Second generation of Blums to lead young professionals and young families programming in Ottawa
Rabbi Leibel Blum, born and raised in Ottawa, is returning home this summer with his wife Shterna and their one-year-old son Levi, where they will be heading a new department at Ottawa Torah Centre (OTC) offering programming dedicated to reaching out and engaging young professionals, young Jewish families, and youth in Ottawa.
Growing up in Barrhaven, Leibel has a deep sense of responsibility for the Ottawa community and a passion to share the warmth of Judaism. Inspired by his parents, Rabbi Mendel and Dina Blum, he is looking forward to joining their efforts to nourish the OTC community.
“We are excited to move back to Ottawa and join the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Leibel. “We are looking forward to helping strengthen OTC’s programming and foster a young vibrant Jewish community, through bringing people together, arranging community programs, and engaging with the younger members of the Ottawa Jewish community.”
Leibel studied in rabbinical schools in Chicago, Toronto, England, and New York before receiving his Rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Yitzchok Yehuda Yeruslavski, who heads the central Chabad rabbinical court in Israel. He was studying at the Central Chabad Yeshiva in New York at the time of his ordination.
Inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe's love and concern for every Jew, he spent his time as an intern rabbi providing educational programs and Jewish outreach to Jewish communities across North America and beyond, including in England and Sweden. He has most recently worked at Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn, providing support and resources to Chabad centres across the globe.
Shterna was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica, where her parents founded and currently direct the country's Chabad activities. After attending a local elementary school, Shterna traveled to Brooklyn, to study at Beis Rivkah High School. Following her graduation, she spent a year in Israel immersed in an advanced Judaic studies program at Machon Shoshanat Yerushalayim in Jerusalem.
Upon returning to New York and completing her teacher training in Beth Rivkah’s Division of Higher Learning, Shterna spent time teaching at Hebrew Schools, directing Jewish day camps, and leading Jewish teen groups in various locations, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vilna Lithuania, Seattle, and her hometown San Jose, Costa Rica.
“This is a very exciting development for OTC,” explains Rabbi Mendel Blum, who founded OTC with his wife Dina in 1997. “Dina and I have made Ottawa our home, our children were all born and raised here, and were all part of OTC’s growth and development. It is very special to start seeing our children coming back to continue helping us build on our outreach work in the community.”
For more information about OTC and their programming, visit https://www.theotc.org/