Annual Report

2021 Annual Report

Report from JIAS Toronto Leadership

Dear Friends, 

It is a privilege to lead an organization that elevates, educates, and empowers immigrants and refugees. For the past 99 years, JIAS has supported waves of immigrants and refugees from different countries who have chosen to make Canada their home. JIAS was founded to support Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Eastern Europe because of pogroms and persecution. While our original client base has expanded to include newcomers from all faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, what has remained unchanged is our commitment to our Jewish values to welcome the stranger with dignity and respect. Our Jewish history, teachings, and values, combined with our mandate as a settlement agency charge us with the moral imperative to continue to welcome the stranger, stand up for injustices, help the vulnerable, and combat racism. 

Our Annual Report covers the period of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. In July 2020, we were a little over 100 days into the pandemic and we were operating remotely. 

While we did not know much about the future, what we did know with certainty were three things: that our commitment to ensure that each and every client had access to services and programs was unwavering; that our dedication to our staff’s safety and wellbeing was paramount; and that the way we operated moving forward would forever be transformed. 

Like most other organizations we had to rethink, re-examine, and redesign how we approached our work. This process forced us to realign our approaches to be more client-centric; think differently about outcomes, deliverables, and communication; address issues of organizational systems and processes; and reframe how we use quantitative and qualitative data to better inform decisions. In looking back at the past year, I am so proud of the individual and collective contributions of our staff and volunteers. While we still have a lot of work to do, their efforts have elevated our work, our impact, our clients, our organization, and each other. 

A huge thank you to our many partners, funders, and donors. We are grateful for your support and our trusted relationships. 

We look forward in 2022 to celebrating our 100th anniversary. There will be many opportunities to become involved at JIAS, whether it be sharing your family’s immigration story, planning programs, attending events, or helping fundraise. Follow us on social media or join our mailing list to stayed informed about JIAS anniversary announcements. 

Thank you,
Elise Herzig
Executive Director

play button

AGM remarks by Anna Morgan, JIAS Toronto Chair

play button

For some, immigration is a choice. For refugees, leaving home is not a choice. The poem “Home” by Warsan Shire gives a voice to the experience of refugees.

Highlights of the Year

July 1, 2020

Meeting with Citizenship Judge Albert Wong 

Executive Director Elise Herzig spoke with Citizenship Judge Albert Wong, who has sworn in more than 100 000 new Canadians – with enthusiasm, warmth and humour. 

July 16, 2020

Summer School Support for Yazidi Children 

JIAS staff and volunteers packed and delivered boxes of school supplies to Yazidi children participating in our innovative summer virtual program, which enhanced our ongoing settlement work with the Yazidi community. 

July 27, 2020

Bike Drive for Refugees 

Volunteers donated bikes, and Barry’s Bikeyard provided bike repairs pro-bono to ensure that our clients received safe and beautiful bikes to enjoy! 

September 16, 2020

Rosh Hashanah Packages 

JIAS Toronto board members and volunteers delivered Rosh Hashanah packages to recent newcomers. 

November 22, 2020

JIAS at Limud Toronto 

JIAS staff spoke at Limmud Toronto to discuss the challenges of fulfilling the mitzvah of welcoming the stranger during COVID-19. 

February 25, 2021

Staff Purim Photo 

JIAS Staff enjoy participating in the UJA Purim photo challenge each year. 

March 7, 2021

Refugee Shabbat 

JIAS Executive Director Elise Herzig participated in an international panel about how global Jewish communities are working on behalf of displaced people. 

March 17, 2021

Entrepreneurship workshop with Naama Blonder, Eliav Kling etc. 

Former JIAS clients Naama Blonder Revital Kling and Eliav Kling spoke with newcomers about entrepreneurship and how to make your business idea a success in Canada. 

April 15, 2021

Yazidi Vaccine Info Session 

Leading Experts Dr. Issac Bogoch and Dr. Chaim Bell spoke with Yazidi clients about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.


The dedication of our volunteers is one the greatest strengths of JIAS. Enjoy reading about our recent 2021/22 volunteer award recipients.

Tyna Silver

Tyna has worked with a newcomer family from Eritrea for over four years. She is deeply involved with each of the eight family members. She has tutored the children, monitored their educational progress, and advocated for the family in the school system. In addition, she has planned activities for the entire family and even recruited additional volunteers to provide family support.

Debbie Talker

Debbie has dedicated five years to assisting a Yazidi family. She frequently visits the family, helps the children with homework, communicates with the school to ensure they are aware of the family’s circumstances, and assists with medical appointments. Debbie is their best friend, trusted confident and source of advice.

Guido Smit

Guido has supported three Yazidi families since they arrived in Canada in 2017. Each family is comprised of a single mother with young children. Between them, there is a total of 10 children. Guido is a role model for the teen boys, mentoring them and encouraging them to pursue their dreams in the safety of their new home in Canada.

Oleg Tchaossovski

Oleg created a Welcome Circle for newcomers from Ukraine. He and the rest of the Welcome Circle helped a mother and her two teenage sons apply for their social insurance numbers and financial assistance. In addition, they provided food, accompanied the family to appointments and assisted in searching for housing.

Oded Hubert

Oded has volunteered with a wide range of newcomers. He has organized summer programs for kids, assisted clients in developing their social and professional networks and accompanied them to job interviews. In addition, he has tutored children and mentored teens. Oded has a profound understanding of newcomers’ challenges, enabling him to provide exceptional support and anticipate client needs. 

Elliot Lerner

Elliot has been volunteering with JIAS since 2000. He was the very first volunteer for the Telephone Language Companion program, and then he continued volunteering when this program was replaced with the English Conversation Circles. He has helped countless clients improve their language skills. He has had so many great connections with our clients, and for many of them, he became more like a Family-to-Family volunteer. He continues to be in touch with many of the clients today.

Our Donors

Thank you to the support of our generous donors, without whom we would not be able to fulfill our mandate.

Shai Abraham
Olga Abramova
Svetlana Abramzon
Judy Adelman-Gershon
Judy Adler Lotin
Elena Aleinikov
Segal Alexandra
Binyamin Anno
Ilana Arnold
Kojo Asiedu
Lloyd Atkinson
Del Atwood
Mindy Avrich-Skapinker
Rimma Badat
Sofia Balanovsky
Anita Balter
Benjamin Barankin
Janet Barkhouse
Rebecca Barr
Simon Bartal
Mizrachi Bayit
Barbara Beck
Estera Bekier
Boris & Diana Beliavsky
Tatyana Ben Daniel
Natalia Ben Shimon
The Benevity Community Impact Fund
Alexandre Berliant
Maya Berlovich
Franklin & Ellen Bialystok
Mila Bilenka
Alexander Black
Klavdia Blinder
Miriam Bloch
Elena Bloch
Jodi & Eric Block
Naama Blonder
Tali Boritz
Natalya Bourloutsky
Gregory Braverman
Zelma Brestescher
Omni Bridgeway
Jennie Brodski
Anna Bronfman
Sharona Brookman
Stanley M Brooks
David Brown
Mitchell & Susan Brown & Family
Leila Bull
Aliea Butt
Judy Cass
Bill Chadwick
Lodmila Cherkassky
Larisa Chernenko
Asya Cherniak
Mitchell Clarin
Andrew Cohen
Alexander Cohen
Jack Colman
Susan Crisp
Noa Cuperfain
Ari Cuperfain
David & Reni Cuperfain
Joanne D’Addio
Elena Demi
Karthika Devarajan
Peter Diamant
Miriam & Frumie Diamond
Leah Direnfeld
Daniel Drucker
Janet & Edwin Durbin
Paul Michael Egri
Carl Ehrlich
Karen Elkin
Elana Ellison
EMR Shielding Solutions
Elizabeth Ennis
Naomi Epstein
Yana Erlich
Ganit Eshel
Inara Faerchtein
Michael Fagenblat
Corinne Farber
Karyn Farber
Alexander Fedorovsky
Lisa Feld
Marilyn Feldman
Debbie Fischer
Tamar Flanders
Guy Flig
Alissa Forman
Allan Fox
Brenda Fox
Yaroslav Freidlin
Olga Freiman
Sabrina Friedman
Harvey Frisch

Judith Gabor
Reva Garber
Rocha Garber
Steven Garmaise & Sue Rebick
Roman Gelfenbein
Alexander Gelman
Cheryl Giblon
Elizabet Gindin
Irina Gnatovsky
Allan Gold
Michael & Nancy Goldberg
Marty Goldberg
Mandy Goldberg
Hilary Goldenberg
Karen Goldenberg
Fern & Sheldon Goldhar
Yudel & Fania Goldman
Victoria Golzman
Seth Goren
Madeleine Gottesman
Alexander Gov
Sherry Graham
Ena & Moshe Greengarten
Mary-Louise Greer
Evan Gropper
Carrie Grossman
Kenneth Gruber
Guta Grushka
Linda Gruson
Carole Gruson
Etia Guberman
Michael Gurevich
Moises Gutfrajnd
Paul Hacker
Stephen & Carol Handelman
Zandrea Harlin
Ora Harris
Harvey & Annice Frisch Family Foundation
Madina Hasin
Tamara Hauerstock
Alex Hdalevich
Kenneth Held
Hart Heller
Elaine Herer
Liza Hersh
Jeffrey Hertz
Jack Herzig
Elise Herzig & Ron Cuperfain
Gayle Holtzman
Darlene Horlick
Marlyn Horowitz
Hove Cocksfield Limited Partnership
Tova Hovich
Oded Hubert
Stephen Hughes
Adam Hummel
David Hummel
Martha Hundert
Mark Hundert
Maurice Iankelevic
Lana Israel
Jacqueline Israilovici
Evgenia Izraitel
Daphne Jackson
Gayle & Jeffrey Jackson
Leora Jackson
Sybil Jackson
Elik Jaeger
Ellen Jaffe
The John Herbert Foundation
Daniel Joffe
Eliezer Kalnitsky
Ian Kalushner
Claude Kandiyoti
Harvey Kaplovitch
Michael Katchen
Joana Katter
Kerri Kelland
Sergei Kessler
Evgenia Khrapkin
Joel Kirsh
Irina Kischitzky
Tatiana Kiseleva
Kim Klaiman
Josef Kleiman
Suzanne Klein
Martin Klein
Miriam Erlichman & Eli Klein
Adrianne Klemensberg
Hal Koblin
Margarita Konyavsky
Alexander Koots
Steven Korda
Aaron Korman
Marina Korostelev
Estelle Kosoy
Ludmila Kotliyar

Sima Koyfman
Miriam Kramer
Nina Kramer
Naomi Kramer
Bella Kremener
Matvey Kudlov
Anna Kulikov
Elaine Kuretzky
Raisa Kushnier
Amilia Kvint
Iris Lahan
Nelle Lakien
Deborah Lambert
David Lander
Sara Lantsman
Shari Lash
Ariel Lasry
Jennifer Lazar
Linda Lazzam
Arcady Leidershnaider
Gloria Lepofsky
Semion Lerner
Semion Lerner
Robin and Paul Leszner
Mikhail Levine
Boris Levitin
Zoe Levitt
Malka Lewittes & Elan Pratzer
Valery Libenzon
Angela Lipper
Camcian Lubov
Yuriy Ludkovskyy
Grigori Lvovich
Anne Hertz
Kirill Malev
Leonid Malkov
Marina Mandelzweig
Paul Marcus
Shelly Markel
Ann Marsh
Ilana Masas
Viviane and Tito Massouda
Igor Matushansky
Octaviana Matushansky -Obodan
Lisa & Steve McDonald
Jerry McIntosh
Gennady Mezibovsky
Michael Mindel
Karen Minden
Svetlana Miretsky
Galina Monakov
James Moncarz
Diana Monnet
Anna Morgan
Catherine Morrow
Konstantin Mushkin
Martin Nathanson
Leah Nemirovski
Phil Newman
Cindy Ng
Renata Nirenburg
Erica Oielgisser
Mitchell Ornstein & Alexandra Kuperman
Maria Ostrobrod
Leon Ostrobrod
Brenda Patlik
Brandon Pearl
Rafail Pekar
Ana Pekar
Tali Pelich
Craig Perkins
Winston Persaud
Alexandr Pipko
Devora Pister
Boris Polovitzky
Zeev Priborkin
Rosie Prince
Tal Prodensky
The Prosserman Family
Ada Pustylnik
Judy Rapkin
Ted & Cathy Rechtshaffen
Barry Richler
Mary Richmond
Yakov Risin
Irina Riskin
Abby Robins
Minga Roebuck
Nanette Rosen
Gili Rosen
Beverley & Les Rothschild
Raya Rozenberg
Janet Ryval
Karina Sadetzki
Arielle Salama
Alan & Lorraine Sandler
Howard Sandys

Zion Sasson
Brenda Sawyer
Adam Scherer
Daniel H. Schild
Miriam Schneeweiss
Yana Schvarzberg
Rise Schwartz
Donald & Fay Schwartz
Evgenia Scoblo
Amy Segal
Alina Segal
Ed Segalowitz
Elena Selizer
Jennifer Senior
Paul Seppala
The Sharna Foundation
Ilana Shawn
Nina Shchypkova
Martha Shea
Rimma Sheikhman
Mara Sheinman
Joseph Zev Shiffman
Regina Shikher
Tatyana Shkolnik
Yaakov Shnaiderman
Jennifer Shneer
Elad Shoval
Irena Shtelman
Esfira Shvartz
Alisa Siegel
Evgueni Silaev
Carol Silverstein
Benjamin Singer
Savi Singh
David Slabodnik
Jay Slater
Elaine & James Slater
Myra Slutsky
Michael Slutzki
Nahum & Tatiana Smirin
Lea Soibelman
Aharon Solodukhin
Leonid Sonkin
Ella Sotto
Agnes Stark
Paul Sterescu
Philip Stern
Raymond Stone
Olga Stovichek
Boris Strimling
Igal Sudman
Wodek Szemberg
Larisa Tatur
Olga Taubkin
Zefer Tehlemariam
Faye & Michael Thorek
Michael Tkach
Leonid Trachtenberg
Samantha Traub
Marina Troyansky
Felix Tsetlin
Tatyana Tsitrinel
Julia Tsukernik
Ellen Turkienicz
Madeline Turkienicz
Turks Head Holdings Inc.
Michael Tzipelovan
Dmitry Usyatynsky
Leonard Vanek
Valter Varshevsky
Vladimir Varsovki
Gennady Verkh
Rozalya Vitevski
Alexander Volk
Lorie Waisberg
Shimona Waldston
Susan Waller
Mark Walsh
Reesa Wasser
Steve Weber
Susan Weinberg
Sharon Weintraub
Howard Wetston
Gilda Ann Whyne
Kelly Wood
Wendy Wright
Beverley Young
Dyanoosh Youssefi
Hana Zadovich
Nazil Zaidov
Galina Zatitski
Vitaly Zayler
Marina Zigler
Anatol Ziller
Amalia Zisman
Bari Zittell
Moses Znaimer
Natalia Zolotnitsky
Peter Zukovski

Constituent Groups

We would like to thank our constituent groups who support refugees in partnership with JIAS Toronto.

Beit Tzion Shul
Beth Tzedec
Bornstein Group
BUDD Family
City Shul
Danforth Jewish Circle Social
justice committee
Dawit Demoz, Family and
Gabreselassie Family
LaJeunese Family
Mandel Family
Misra Group
Nebo’s Horizon
New Beginning/Beth Tikvah
Northern Lights Canada
Oraynu congregation

RUN Hong Kong
Shaarei Torah & Temple Emmanuel
Temple Sinai
The Bridge
The Naomi Project
Toronto Harbour
Volunteers from Holy Blossom
Wadi Kaja Organization for Refugees
and Immigrants Project
Westmorelanders Constituency
Y&D Group
Yosef Young