Jewish Public Library – Board of Directors 2022-2023 Biographies | Bibliothèque publique juive – les Biographies de Membres de Conseil d’administration et Comité de direction pour 2022-2023
Reuben Abitbol is currently the Chief Legal Officer & Managing Director of The Frankforter Group and regularly acts for clients in the domestic and international tax planning context. Previously, he was a tax lawyer at Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP. Reuben also advises a number of charities and non-profit organizations on a range of tax and compliance matters. Prior to completing his law studies at McGill University, Reuben attended Yeshiva University where he obtained degrees in each Accounting, Finance and Talmudic Studies, and remains a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York. Most importantly, Reuben has been a long-time user of the JPL’s services going back to his time as a student at UTT and then Herzliah High School. He is married to Esther Levy and has three children.
Yolande Amzallag is a certified translator and has been practicing the profession for more than 20 years. Glassco Prize winner and Governor General Awards finalist in 2003, she translated works by Margaret Somerville, David Solway and Fred Reed. Previously, she served as a public relations and communications professional in international NGOs in France and in Canada. Yolande Amzallag is also the youngest child of Montreal cantor Salomon Amzallag (1922-2008), a renowned Moroccan popular singer (Samy Elmaghribi) who became an icon of Arab-Andalusian music in the Maghreb. As an heir to a rich musical tradition, she created the Samy Elmaghribi Foundation, whose mission is to promote Arab Andalusian music as a symbol of harmony between communities, beyond any ethnic or religious boundaries. A long-standing community volunteer (CSUQ, Federation CJA, JPL), Yolande Amzallag has organized and participated to multiple cultural events, concerts and conferences. She is also the proud mother of Deborah and Michael Levy, and the happy grandmother of their two respective children, Chloé and Ruben.
Howard Berish Howard received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University in 1975 where he also served as President of The Commerce Students Association. He received his Graduate Diploma in Accounting from McGill University in 1978 and was designated a Chartered Accountant in 1979. In 2001 Howard was recognized as a Fellow Chartered Accountant – FCA. Howard has worked as a chartered Accountant for over 40 years, specializing in all aspects of corporate and personal taxation. Over those years he has served as a Partner, Senior Tax Partner, member of the Management Committee and Managing Partner. He has given numerous seminars and presentation to community and profession organizations and has lectured for the Order of Chartered Accountants of Quebec. For approximately 10 years Howard has been involved with Technion Canada and currently serves as its President. Howard has been very involved in the Montreal Jewish Community Center for more than 25 years where he has served on and chaired numerous committees and has acted as Treasurer for many years and as its President. He is currently Chairman of The Board of Trustees. Howard has also been on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital in Montreal and is currently its President.
Claire Berger has been involved at the Jewish Public Library for more than 40 years where she started as the Sunday Morning storyteller for 32 years and entertained many generations by sharing her love of books and stories. An educator by profession, Claire taught at United Talmud Torah and Herzliah for 38 years and has always volunteered in community in the area of experiential Jewish learning. Her other community involvement included serving on the executive of BJEC and as President of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim (2016-2019) She considers it an honour to have served on the JPL Board and as President (2014-2016) over the last decade and she looks forward to seeing the Library continue to evolve, adapt and be a beacon for future generations.
Lionel Chriqui is married to Samantha Oziel and together, have four children. Since moving to Canada at the age of 19, Lionel has been actively involved with the community through the Communauté Sépharade Unifiée du Québec. Professionally, after graduating from HEC Montreal in Finance, he pursued a career in Financial services at National Bank of Canada. He is a portfolio manager for Chriqui-Rizkalla Wealth management Group, at National Bank Financial. He serves affluent families and corporations regarding their wealth management, financial and estate planning. With over 12 years of experience, Lionel has been recognized at a National level for his achievements in the category of social responsibility by his firm.
Rachel Cohen is a lawyer working in industry. She is married to Marty Lucht and they have two children, one son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren. Rachel has been involved with community for about 30 years in many aspects: JPL, Solomon Schechter Academy Board, UTT Board and president, AJDS board and president and Federation CJA Governance and Ethics Committee. The constant has been the JPL: she was introduced to the JPL through the Children’s Library Committee, co-chaired Jewish Book Month, and was a Board member and an Officer. Rachel’s passion is books: she loves reading, values books and what they represent.
Anthony Davis is proud to serve on the board of the Jewish Public Library. He is a Communications and Content Marketing Professional. Currently leading the marketing department at Crowe BGK, he was previously the Director of Communications at Solomon Schechter Academy. A graduate of Concordia University, Anthony gained much of his experience creating and managing multimedia content for local Jewish organizations. He plans to assist JPL to continue to grow its digital footprint and engagement while helping to conceptualize revenue-generating opportunities.
Harvey Elman is a native of Montreal and was educated at McGill University (B.Sc.) and then Columbia University, New York (MBA). He began his business career in banking, first with Citibank N.Y., in New York and then London, England, and later for a subsidiary of Citibank, Mercantile Bank of Canada in Montreal. His career in private real estate development and management began 40 years ago and evolved into the founding Landmark Properties in 1986, which he sold last year to an international company. Harvey has served as a director of a variety of organizations – educational, artistic, financial, social and charitable which continue to this day. In particular, he has been the Chairman of the Federation Building Committee for 20 years, and hence am familiar with JPL’s occupancy. Harvey has been married for 46 years to Margo, has two sons, Jamie and Michael, and two granddaughters.
Erica is a lifelong member of the JPL and is honoured to be an Officer on the Board of Directors. Having participated in many of the NBCL’s programs as a child (Music with Sandy, Sunday Morning Storytime, Summer Reading programs, and many others), she is committed that the JPL continues to be a welcoming and nurturing place for the next generation of children and young adults. She also has a particular fondness for the Archives, where she worked as a summer student in 2010 on processing the YM-YWHA fonds. Erica holds a PhD in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and currently works at the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal as a Planning, Programming and Research Officer. She lives in Ville St-Laurent with her husband Patrice and her cat Odin.
Rabbi Avi Finegold is a second generation JPLer (his father, Ronnie Finegold, was a longtime reference librarian) and the founder of the Jewish Learning Lab, an adult education institution in Montreal. He also hosted Spirits and Spirituality, a podcast recorded live at the Museum of Jewish Montreal, with radio legend Tommy Schnurmacher, and a rotating, round-table panel of guests from the arts, the media and the academic and religious communities for a bi-weekly conversation on faith and life over a couple of cocktails. In the past, he worked on the Jewish Public Library Archives Podcast Epilogue. He is married to Rabba Rachel Kohl Finegold of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, and they have three three daughters, Kinneret, Nedivah and Hadar.
Kathryn Gabinet-Kroo was born and raised in Oregon and after earning a BA from Cornell University, she moved to Canada, where she has been a professional artist for over 40 years. She taught painting and drawing at the Saidye Bronfman Centre’s School of Fine Arts for ten years. In 2001, she earned her Master’s in Translation Studies from Concordia University and since then has been working “both jobs” from her studio on the Lachine Canal. As a freelance translator, she has worked for clients in the public and private sector including, among others, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Museum of Civilization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and the Courts Administration Service. Her true passion is literary translation and her translations of four novels by Quebec authors have been published, with two more coming out in 2020-2021. Kathryn is a member of the Literary Translators Association of Canada (LTAC) and the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF).
Arlene Greenberg was the Chief Medical Librarian at the Jewish General Hospital for more than 40 years. Prior to that, she was the Librarian of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. Since her retirement in 2016, Arlene continues to do volunteer work at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). She is also on the Board of the JGH Auxiliary and serves on the Board of her condominium since June 2016. She enjoys being a member of the JPL Board and contributing whatever she can.
John Hobday C.M. is a former Director of the Canada Council for the Arts. His long career in the cultural sector has included: CBC Radio Drama Producer; Theatre Administrator (Confederation Centre and Neptune Theatre); National Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) from 1971 to 1982; Executive Director of the Samuel & Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation (SSBFF) from 1982 to 2002. His championing of professional development opportunities for arts management personnel was recognized when the SSBFF contributed $1 million to the Canada Council to establish the “John Hobday Awards in Arts Management”. He has served on numerous national boards, and is currently Vice-Chair of the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning. Among the many awards he has received are Honorary Doctorates from the University of Waterloo and University of King’s College, Halifax. In 2001, he was appointed to the Order of Canada.
Emmanuel (Manny) Kalles
Emmanuel (Manny) Kalles is a Past President of the Jewish Public Library (1979-1981, 1985-1986). He is married to Anne and they have two sons, Jonathan and Daniel. His connection to the Library goes back to when his father, Hertz Kalles, was Executive Director of the Library and later President, (1966-1968). Manny has been actively involved in many aspects of the Montreal Jewish Community having been a member of the Community Planning and Allocations Committee, the McGill Jewish Teachers Training Committee, the founding committees of the Jewish Education Council and the Montreal Holocaust Museum. He was a member of the Executive Committee of Allied Jewish Community Services and a Vice Chair of Combined Jewish Appeal in which capacity he and his wife led two family missions to Israel in 1986 and 1990. He was also President of Hebrew Foundation School in 1988-1989 and Vice President of the United Talmud Torah from 1990 to 1993. After 25 years with ORT Canada, Manny recently retired as Executive Director.
Barbara Maldoff is an educator with extensive involvement in the greater Montreal community. The majority of her teaching experience has been with working with children with learning challenges. She has a M.Ed in Inclusive Education and is presently responsible for the Hebrew Academy High School Resource Room, ensuring the required supports and academic needs of the students are being met. Barbara is the immediate past president of JNF Montreal and sits on the National Board of JNF. Her other community involvement has included BJEC board of directors and the McCord Museum. She is a proud member of the PJ Library program.
Matthew Meland is a civil and commercial litigator and corporate lawyer at Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin LLP where he has a diverse practice ranging from shareholder disputes to estate matters. He is the founder of the leading Quebec Bar Exam tutoring service, Sharpened, which helps students pass their Bar exams. In his free time, he enjoys teaching karate, reading, leatherwork, and horseback riding. Since 2015, he has been an active member of the JPL Yiddish Cultural Committee which organizes and plans events to promote Yiddish literature and culture in Montreal.
Marc Oliel is a charter accountant who has worked in different accounting firms and public health sector organisations. For the past 7 years he has been working in the medical education industry in charge of finance and operations. Marc has been involved with the community for the past decade acting as treasurer and board member in many Jewish organizations. He is actively the treasurer of the CSUQ and a board member of École Maimonide. For Marc and his family reading a book is like going on a great journey, he is delighted to join the JPL board and looks forward to collaborating with all the JPL family. He is married to Yael Muyal and they are the proud parents of four children.
Eva Roskies Raby served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Public Library from June 2000 to September 2011. For seventeen years prior to that she was head of the JPL’s Norman Berman Children’s Library, achieving a community-wide reputation as a storyteller and advocate of reading for children. Her earlier library career included nine years as head of the Social Work Library at McGill University, four years at McGill’s Management Library and two years at Vanier College in Montreal. After receiving a B.A. in Joint Honours History and Political Science from McGill University, she received an MSc (Econ) degree in International Diplomatic History from London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London (England) and her M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College, Boston. A member of several professional associations, she is a past president of the Quebec Library Association and a recipient in 2011 of its Anne Galler Award for outstanding library service. She has been a member of the JPL Board of Directors since 2016 and serves on the Library’s Nominating, Human Resources and Financial Resources Development Committees.
Robert Schwartzwald is a Professor in the département de littératures et de langues du monde at the Université de Montréal, where he teaches English and Comparative literatures, International Studies and Jewish Studies. He directs the graduate certificate program in Jewish Studies and is a member of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire en littérature et culture québécoises (U de M and UQÀM) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (McGill). He is also a member of the international research training group, “Diversity: Mediating Difference in Transcultural Spaces,” a partnership between the Université de Montréal and two German universities. A former Board member of the Quebec Writers Federation, Editor of the International Journal of Canadian Studies and the American journal Quebec Studies, he is a recipient of the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies. His numerous publications explore the dynamics between literature, film, and the nationalism of “small nations,” as well as issues of sexual representation and intercultural relations.
Roslyn Slawner has been an active member of the JPL Board for the past nine years, with the last six years serving as an Officer in the roles of both Secretary and Vice-President. She is a respected management consultant who worked with the JPL Staff and Board to spearhead the JPL Strategic Plan in 2017. Roslyn has worked numerous years as an international consultant for the UN in the areas of Strategic Planning and Performance Appraisal. At the JPL, Roslyn chairs the Human Resources Committee and the Friends Initiative.
Jean Teboul is a litigation associate at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP acting in a variety of matters, including real estate, contractual and transactional disputes. He also assists clients in various administrative and regulatory matters. Prior to working at Davies, Jean graduated with degrees in both Common law and Civil law from McGill Law School, as well as a Master’s of Science in Business Economics from Queen’s University. Born in Nice, France, Jean has been living in Canada for the last 14 years, and is continuously looking for more ways to get involved in the Montreal Jewish community.
Sydney is an activist, mother, and Intellectual Property lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Montreal. Her background includes degrees in media and gender studies and law, work experience in community organizing and criminal justice reform as a legal advocate for prisoners on Rikers Island, and academic research in feminism and technology, safe spaces, and food law. She has spoken throughout North America on the power of alternative bodies of knowledge in shaping contractual practices. Sydney is also a co-founder and director of The Wandering Chew, a women-led collective that works to share the diversity of Jewish narratives and identities through food. More than anything, Sydney loves to gather stories on adventures with her husband and two young children.