Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

Report from JIAS Toronto Leadership

Dear Friends,

This 2021-2022 Annual Report reflects JIAS Toronto’s work from July 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. This shortened reporting period reflects a change to our year-end to align with our government reporting. At the start of the fiscal year in July 2021, our agency worked remotely and continued navigating the challenges of COVID-19. Our ability to grow during a pandemic, adapt programs, expand services, pilot initiatives, and deliver impactful programs to our clients is a testament to JIAS’s resilience and agility. After 15 months of COVID response measures, our management team excitedly shifted priorities to capacity building, risk mitigation, and plans to celebrate JIAS’s centennial.

None of us could have imagined how quickly the impact world events in Afghanistan and then Ukraine would have onour organization. JIAS is the only Jewish social service agency in the country solely dedicated to providing settlement services to immigrants and refugees. We are the community leader in our understanding the needs of newcomers and in supporting those in need. The Afghan and Ukraine crises were no different. JIAS was willing. JIAS was ready. JIAS responded by serving as the lead Jewish agency in the country.

Since the onset of the Afghan refugee crisis, JIAS has been working with national and international groups to help bring Afghan refugees to Canada. As the trusted go-to agency, these groups come to JIAS for support. These collaborations have helped bring hundreds of Afghans to Canada, and when they arrive, JIAS will help these refugees rebuild their lives.

With the current war in Ukraine, JIAS has taken a leadership role with Jewish agencies across the country and at federal, provincial, and municipal government tables. It has been bittersweet to welcome, support, and integrate Jewish Ukrainian and Russian refugees arriving in Canada just as we once did when we were founded 100 years ago.

We are humbled by Jewish community agencies that reached out to share their resources and support. Acting with immediacy and strategic collaboration is the only way to save lives and support those now displaced. To our funders and donors, thank you for your unwavering support and faith in the importance of our mission.

Leading a social services agency celebrating its 100th anniversary is a privilege. JIAS has a proud legacy of elevating, educating, and empowering tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees. We created this legacy by removing barriers, providing support, creating awareness, and making connections so our clients can achieve their dreams, realize their potential, and become self-reliant. We hope you will join us in one of our many centennial celebrations this year.

As I reflect on the agency’s many accomplishments this past year, I am filled with gratitude for and appreciation for the individuals and organizations that help us further our mission.

It is a joy to work with our exceptional employees and volunteers who bring skills, caring, and passion to their work every day. You inspire me, transform lives, and bring light and hope to our clients. I am equally grateful to our stellar board of directors for their guidance, wisdom, and support. You look at our work individually and collectively with multiple lenses and continually assess the long-term implications of short-term decisions. I want to especially thank our Chair, Anna Morgan, for her leadership and generosity during this time of change and unprecedented growth.

Let me also express huge thanks to our referral agencies that provide JIAS clients access to extensive services and support. We also sincerely thank our private sector partners who provide JIAS with the resources to pilot and test ideas to innovate, learn, adapt, and grow.

Working with our primary funders, the federal and provincial governments, and the United Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto is an honour. Your investments help us build a vibrant Jewish community and a strong, inclusive Canada that values all newcomers.

To our many donors, your confidence, trust, support, and kindness motivate us to stretch beyond our imagination and be open to new thinking and possibilities.

We are the first settlement agency in Canada to receive a grant from the Ontario Brain Institute to study the impact of JIAS’s trauma-informed care model on Yazidis, Ukrainians, and Eritreans. Another major research endeavour is our $800,000 IRCC-funded multi-year study in conjunction with the University of Toronto to explore anti-racism through the lens of a newcomer.

At the onset of the war in Ukraine, JIAS piloted a pre-arrival intake model to understand, anticipate, and support the needs of Ukrainians before they arrive in Canada. This data informed our strategies, including new partnerships with Airbnb, Jewish social service agencies across the country, the Canadian Ukraine Immigrant Aid Society, and the Child Welfare Immigration Centre of Excellence. The JIAS  crisis response plan positioned us to meet clients’ needs proactively and provide tools, information, and resources to other agencies. Our bimonthly JIAS Update newsletter, started at the onset of the Ukraine crisis, is now a go-to resource for information and thought leadership.

Ukrainian clients  commonly describe JIAS as their “hope.”  Hope for their future. Hope for their family. Hope for a good life in Canada.

Hope is a powerful force. We see it daily, propelling people forward as they rebuild their lives and social and economic networks in a new country. This feeling is a common thread amongst our refugee and immigrant clients – whether they come from Eritrea, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Hungary, the United States, and other destinations.

To each of you who have helped us this past year, thank you!

Thank you,
Elise Herzig
Executive Director

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AGM remarks by Anna Morgan, JIAS Toronto Chair

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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 28, 2021

Clothing Drive To Benefit Our Yazidi Clients

Richmond Hill Christian Community Church for hosted a clothing drive to benefit our Yazidi clients! In total, 25 JIAS client families received clothing, winter jackets and boots, hygiene products, and even toys.

August, 19 2021

Support Your Children’s Adjustment to School

JIAS held a presentation on how to support your children’s adjustment to school, understand more about anxiety, and identify signs every parent needs to be aware of.

September 10, 2021

Welcome Week

JIAS Toronto honoured our board members and committed volunteers who delivered Rosh Hashanah packages this past week to Jewish newcomers who have arrived in Canada this year.

October 19, 2021

Tanenbaum CHAT Visit

JIAS staff visited with Tanenbaum CHAT’s grade 9 class “Issues in Canadian Geography” to talk about Jewish immigration to the GTA, the World Refugee Crisis, and Jewish community activism in sponsoring refugees to come to Canada.

November 8, 2021

The Reading Club en Français

The Reading Club en français is a pilot program by JIAS Toronto designed to provide support for elementary school-aged newcomer children in grades 1-8 at French immersion schools.

November 21, 2021

Chanukah Baskets

Thank you to UJA Genesis , UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and to all the Littlest Volunteers for making beautiful Welcome/Chanukah baskets to help newcomers to our community celebrate the upcoming holiday!

January 18, 2021

JIAS is Helping Refugees Get Vaccinated!

In coordination with York Region (The Regional Municipality of York) public health, JIAS hosted a vaccine clinic at Crosby Heights Public School. We are so proud that over 100 doses were administered, primarily to Yazidi refugees

February 10, 2021

The Toronto Jewish Quilting Project

The Toronto Jewish Quilting Project has been creating Welcome Quilts for newly arrived refugees since 2016. On Sunday they gifted a Welcome Quilt to Kathy, a Kurdish Jew who fled Iran nine years ago.

March 8, 2021

Welcome to Canada!

JIAS has launched a Knowledge Hub for information about immigrants and refugees coming to, or already in, Canada.


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.

Leonid Abramov
Daniel Abramson
Morris Adams
Marlene Adelson
Terry Ades and David Brown
Adjustable Beds Plus
Mark and Susie Adler
Sima Aizenberg
Elena Aleinikov
Siba Al-Khadour
Marlene and Sheldon Alspector
Brianna Ames
Binyamin Anno
Abraham Ardashnikov
Aridan Corporation
Mindy Avrich- Skapinker
Dana Baitz
Sofia Balanovsky
Irena Balsan
Bank of Montreal
Benjamin Barankin
Benjamin Foundation
Michael Barkley
N. Bazak
Barbara and Stanley Beck
Liddy Beck
Lindsay Beck
Stanislav Beilin
Boris and Diana Beliavsky
Dawn Bernstein
Paula Bernstein
Anna Beylis Zubkov
Cheryl and David Blinick
Jodi and Eric Block
Nurit Bloomberg
Tania Blumental
Laura Boast
Oleg Bogomazov
Howard Borenstein
Tali Boritz
Leonid and Katia Bort
Mila Botnar
Sid Brail
Zelma Brestescher
Arielle Brickman
Anna Bronfman
Sharona Brookman
Jackie Brown
Mitchel and Susan Brown and Family
J Mark Buck
Orah Buck
Leila Bull
Alexander Butovetsky
Vetta Butovetsky
Lillian Butovsky
Canada Gives
Canada Online Giving
Carniol Family
Murray Cass
Leigh Chalmers
Charities Aid Foundation Canada
Asya Cherniak
Berly and Noam Chernick
Aviva Cipin
Natalie Clausner
Alexander Cohen
Betty Cohen
Ted Cohen
Colman Peck Medicine Professional Corporation
Phil Cowperthwaite
Alexandra Cuperfain
Allie Cuperfain
Abdulilah Dandachi
Viktoria Dashevsky
Susan Davey
Murray Davidson
Roger De Freitas
Peter Diamant
Miriam and Frumie Diamond
Yulia Dimitrov
Joanne and Brian Doyle
Daniel Drucker
Kayla Drumonde
Miriam Dryer
Joyce Dubow
David Dufoe
Janet and Edwin Durbin
Kaitlin and Jim Eckler
Joel Eisen
Eric Eivin
Debra Eklove
Emerald Foundation
Empirical Capital Corp
Yosef Epshtein
Naomi Epstein
Seymour Epstein
Miriam Erlichman
Sarah Faerman
Alexander Fedorovsky
Neil Feigelsohn
Roberta Feingold
Jordy Feldberg
Julie Feldman
Marilyn Feldman
Shlomi Feldman
Stuart Feldman
Vivian Felsen
Dvora Fischer
Tamar Flanders
Yair Fogelman
Allan Fox
Ludmila Fradlin
Pam and Steve Freedman
JoJo Freedman-Lawson
David and Claire Freeman
Larisa Freidlin
Olga Freiman
Mary and Dan Friedman
Susan Friedrich
Nina Frimerman
Harvey Frisch
Rhoda Frisch
Sara Frisch
Naomi Fromstein
Sandra Frydman de Helfant
Inna Furmansky
Louisa Garib
Steven Garmaise and Sue Rebick
Felix Gelt
Yuri Gershman
Judy and David Gershon
Naomi Gerstein
Debbie Gilbert
Giftfunds Canada
Anna Gilin
Rafael Gililov
Alexander Gilod
Elizabet Gindin
Judith Glass
Susan Glass
Elliott Glassenberg
Sam Glazer
Kathy Glazier
Eyal Golan
Adam Gold
Alan Gold

Rose Marie Gold
Sara Goldband
Mandy Goldberg
Michael and Nancy Goldberg
Karen Goldenberg
Jeanette Goldman
Yudel and Fania Goldman
Francine Goldrich
Ellen Goldstein
Seth Goldsweig
Piuter Golod
Tamara Golohvost
Maddy Golubev
Victoria Golzman
Glenna Gordon
Seth Goren
Julia Gorman
Vladimir Gorshtein
Nataliya Goshkovych Veksler
Madeleine Gottesman
Merle Gould
Alexander Gov
Andrew Gow
Kevin Green
Shira and Mitch Green
Ena and Moshe Greengarten
Jeanette Grosman
Marty Gross
Warren Grossman
Fran Grundman
Guta Grushka
Carole Gruson
Michael Gurevich
Moises Gutfrajnd
Tory Gzebowski
Sean Haber
Madina Hasin
Dr. Manor Hass
Alex Hdalevich
Kenneth Held
Steve and Barbara Held
Karrie Hennick
Elaine Herer
Sandra Herlick
Jordan Hermant
Suzanne Hersh
Anne M Hertz
Jeffrey Hertz
Elise Herzig and Ron Cuperfain
Barbara Hickey
Lloyd Hoffer
David Hoffman
Risa Hoffman
David Horovitz
Judith Huebner
Adam Hummel
David Hummel
Mark Hundert
JoAnne Hunter
Edna Hussman
Maurice Iankelevic
Lauragaye Jackson
Michelle Jacobs
Victor Jacobs
Elka Jacobson
Liz Janzen
Daniel Joffe
Judith Teller Foundation
Robin Kachuck
Norman Kahn
Eliezer Kalnitsky
Ian Kalushner
Marylin Kanee
Robert and Judith Kanee
Janice Karlinsky
Lisa Kent
Sergei Kessler
Naomi Kestenbaum
Terri Keyfitz
Elena Khantses
Mo Khodavandi
Dina Kholodny
Shirley King
Michael Kinrys
Joel Kirsh
Tatiana Kiseleva
Roza Kitay
Kim Klaiman
Michael Kleiman
Eli Klein and Miriam Erlichman
Toan Klein
Judith Klie
Karen Knopf
Hal Koblin
Gerald Koffman
Margarita Konyavsky
Mikhael Kopshtein
Lubov Korobov
Ludmila Kotliyar
Marc Kotov
Sima Koyfman
Miriam Kramer
Naomi Kramer
Nina Kramer
Simon Kreindler
Deborah Krofchick
Ann Kroft
Anna Kulikov
Amilia Kvint
Iris Lahan
Nelle Lakien
Lampert LawGiC
Leigh Lampert
Sara Lantsman
Maya Lapidus
Shari Lash
Ariel Lasry
Elizabeth Laxer
Susan Laxer
Charles Lazzam
Viktoria Leibel
Mariam Leitman and Craig Perkins
Mitchell Lerner
Ryan Levey
Dori Levine
Renee Levine
Riva Levitin
Shulamit Lichtenstein
Susan Lieberman
Joy Lipkin
Elaine Lipman
David Avraham Lipsitz
Lev Lisovski
Dara Lithwick
Corinne Logan
Ida Lukovsky
Sandra Maaskant
Andrea MacGillivray
Kirill Malev
Judy Malkin
Jessica Manley
Gayle Marcus
Elisha and Stephen Margles
Ruth and Harold Margles
Jacqueline Margolis
Shelly Markel

Margarita Margulyan
Nicole Martin
Viviane and Tito Massouda
Gladys Matarasso
Igor Matushansky
Ela Mazur
Eleonora Mazur
Lisa and Steve McDonald
Jerry McIntosh
Laura Meicler
Yanina Mendelevich
Myra Merkur
Gennady Mezibovsky
Elliott Michaelson
Mark Milman
Rozalia Minevich
Svetlana Miretsky
Eli Mogil
Betty Molnar
Galina Monakov
Elena Morderer
Mary Morell
Kelly Morell
Sue Morell
Anna and Ed Morgan
Leslee Morrison
Simon Moskovitz
Georges Moyal
Konstantin Mushkin
Music for Creative Families
Candace Muskat
Alan and Alice Nagus
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
Alvina Nemirovsky
Eileen Nemzer
Sophia Netanel
Ilana Newman
Phil Newman
Noreen Nisker
John Noble
Ilana Noiman
Maha Noraddin
Charles Novogrodsky
Yuri Obodan
Erica Oielgisser
Moshe Okun
Philip Olin
Leslie Orbach
Ellis Orlan
Mitchell Ornstein and Alexandra Kuperman
Clifford Orwin
Michael Pascoe
Brenda Patlik
Anne Pawson
Valery Peari
Jared Peck
Rafail Pekar
Jordan Pelc
Kathy Pham
Alice Pidruczny
Gregory Pilin
Alexandr Pipko
Elena Pokrass
Boris Polovitzky
Irena Portiansky
Carl Posluns
Dan Posluns
Jeff Posluns
Leslie Pringle
Shirley Promislow
The Prosserman Family
Gabriel Rabinovitch
Nava Rabinovitch
Lillian Radosevic
Raw Signal Corporation
Ted and Cathy Rechtshaffen
Adele Rich
Ilana Richer
Bernie Riley
Derek Riley
Abby Robins
Jillian Rodak
Marina Rodov
Jody Roebuck
Gennadi Rogatsky
Vladimir Rohkin
Elaine and Arnie Rose
Fred and Marsha Rosen
Nanette Rosen
Stacy Rosen and Jonathan Hausman
David Rosenberg
Raya Rozenberg
Elena Rubanovski
Joel Rubinovich
Carmelanna Ruggiero
Raymond Ruggiero
Richard Ruggiero
Rosalia Ruggiero
Elena Runanovski
Sara Saber-Freedman
Paulina Sadevich
Victor Sagdeev
Arielle Salama
Ninel Samsonovich
Ludmila Sandler
Amyn Sarif
Barney Savage
Sandra Savlov
Elana Schachter
Mark Schachter
Fay and Donald Schwartz
Evgenia Scoblo
Michelle Scolnick
Alexandra Segal
Hananel Segal
Naftali Seitelbach
Paul Seppala
Maxine Shaffer
Victor Shalin
Benjamin Shapiro
Robbie Shapiro
Nadav Sharon
Ricki Sharpe
Ilana Shawn
Nina Shchypkova
Martha Shea
Ben Shefter
Rimma Sheikhman
Geraldine Sherman
Tatum Shiff
Zeev Vladimir Shifrin
Regina Shikher
Debra Shime
David Shindman
Svetlana Shkolnik
Tatyana Shkolnik
Shoresh Board of Directors
David Shtern
Bella and Joel Shupac
Alisa Siegel
Mireille Siegel
Iliya T Silbar
Rilla Silber

Arielle Salama
Benjamin Singer
Inderbir Singh
Anastasia Sklyarova
Elaine Slater
Jay Slater
Myra Slutsky
Fern Smiley
Nahum Smirin
Joanie Smith
Raisa Smolyar
Zvi Sokolovski
Aharon Solodukhin
Matthew Solomon
Maurice Sprumont
Joseph Steiner
Paul Sterescu
Philip Stern
Janet Steryannis
Alena Strauss
Jessica Stuart
Jeffrey Stutz
Keith Sullivan
Miriam Swadron
Sorena Swartz
Andrew Szende
Anna Tabakov
Emily Tam
Mishka Tamara
Harvey Taub
Evelyn Tauben
Sara and Irwin Tauben
Olga Taubkin
Redae Tekie
Faye and Michael Thorek
Paul and Eileen Tichauer
Michael Tkach
Ian Tobman
Leonid Trachtenberg
Yakov Tsetlin
Vladimir Tsirulnikov
Julia Tsukernik
Madeline Turkienicz
Turks Head Holdings Inc.
Olga Udina
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
United Israel Appeal of Canada
United Way of Greater Toronto
Frida Usviytzev
Dina Vaisman
Amanda Valencia
Jacqueline Valmont
Jeanette and Rene Valmont
Ingrid Van der Linden
Leonard Vanek
Verdiroc Holdings LTD
Gennady Verkh
Lisa Villeneuve
Raisa Volotsky
Joy Wagner
Lorie Waisberg
Noah Waisberg
Vallry Waldman
Barry Walfish
Candice Walker
Nina Wallach
Dahvi Waller
Debbie Wasserman
Steve Weber
George Weinberger
Sharon Weintraub
David Weiss
Pearl and Lloyd Weiss
Morty Weisselberg
Itshak Weissman
Gilda Ann Whyne
Steven Winkelman
Mark Winter
Taylor Wilson
Helen Wolfe
Irving Wolkowicz
Andrew Woolley
Jay Wortsman
Wendy Wright
Miriam Wyman
Victoria Xie
Dora Yakubove
Ernest Yavnik
Antonina Yegorov
Sima Yofe
Jamie S Young
Marla Young
Victoria and Roman Yusfin
Hana Zadovich
Josh Zelikovitz
Alexandra Zelikson
Bonnie Zelman
Stuart Ziegler
Victoria Zilbershtain
Jacalyn Zimmerman
Dayna Zipursky
Amalia Zisman
Filipp Zisman
Bari Zittell
Randy Zittrer
Moses Znaimer
Peter Zukovski
Arnold Zweig

Constituent Groups

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

Beit Tzion Shul
Beth Tikvah
Beth Tzedek Refugee Committee
Bornstein Group
Camp Manitou
City Shul
Danforth Jewish Circle Social Justice Committee
Dawit Demoz, Family and Friends

Displaced Syrian Family Reunification and Oraynu Congregation
Freeman Family
Gabreselassie Family
Misra Group
Nebo’s Horizon
New Beginning
Northern Lights Canada
Project Abraham

RUN Hong Kong Ltd
Temple Sinai
The Naomi Project
Toronto Harbour
Volunteers from Holy Blossom Temple
Wadi Kaja Organization for Refugee and Immigrant
Westmoreland Refugee Support Group
Y&D Group