The Board of Directors
Co-Chair of the Board
Me, myself and I grew up in the small Jewish community of Edmonton, Alberta. I have lived in Montreal since 2003. I am a high school teacher, currently working with Quebec’s English school boards to develop a network of community schools. How good and how pleasant is it for us to do Jewish in our own neighborhood. To have the spiritual, learning opportunities and communal fun right within walking distance. Driving around can be such a drag. Especially parking. Feh.
I grew up in Philadelphia where, being from a nice Jewish family, I went to Quaker school. I guess you could say my cultural identity is influenced by a mishmash of beautiful people, from my old-world Bubbies and Zaydas to my socially conscious parents in addition to my activist teachers and friends. My family belonged to the reform synagogue where I went to Hebrew school once a week and had my bat-mitzvah. In the many years that followed, aside from spending the major holidays with my family, I spent little time thinking about my Jewish identity. It wasn’t until I moved to Montreal from New York City, and then got married and had kids, that I decided to look deeper into my roots. My lovely, supportive and “Jew-ish” husband and I joined the Chavurah. I was the co-chair of the Families Committee for several years and help decorate for events whenever I can.
Cara is a co-founder of Caramel Studio, an interior design and styling company.
Française d’origine, Québécoise de cœur, « la plus Ashkénaze des Shépharades de cette planète » (rien que ça !), mon histoire avec Montréal a commencé en 2008 et je m’y suis installée définitivement en 2012. C’est à partir de là que j’ai commencé à participer aux activités proposées par le Mile end Chavurah et que j’ai ainsi découvert une commnauté ouverte, chaleureuse, inspirante et riche de tous ses membres, venant d’horizon très divers. J’ai naturellement voulu m’y engager.
Dans la vie, je suis journaliste et réalisatrice de documentaires. Passionnée de musique et d’art de la scène, j’aime aussi faire du lien entre les gens et les aider à révéler leurs talents. Au sein du MEC, je souhaite, notamment, encourager d’autres francophones à trouver leur place dans cette communauté, à s’y investir en développant des activités bilingues qui nous permettent, ensemble, de prier, d’étudier, de cultiver nos connaissances, d’échanger sur nos traditions et de les transmettre. Et continuer à rêver notre communauté ensemble, à notre façon. It may be the Mile end, but it’s really the beginning…
High Holy Days Commmittee
Several friends introduced me to Mile End Chavurah as soon as I arrived in Montreal in the summer of 2017, and everyone made me feel very welcome. I decided to join the board partly as a way of saying thanks to the community, partly because I need to get over my lifelong reluctance to join anything, and partly because Peter begged so hard I couldn’t refuse (hi Peter!). I was born in Vancouver, but until I relocated to Montreal I hadn’t really lived in Canada as an adult. For 33 years I was a wandering Jew, shifting back and forth between Tel Aviv and New York (with short interludes in Tokyo and Toronto), working mostly as a journalist and editor. In New York I was international news editor for a series of short-lived digital media startups, and in Tel Aviv I worked for Haaretz newspaper before moving on to freelance for European publications, covering most of the regional political events between the Second Intifada and the Egyptian revolution of 2011. I’m also a co-founder of +972 Magazine, a Jaffa-based non-profit media cooperative composed of Palestinian and Israeli journalists.
I’ve always been pretty Jew-ish, though not religious. I attended synagogue regularly growing up, my family always had traditional Shabbat dinners on Friday, we celebrated all the holidays, and I attended a Jewish day school until my bat mitzvah. So while I never set foot in a synagogue in all the years I lived in Israel, I remember most of the liturgies by heart and can still recite most of my bat mitzvah haftorah — nearly 40 years later. I am a hard wired Jew. Also, I bake quite good challah — though not as impressive-looking as Adam B.’s.
Lisa is a contributing editor at +972 Magazine. She also works as a freelance consulting editor, writer, and translator.
High Holy Days Committee
As a member of the board I would hope to maintain and build on MECh’s role as a place that celebrates diversity and fosters engagement, both within the MECh community as well as by building bridges and collaborating with the larger Jewish community and the larger Mile End & Montréal communities. I hope to continue to build a place where all feel welcome to celebrate, challenge, question, doubt, build, and create; to create a space that welcomes the black sheep, the rebels, the literal and figurative orphans, the doubters, the seekers – all around the same table.
I am so happy to be joining the Board of Mile End Chavurah! MECh has been such a warm community over these last years and I’m excited to deepen my commitment and become a board member. I’m a native Montreal and a long-time Chavurahnik. I’ve lived here my whole life with the exception of a brief American hiatus during my teenage years. With both Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry, I have strong feelings about bulgur to parsley ratios in tabouli, but I hold a neutral position in the Mile End bagel wars. I like to spend my weekends roaming Outremont and Mile End sipping coffee, riding my bike, and running after my adorable toddler.
Nancy works as a social worker and couples and family therapist working with youth and families who are dealing with mental health issues.
Sarah Leila Manolson
Co-Chair of the BoardExecutive Committee
I’m a native Montrealer, also having lived in the USA for 6 years. I’ve been involved with the Chavurah since its inception, soon after I returned to Montreal in 2008 for my Masters studies in Human Systems Intervention. I didn’t grow up with much Jewish culture or religion, and I appreciate the MECh community for its flexibility, open-mindedness, and spirited approach to Judaism. My passion is in bringing people together in meaningful ways, and I am honoured to finally and officially serve on the board.
Sarah is a professional consultant and facilitator of Organizational Change and Development, as well as a representative and Retreat Guide in the universalist Inayati Sufi Order.
Vera (Veronika) Kisfalvi
I have lived in Mile End for many years and was delighted to have found MECh several years ago. This is actually my second time serving on the Board, and I’m happy that MECh has provided me with an opportunity to contribute to building a robust, welcoming, progressive and diverse Jewish presence here and in the broader community. Previously, I was an active member of the steering committee of Chavurah Har Kodesh, which first brought Jewish Renewal to Montreal in the late 1980s. These experiences have revealed to me that the more active I am in my community, the more I feel connected and the more it feels like home.
Vera is a former professor of business administration, retired from HEC Montréal. She also currently sits on the Board of Aleph Canada.