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!
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
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Thank you to the support of our generous donors, without whom we would not be able to fulfill our mandate.
Terry Ades and David Brown
Adjustable Beds Plus
Mark and Susie Adler
Marlene and Sheldon Alspector
Mindy Avrich- Skapinker
Bank of Montreal
Barbara and Stanley Beck
Boris and Diana Beliavsky
Anna Beylis Zubkov
Cheryl and David Blinick
Jodi and Eric Block
Leonid and Katia Bort
Mitchel and Susan Brown and Family
J Mark Buck
Canada Online Giving
Charities Aid Foundation Canada
Berly and Noam Chernick
Colman Peck Medicine Professional Corporation
Roger De Freitas
Miriam and Frumie Diamond
Joanne and Brian Doyle
Janet and Edwin Durbin
Kaitlin and Jim Eckler
Empirical Capital Corp
Pam and Steve Freedman
David and Claire Freeman
Mary and Dan Friedman
Sandra Frydman de Helfant
Steven Garmaise and Sue Rebick
Judy and David Gershon
Rose Marie Gold
Michael and Nancy Goldberg
Yudel and Fania Goldman
Nataliya Goshkovych Veksler
Shira and Mitch Green
Ena and Moshe Greengarten
Dr. Manor Hass
Steve and Barbara Held
Anne M Hertz
Elise Herzig and Ron Cuperfain
Judith Teller Foundation
Robert and Judith Kanee
Eli Klein and Miriam Erlichman
Mariam Leitman and Craig Perkins
David Avraham Lipsitz
Elisha and Stephen Margles
Ruth and Harold Margles
Viviane and Tito Massouda
Lisa and Steve McDonald
Anna and Ed Morgan
Music for Creative Families
Alan and Alice Nagus
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
Mitchell Ornstein and Alexandra Kuperman
The Prosserman Family
Raw Signal Corporation
Ted and Cathy Rechtshaffen
Elaine and Arnie Rose
Fred and Marsha Rosen
Stacy Rosen and Jonathan Hausman
Fay and Donald Schwartz
Zeev Vladimir Shifrin
Shoresh Board of Directors
Bella and Joel Shupac
Iliya T Silbar
Sara and Irwin Tauben
Faye and Michael Thorek
Paul and Eileen Tichauer
Turks Head Holdings Inc.
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
United Israel Appeal of Canada
United Way of Greater Toronto
Jeanette and Rene Valmont
Ingrid Van der Linden
Verdiroc Holdings LTD
Pearl and Lloyd Weiss
Gilda Ann Whyne
Jamie S Young
Victoria and Roman Yusfin
We would like to thank our constituent groups who support refugees in partnership with JIAS Toronto.
Beit Tzion Shul
Beth Tzedek Refugee Committee
Danforth Jewish Circle Social Justice Committee
Dawit Demoz, Family and Friends
Displaced Syrian Family Reunification and Oraynu Congregation
Northern Lights Canada
RUN Hong Kong Ltd
The Naomi Project
Volunteers from Holy Blossom Temple
Wadi Kaja Organization for Refugee and Immigrant
Westmoreland Refugee Support Group