BRENDA & SAMUEL GEWURZ AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN JEWISH EDUCATION
Jeff Bicher’s passion for education and advocacy started at Camp Massad, and then served him as Director of National Leadership Development at Federations Canada and Executive Director of Hillel Montreal. In 2015, he returned to direct Camp Massad after a 10-season hiatus, and is excited to be spending his 26th summer there. Jeff also leads JAB Strategies, working with communal professionals to expand their horizons: he facilitates the Herzliah High School Israel Advocacy course, serves as scholar-in-residence for Herzliah Shabbatonim, and guest lectures on Israel advocacy at Bialik High School. He also impacted Federation CJA’s GenMTL, focusing on strategy, advocacy and experiential education. Jeff was a Fellow of Professional Leadership at the Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis University, an iEngage Campus Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and a graduate of the inaugural Senior Educators Cohort of M²: the Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. He serves in many volunteer capacities, currently as Board Chair of Hebrew Foundation School and board member of Congregation Beth Tikvah ASNH and Concordia University. Jeff’s dedication to community is only rivalled by his love for the people that matter most: his family.
"I am most fulfilled as I spark the need for change in individuals, groups, communities, and then coach those learners through their own growth spurts or processes."
Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold
Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold has been Director of Education and Spiritual Enrichment at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim since 2013, when she became the first Orthodox woman to serve as synagogue clergy in Canada. As an educator, she helps her students and congregants gain greater access to Jewish text and ritual, and find a deeper connection to their Judaism. She has been the driving force behind many new synagogue initiatives to engage young families. Through offering Shabbat and holiday sermons, and officiating at lifecycle events, she reaches Jews of all ages. She has developed exciting new teen programming, and spearheaded new offerings for young professionals in their 20s and 30s. Her weekly class, “From Aging to Sage-ing: Jewish Wisdom in Growing Older”, inspires her older students. From 2015-2017, Maharat Rachel participated in the Clergy Leadership Incubator along with 20 rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum. As a voice for the critical importance of Jewish education and engagement, she is a board member of BJEC and a member of the advisory board for Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. She lectures frequently for JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) and serves on the editorial board of the JOFA Journal.
"Jewish wisdom has the power to enhance the human experience at every stage in life."
Anat Toledano was born in Israel and moved to Montreal with her family when she was 9. A graduate of École Maimonides, she is fluent in Hebrew, French and English. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Jewish Studies from Concordia University, and obtained a Bachelor’s of Education in the Jewish Teacher Training Program and a Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Education at McGill. She has been part of the JPPS-Bialik family for 18 years, working in various capacities in the Judaic Studies, French Studies and Art Dramatique programs. Most recently, she has assumed the role of Coordinator for Jewish Studies at both JPPS and Bialik from Kindergarten through Grade 11. Anat’s role at Bialik is to oversee the curriculum of the Judaic Studies program and to enhance Jewish life at the school. Her impact on the school can be seen in her new initiatives in Judaic Studies, Israel Education and experiential programs, in both the elementary school and high school. Anat is married to Michel Toledano and they have five children: Daniel, Aaron, Natanel, Gaby and Shira.
"Anat sees her role at JPPS-Bialik as one where she can transmit her love of Israel, and passion for Jewish life."