenge. We are known for supplying furniture and household items to refugee families new to Canada, so these products are rarely donated. 

“These families move to Canada with nothing, and the products are very expensive to access. Our goal is to make sure that they have immediate access to sanitary napkins and tampons as well as toilet paper. We know that this program is life changing and we are honoured that this grant will allow 300 households to have access to their first supply of feminine hygiene products upon arrival in Canada.”

To highlight the impact of the program, Shore Sauve shares the story of “two women in their 20s who had just moved to Canada who cried when they received a box of pads and tampons amongst their furniture delivery.”

The next important Foundation grant is the Norman Lesh Philanthropy Award, which honours the legacy of Norman Lesh, who was born and raised in Ottawa, and renown for his commitment to the betterment of the Jewish and broader community.

The recipient(s) of The Norman Lesh Philanthropy Award (valued at $10,000) must propose an idea for an innovative and creative philanthropic, entrepreneurial activity that offers the potential for ongoing benefits to the Ottawa Jewish community, or surrounding communities.

Rabbi Adina Lewittes proposed the “Makom Manitou: Cimetiere Juif des Laurentides fundraiser” that potentially impacts many Jews in Ottawa with cottages in the area. 

“The goal is to professionally produce a concert of Leonard Cohen's music focusing on life, death, and the human condition with the intent to raise awareness of, interest in, and support for the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in the Laurentians,” says Lewittes.

“Currently, there are no Jewish burial grounds available to the substantial Jewish population from Montreal, Ottawa, and the Laurentians who are deeply devoted to this area and who would want to be laid to rest here. Inspired by Jewish values of inclusivity, sustainability, and accessibility, our cemetery will also welcome multifaith families, those who wish to incorporate green burial practices that align with Jewish tradition, and those not affiliated with a synagogue - a growing segment of the Jewish community,” Lewittes explains.

“At its heart, the Norman Lesh Philanthropy Award is about building community, and that's the essence of our vision for our green Jewish cemetery, Makom Manitou; a place to hold people together even beyond this existence, united by a shared appreciation for life, for family, for fellowship and for nature.”


Finally, the Ilana and Steven Rubin Education Scholarship is a special that was established in 2016 as a promise by Steven Rubin to his wife Ilana. The purpose of this $1,800 scholarship is to help high school students wishing to go to university or other institute of higher learning, in Canada or Israel.

This year, the committee was thrilled to offer the award to Naomi Marcelino. Naomi has been a part of Girls Inc. Durham as a volunteer and CIT where she worked with young girls to help them become strong, smart and bold leaders. She was able to take a trip downtown with the leadership class where they created and handed out care packages to the unhoused. In school, she is a part of the student council, and was a co-leader of a female empowerment group called the Riveters. Outside of school she is an Air Cadet and participates in many community service-related activities. “I believe I have received over 40 hours of community service from Air Cadets alone.”

Mazel tov and kol hakovod to all the deserving recipients.