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Volunteer Leaders

At Ben-Gurion University Canada (BGU Canada), we are guided by the principles of Community, Integrity and a deep desire to support and contribute to the Negev region of Israel. It is through collaborative work conducted by a passionate complement of volunteer leaders and staff, that we have been able to quadruple our annual revenue over the last decade.
BGU Canada has four offices across the country that oversee five regions. They include: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Metro Vancouver.

Learn more about our volunteer leaders below.

National Board

Mitchell Oelbaum is the National President of Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The Oelbaum commitment to BGU spans several generations. Mitchell’s grandparents were early founders of the university. His father, Ronald Oelbaum z’l, served as the president of both the Toronto Chapter and National Board of Directors. His mother, Annette is a member of the present-day National Board of Directors and Board of Governors. Following graduate school in 1991, Mitchell worked in a series of roles in private companies specializing in real estate ownership, commercial mortgage syndication and property management. Mitchell is also the President of Vector Financial, where he oversees the company’s loan portfolio and serves as a member of the credit committee. A native of Toronto, Canada, Mitchell is married to Naomi Oelbaum. The couple has three.

Mitchell Oelbaum

Interim National President

Eric Beutel is a Vice President and director of Oakwest Corporation Limited, a Toronto family office investment holding company. Eric is also a corporate director and currently sits on the board or is a Trustee of 4 public companies. For 25 years Eric was a director of The Equitable Group owner of Equitable Bank, Canada’s 7th largest bank. During that time Eric was the Chair of the Bank’s Credit Committee. Eric is an active member of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Canada’s largest Reform synagogue. He is a long-time member of the Finance, and Investment committee’s as well as a past member of the Board. Eric sits on the Israel and Overseas Committee of the United Jewish Appeal. Eric’s BGU involvement commenced over 20 years ago when he joined the Toronto chapter of Canadian Associates of BenGurion. Eight years ago, he became the co-chair of the Toronto region and 2 years ago the sole chair of the Toronto region, as well as being the National Treasurer for Canadian Associates of BGU. Eric is married to Deborah Siegel and they have one daughter, Avery and two sons , Zachary and Nathaniel.

Eric Beutel

National Treasurer

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Sylvain Abitbol
  • Jack Altman
  • Eric Beutel
  • Regina Boxer
  • Peggi Cohen-Rabinovitch
  • Reuben Croll
  • Susannah Dalfen
  • David Dulberg
  • Dr. Jay Eidelman
  • Victor Elias
  • Robert Elman
  • Debbie Estein
  • Gary Fine
  • Thomas O. Hecht
  • Elliot Kohn
  • Adam Korbin
  • Janis Levine
  • Morty Lober
  • Dr. Toby Morantz
  • Howard Morry
  • Larry Nachshen
  • Mitchell Oelbaum
  • Naomi Oelbaum
  • Gail Palevsky
  • Ralph Shepherd
  • Michael Spigelman
  • Maury Steindel
  • Natalie Stern

PROFESSIONALS

  • Andrea Freedman, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sam Cordes – Chief Operating Officer
  • Galit Solomon – National Director, Marketing and Communications

Montreal Board

Peggi is a native of Montreal. She has given her time and resources to help support a number of worthwhile and important causes within the city’s Jewish community. For over a decade Peggi served as a volunteer with Beit Halochem Canada – a charity that helps injured Israeli army veterans and soldiers. While with the organization, she was among a team of volunteers and helped with organizing all aspects of hosting veterans for special programming. Peggi also volunteered at her synagogue, Congregation Dorshei Emet, where she chaired and served on multiple committees.

BGU Canada has been extremely fortunate to have Peggi as one of its dedicated donors and committed volunteer leaders for the past six years. In 2022, she succeeded Jack Altman to become the President of Ben-Gurion University Canada in Montreal.

Peggi has been married to Dr. Mark Rabinovitch for 38 years. They have two adult children; one who lives in Israel and the other in Washington, DC. They have five grandchildren who range in ages from one to 10.

Peggi Cohen -
Rabinovitch

Regional President, Montreal

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Sylvain Abitbol
  • Rachel Alkallay
  • Jack Altman
  • Trudy Asch
  • Nadine Barchechath
  • Dr. Esther Benezra
  • Dania Besnos
  • Eric Bissell
  • Reuben Croll
  • Leora Cukier
  • Jack Ditkofsky
  • Jack Dworkind
  • Robert Elman
  • Carl Frymel
  • Jennifer Gold
  • Ted Goloff
  • Leanne Gur-Esh
  • Howard Hamburg
  • Gloria Israel
  • Janis L. Levine
  • Richard S. Levy
  • Lois E. Lieff
  • Morty Lober
  • Gurit Lotan
  • Alison Miller
  • Dr. Toby Morantz
  • Larry Nachshen
  • Orly Nahmias
  • Gail Palevsky
  • Allen Quallenberg
  • Nadine Renaud-Tinker
  • Miriam Roland
  • Richard Schnurbach
  • Dr. Julie Snyders
  • Eva Stelzer
  • Marilyn Takefman
  • Richard Vineberg
  • Ofer Yifrach-Stav

PAST PRESIDENTS

  • David Asch z\"l
  • Diane Bronfman z\"l
  • Fran Croll z\"l
  • Gordon L. Echenberg z\"l
  • Robert Elman
  • Gerald Feifer z\"l
  • Marvin L. Kwitko, M.D. z\"l
  • Janis L. Levine
  • Lois E. Lieff
  • Dr. Toby Morantz
  • Larry Nachshen
  • Harold Pascal z\"l
  • Cyril Reitman z\"l
  • Miriam Roland
  • Melvin C. Zwaig, F.C.A. z\"l

PROFESSIONALS

  • Simon Bensimon, Executive Director, Montreal & Ottawa
  • Rhona Veisfeld Modugno, Executive Assistant

Ottawa Board

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Susannah Dalfen
  • Eva Stelzer
  • Linda Slotin
  • Natalie Stern

PROFESSIONALS

  • Simon Bensimon, Executive Director, Montreal & Ottawa
  • Rhona Veisfeld Modugno, Executive Assistant

Toronto Board

Naomi Oelbaum was born and raised in Toronto and has deep roots within the Jewish community in her city. As part of the Oelbaum family, Naomi has been a true champion for Israel, the Negev region and Ben-Gurion University for over a decade. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the wildly successful BGU Canada Literary Series: In Conversation with Israeli Authors, along with Deborah Siegel. Naomi has also co-chaired a number of fundraising events and galas that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for BGU.

An Ontario Certified Teacher by profession, Naomi worked with students from the deaf community, children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and newcomers to Canada requiring English as a Second Language support. In addition, she tutored children with learning disabilities.

Naomi has been married to BGU Canada’s Immediate Past President Mitchell Oelbaum for 30 years and the pair have three grown children and two fur babies.

Naomi Oelbaum

Regional Co-President, Toronto

David Dulberg is the former Managing Director for RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) Capital Markets, having joined the firm in 1984. He was also the head of RBC's real estate financing group for Canada.

David has been actively involved in Toronto's Jewish community in many different capacities for much of his life, including a variety of leadership roles in UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, with a focus on fundraising. He chaired several divisions for UJA's annual campaign and served on its board for six years.

David is currently on the Board of Directors for both the Prosserman and Schwartz-Reisman Jewish Community Centres (JCC), is co-chair of the JCC fundraising committee, and is on the JCC's budget and finance committee. He has also served on the board of the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education.

In 2020, David joined the board of the Toronto Region of BGU Canada and is an event co-chair for the Toronto chapter's Mega Event to be held in November 2022.  David is also a member of the World Board of Governors at BGU.

Born in 1961 in Dundas, Ontario, Canada, David grew up in a traditional Jewish family. He has been married to his wife Risa for 34 years and has two sons: Zachary and Michael.

David Dulberg

Regional Co-President, Toronto

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Eric Beutel*
  • David Dulberg*
  • David Ehrlich
  • Gary Fine
  • Tamara Fine
  • Ronda Goldberg
  • Bradley Goldhar
  • Len Goodman
  • Nuri Katz
  • Elliot Kohn*
  • Lianne Leboff
  • Mitchell Oelbaum*
  • Naomi Oelbaum*
  • John Rose
  • Susie Rose
  • Ralph Shepherd*
  • Michael Sherman
  • Michael Spigelman*
  • Sharlene Wilder

* EXECUTIVE CABINET

PAST PRESIDENTS

  • Eric Beutel
  • Co Presidents: Eric Beutel, Elliot Kohn, Ralph Shepherd & Michael Spigelman
  • Mitchell Oelbaum
  • Gary Fine
  • Michael Wynston
  • Paul Jacobs z”l
  • Aly Larson z”l
  • Dr. Walter Unger
  • Sidney Chelsky
  • Ronald Oelbaum z”l
  • Norman Latowsky z”l
  • Philip Goldman z”l
  • H Wayne Tanenbaum z”l

PROFESSIONALS

  • Shimmy Wenner, V.P. Management and Philanthropy, Toronto
  • Michelle Zaslavsky, Events/Experiences Coordinator and Administrator, Toronto

Winnipeg Board

Maury is a Civil Engineer specializing in Transportation Infrastructure with a focus on Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety. For the past 15 years he has worked on multi-disciplinary engineering projects across Canada.  Before starting his engineering career, Maury owned and operated a theatre production company. Maury lives in Winnipeg, Canada with his wife, Rachel and children, Aaron, Joshua, and Leah. 

Earlier this year, Maury participated in BGU's 2023 Halutz initiative, a program that inspired him to become further involved with BGU Canada - Winnipeg. 

We wish to thank Diandra Etkin and Aaron Migie, the outgoing Winnipeg regional co-presidents for their service and dedication.

Maury Steindel

Regional President, BGU Canada in Winnipeg

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Gayle Charach
  • Jessica Cogan
  • David Davis
  • Debbie Estein
  • Diandra Etkin (Immediate Past Co-President)
  • Aaron Migie (Immediate Past Co-President)
  • Daniel Moscovitch
  • Elliot Olin
  • Marsha Palansky
  • Uri Schaefer
  • Kari Wolfenson

PAST PRESIDENTS

  • Dr. Allan Becker
  • Marshall Freed
  • Stephen Freed
  • Jeff Gindin
  • Mark Kantor
  • Erna Kimmel z”l
  • Paul Leinburd
  • Sidney Spivak Q.C. z”l
  • Ed Vickar z”l
  • Marion Vickar z”l
  • Harry Walsh Q.C. LLD O.C. z”l
  • Irene Walsh z”l
  • Sheldon Zamick
  • Aaron Migie (Immediate past co-president)

PROFESSIONALS

  • Zach Ostrove, Executive Director, Winnipeg

Vancouver Board

Adam Korbin was born and raised in Vancouver.   His early interest in Israel rose from his involvement in the Habonim movement and culminated in a gap year in Israel at age 19.   Since then, he has been on numerous community missions with many organizations to Europe, Ukraine, Jordan, Oman and Israel.

In his career he has worked as a news reporter, a political staffer and, for the past 30 years, as a fund manager for InstaFund, a private mortgage investment firm located in Vancouver.

In the community, Adam has been involved on many volunteer boards throughout his life.   Currently he is a volunteer canvasser for Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, a member of CJPAC and the owner of Canada’s only UCI women’s bicycle racing team, InstaFund Bike racing. 

Recently his involvement with Ben Gurion University Canada includes being a member of the first cohort of the BGU’s Halutz Global Leadership Initiative. Besides being a member of BGU Canada’s National Board, Adam was the Sponsorship Chair of the June 2022 Ben-Gurion Sustainability Gala honouring RBC Royal Bank Regional President, Martin Thibodeau.

Adam is married to Isabella and in their spare time they enjoy their Bernese Mountain Dog, cycling, sailboat racing and entertaining.

Adam Korbin

Regional President, Metro Vancouver

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

  • Regina Boxer
  • Rachelle Delaney
  • Dr. Jay Eidelman
  • Aeron Evans
  • Martin Thibodeau
  • Irina Sander
  • Si Brown

PAST PRESIDENTS

  • Dr. Si Brown, Immediate Past President 
  • Victor Elias
  • Mark Zlotnik z”l

PROFESSIONALS

  • David Berson, Executive Director, MetroVancouver
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