Mark Waldman is not only the current Executive Director of CJPAC, but is a founder and former Deputy Chair, and was the founder, chair and acting Managing Director of its predecessor CIJA-PAC. Born in Toronto, Mark holds a BA in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, with a background in sales, finance, business development and operations. He previously held senior positions at Sandylion, Labelad and Marnlen Management. He has been involved in many political causes, including in 2003 co-founding “Friends of America” to counter anti-American sentiment in Canada. Mark is also very active in raising funds and awareness for ovarian cancer and related familial BRCA mutations.
Rachel Chertkoff’s passion is political engagement. For over 20 years she has fostered leaders and connected them to politics and government, in both Canada and the US. Rachel was instrumental in CJPAC’s founding and development before it launched in 2005 and throughout its existence. She was the Leadership Development Director for the Valley Alliance/Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and held executive positions on the board of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats. Rachel has worked in volunteer and staff positions on election campaigns for all levels of government. She volunteers for a dog rescue and loves books, travel and proper punctuation.
Amanda Blitz has a varied career centred around communications and law. She previously worked in marketing at the global law firm Fasken and in media and corporate relations at the Ontario Science Centre. Amanda was a national news anchor for CTV News Channel, and a reporter at CHCH and other media outlets. She has practised as a banking and finance lawyer in London, England at Clifford Chance LLP, and as a corporate lawyer at Goodman & Carr LLP in Toronto. Amanda received her M.Sc from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and her LL.B. at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Jaime Reich has worked it the Jewish community for 10 years. Prior to joining CJPAC in 2015, Jaime spent 5 years working for Hillel, both in Toronto and at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she worked on a wide range of different projects and initiatives from immersive experiences, leadership development, graduate student engagement, and fundraising. Jaime has also volunteered on a variety of political campaigns and dedicates the bulk of her volunteer time to being a Crew Captain on the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Dovi Chein has had a diverse career in politics, education, and the nonprofit sector. Dovi comes to us from Hillel Ottawa, where he was the Director for three years, and fostered an unprecedented period of growth for the organization. During his time at Hillel, Dovi developed expertise in programming, relationship building, conflict resolution, political mobilization, and creating inclusive spaces, all while mobilizing hundreds of students to defeat BDS three times. Prior to this, Dovi worked as a teacher in South Korea, and as a Parliamentary Assistant in Ottawa.
Vanessa Fhima is an attorney and received her law degree from the University of Montreal. She has extensive experience in law & management in the private and not-for-profit sectors She has practiced as a litigator at Simon & Associés for nearly ten years and was later the General Counsel at UPCLICK Inc before practicing on her own. Most recently she was the Project Manager for Centennial Events with Federation CJA. Vanessa also served in many capacities on the Board of Directors of Maimonides School including President and legal counsel.
Kara Mintzberg has been involved with British Columbia’s Jewish community for years. She has won local and provincial awards for projects she’s developed for several mission-driven organizations, including being the youngest recipient of Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver’s Young Leadership Award. Kara earned her MBA and MA from Brandeis University, and her BA from the University of British Columbia. She is an avid skier – snow and water – and currently volunteers as a Board member for Jewish Addiction Community Services (JACS) Vancouver.
Joshua Wolfe is a government relations and community outreach specialist who graduated from Princeton University. After graduation, he spent five years as a political advisor to a Member of the Quebec National Assembly. In 2012, and prior to coming to CJPAC, he joined CIJA’s Quebec office to lead their government relations team. He has been politically active at all levels of government, and was most recently named by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante as a member of her newly-created Roundtable on Diversity, Inclusion and the Fight Against Discrimination.
Lorne has been involved in Canadian politics for much of the last decade, having worked on Parliament Hill for two Members of Parliament, as well as working as a political analyst for a national public affairs agency. Following those experiences, Lorne spent two years as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Canada. Lorne holds a Masters Degree in Political Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science and History, both from Carleton University. Lorne spends most of his spare time watching baseball, reading about Jewish history, and experimenting with new recipes.
Rachel Iskov’s academic background in Holocaust History instilled in her a deep appreciation for the wide breadth of rights we have as Canadians, as well as for the importance of political participation. Having studied and taught the dangers of political apathy and the powerlessness and vulnerability of those whose civil rights have been stripped from them, she values the work CJPAC does to engage the Jewish community in the political process. After leaving her PhD, Rachel worked at Ryerson University and at Reena Foundation. She has volunteered for two decades organizing and leading Toronto Holocaust education and remembrance programming.
Rebecca Vath has a Master of Library and Information Science degree and a B.A.(Hons), with degrees in English and Developmental Psychology. She spent four years prior to joining CJPAC working with infant, toddlers and preschool children with special needs. Rebecca has volunteered with the London Public Library, the Ontario Library Association, City of Toronto Archives and as an adult literacy tutor.
Rena Silver is a skilled digital marketer and writer. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta she also spent a year in Israel post high school before moving to Toronto. During her time at York University she was highly involved with on-campus Israel advocacy, and always strived to make room for sincere dialogue. With a degree in Professional Writing she has worked in publishing and B2B marketing before joining the CJPAC team. As an enthusiastic advocate and politically engaged citizen, Rena is thrilled to merge her professional know-how with her individual passions for political engagement and Canadian Jewry.
Lesly Weinstein was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She is currently the Executive Assistant of CJPAC. Prior to her role at CJPAC, Lesly was the Human Resources Manager for the first international expansion of a large American retailer. Lesly has sat on committees and volunteered at organizations including The Hospital for Sick Children, Chai Lifeline Canada and Beth Tzedec
Congregation. Along with her husband Peter, Lesly is very active in advocacy and fundraising for childhood leukaemia research.
Courtney is a born and raised South African that has recently joined our team as the Office Administrator. Her career has involved working in sales at a telecommunications company, becoming the Senior Administrator at a luxury import/export company as well as being an Artist Manager at one of the top Artist representation firms in South Africa. In 2018 she moved to France for a year where she spent time teaching English before moving to Canada in September 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, walking around High Park and making friends with all the dogs in her building.