The Board of Directors
I’m a recent arrival to Montreal. Previously, I’ve led community storytelling workshops for The Moth in NYC, designed collaborative poetry classes for middle schoolers at 826Chicago, and coordinated an oral history of prisoners in Massachusetts. Two things I particularly admire about Mile End Chavurah: how clearly the “spirit” of the services shines through (in part because of the light institutional touch) and how I always learn something new about Judaism thanks to the different traditions and perspectives in the room. I’m a big believer in potlucks. My default dish is challah.
Adam currently works as CEGEP lecturer and is a researcher for StoryCorps.
Co-chair of the Board of Directors
I grew up in Roslyn, a suburb of New York and studied or worked in Manhattan or Brooklyn from 1996-2014. In 2014, I moved to Montreal with my wife, former MECh board member Layla Dabby. Inspired by Layla’s example as well as by my father who serves as President for Life of The Roslyn Synagogue and my brother who is the gabbai of The East Hill Synagogue in Englewood, NJ, I am proud to help steer the ship that is the Mile End Chavurah.
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 begining…
I am delighted to rejoin the Board of the Mile End Chavurah! I served on the Board in 2016-2017, during which time I organized several MECh events and initiatives. I like to run, swim, and to cook but rarely cook, and my favourite kitchen appliance is a can opener. I’ve lived in Montreal since 2004, apart from three years in Israel and a couple years in Toronto and Ottawa. J’ai hâte de faire votre connaissance !
Elizabeth is a doctoral candidate in political science, researching why some Jewish populations fragment over their relations to Israel and some do not, in Canada, the United States, and France.
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.
Sarah Leila Manolson
I’m a native Montrealer, also havingI 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 Leila Manolson 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.