Board of Directors

Or Shalom is a registered charitable organization.

The 2021-22 (5782) Board of Directors are:

  • David Kauffman – Co-chair
  • Dalia Margalit-Faircloth – Co-chair
  • Martin Gotfrit – Secretary
  • Paul McCurry – Treasurer
  • Emet Davis
  • Abby Fitch
  • Alexis Kellum-Creer
  • Alex Lyon
  • John MacDonald
  • Malcolm Steinberg

The board meeting schedule is listed in the Or Shalom event calendar.

You can send comments, ideas and feedback to the board at any time with the email
board (at) orshalom.ca

Or Shalom Board of Directors 5782

Emet Davis’s professional background includes more than 30 years in the areas of campaigns, communications, resource development and community engagement, working and consulting for progressive labour organizations, non-profits, and businesses. In 2020, she changed directions and presently operates her own small business in the health and wellness sector. She is very familiar with board governance roles, having served on numerous non-profit boards; presently she is a director with the Wilderness Committee as well as JQT-Vancouver. She has been a member of Or Shalom for nearly 20 years, and is pleased to contribute her skills and experience on the Board.

Martin Gotfrit is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound designer living in Vancouver. His work often involves both improvisation and collaborations with artists in theatre, dance and film. Currently he can be heard playing at Kabbalat Shabbat services, with the Jewish world music group Sulam, the Chanting & Chocolate band, the improvisation ensemble AEM(S) and with singer/songwriter Harriet Frost. Martin was on the faculty at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University from 1981 to 2016 where he served as Department Chair from 2001 – 2009 and as an Associate Dean from 2013-2016. Since 2006 he has been an active member of Or Shalom – serving on the board and as Secretary or Co-Chair at various times. He is married to film maker Patricia Gruben and they have two adult children.

David Kauffman grew up in Edmonton where he attended Talmud Torah, and grew to be involved in BBYO a Jewish Youth Organization as a teenager. He attended Kallah & LTC in Starlight Pennsylvania where he learned song-leading skills and worked at Camp B’nai B’rith in Red Deer as a song leader for a few summers. Dave moved to Vancouver to attend UBC and graduated Electrical Engineering, after which he had several jobs in audio and software engineering around Canada. Dave was introduced to Or Shalom in the mid-80’s and both our children celebrated Simchot Mitzvah.  Dave also helps the technical aspects of Or Shalom’s network, website and live streaming.

Alexis Kellum-Creer For Alexis, Or Shalom represents a rare intertwining of both diversity and commonality, flourishing alongside a central core of strong shared values, that is the hallmark of this unique synagogue.

She was first drawn to this remarkably welcoming and inclusive community in the autumn of 2017, and has found tremendous satisfaction in becoming more involved in the many online gathering, worship and learning opportunities offered.

Currently serving as co-chair on the Tikkun Olam Co-ordinating Committee, she’s also had the pleasure of volunteering for Or Shalom’s annual fundraising campaign for the past several years,

With a hopeful eye to the future, Alexis looks forward to strengthening her relationships at Or Shalom and deepening its contributions to the wider community for many years to come.

Alexandra (Alex) Lyon. I have had a winding but very rewarding path to my current involvement in Jewish life. Growing up with interfaith parents in Southern California, my childhood religious influences were wide ranging including Jewish, Christian, Bahai’i, and Buddhist spiritual traditions. I loved spending time with my Granny Franny, my paternal grandmother who taught me how to make latkes, and attending Friday night services at her Conservative shul in Murrieta, CA. I was exposed to a whole new sense of Jewish community during university at Smith College, and it was there–particularly after the tragic loss of my mother and grandmother–that I began to focus on Judaism as a source of spiritual guidance. My relationship to Judaism continued to evolve during my graduate school years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was first in the “Young Adults” and then (after getting married and having my first child) the “Young Families” havurah at Shaarei Shamayim, a Reconstructionist congregation that provided wonderful opportunities to deepen my Jewish practice and identity–including singing in their Yiddish Choir. My husband, Patrick Culbert, and I both have academic careers: his in forestry and mine in sustainable agriculture. In the course of these careers, we have also lived briefly in Middlebury, Vermont, and Berlin, Germany, and in each place I have connected with Jewish communities that have increased my appreciation of the diversity of Jewish experiences and histories. We moved to Vancouver in 2016 and have been members of Or Shalom since 2017. Our older son (now 8) has been in the children’s program at Or Shalom since it started, and our younger son (now 4) started this year. After many years of moving for work, I am now a faculty member in sustainable agriculture and food systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and my husband is an associate professor of teaching in the UBC Faculty of Forestry. We are extremely glad to have finally settled in Vancouver!

I am very honored to be considered for the Or Shalom board, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead for this congregation. Some of the issues I care about most at Or Shalom include building intergenerational connections in our community, especially for new members, and supporting families with young children in finding a real sense of community and fulfilling Jewish life here. Given my profession, I also have a deep commitment to environmental and social justice and how they connect to Judaism. Finally, I would like to help uplift all those who may long to join “Vancouver’s Spiritual Playground” but are not always sure how to play the games: interfaith couples and families, Jews by choice, and anyone whose path to embracing Jewishness has been a winding one.

John Macdonald I have since 2016 been learning more and more about my Jewish heritage.  I grew up with a Catholic father and a non-practicing Jewish mother.  In my early 20’s like many other young people, I became an atheist.  It was in 2016 that I started to yearn for more knowledge of my Jewish side and I embarked on this starting with Shabbat dinners.  My journey led me to Or Shalom and I have been a member since 2017. I am proud that I had a Simchat Mitzvah 2 years ago at the age of 73!

In my professional life I am a psychologist and have been practicing for over 46 years.  Most of my career was in the public sector and since 2010 I have been in private practice on a part time basis.  In these past decades, I had been on nonprofit boards, including psychological organizations and those involved in delivery of health & wellness services. One particular organization I am particularly proud of being apart of is the Friends for Life Society. This organization started as a needed response to the AIDS epidemic when young men were dying and had been left alone by families.  I started to help an original group form a board of directors and a few years later I joined this Board and stayed on it for 15 years. It now provides services to people with life threatening/managing illnesses, including cancer and hepatitis C.

I feel that Or Shalom has given me a great community to be apart of and I wish, by my participation on the Or Shalom Board to give back.

Dalia Margalit-Faircloth Dalia moved to Vancouver 6 years ago from Toronto, originally from South Africa. She has been involved in Jewish community life both professionally as a counselor at Jewish Family Services, and as a volunteer on various boards and committees. She is currently retired from paying work and spends much of her time volunteering and travelling. She has three awesome children and 4 even more awesome grandchildren. She is a certified scuba diver and loves forest bathing.

Paul McCurry is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of business experience including private equity investment and executive level management in a variety of industries. Prior to co-founding A&H Steel Vancouver, he held executive level operating positions for No Limits Group covering distribution, third party logistics and consumer products. In addition to the Or Shalom board, he hold board positions with A52 Warehouse; No Limits Group; A&H Steel Vancouver; and Storm Guard Water Treatment.  Paul lives in Vancouver with his wife, Tammy (Chavah), and two of their four kids.

Malcolm Steinberg immigrated to Vancouver in 2004 from South Africa and is thankful for being a guest on these beautiful Coast Salish territories. He is a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU where he teaches public health. Malcolm’s research focuses on supporting Indigenous healers in positioning, and retaining ownership of, herbal medicines alongside Indigenous knowledge. Malcolm was drawn to the Or Shalom community because of the vibrant and varied educational programs and spiritual activities offered to the community and looks forward to working with the Or Shalom board and Rabbi Dresner to support the exciting journey ahead for our community. Malcolm is blessed with three children and two grandchildren. He enjoys hiking, jogging, kayaking, and cycling, and is passionate about his continuing exploration of his long-standing interest in herbal and Ayurvedic medicine.

 

Committees

There are numerous committees within the governance structure of Or Shalom, and joining any of them can be an excellent way to introduce yourself to the community and make a contribution of time and energy.

Ideas, questions, and suggestions? Contact us via email at board (at) orshalom.ca

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