Board of Directors
Ray Rubin, President
As a member of the Board, the Executive and the Search Committee for a new Head of School, Ray has developed appreciation for the contemplative way TanenbaumCHAT makes decisions and enthusiastic admiration for the school. She and her husband, Lloyd Hoffman, are proud parents of two graduates and two current students at TanenbaumCHAT. Ray offers to bring to the renewed Board position her strong analytical reasoning and communication skills, developed in her professional capacity as a lawyer. Her understanding of community needs and structure was learned from extensive volunteer work in Jewish Toronto. Ray served on the executive of the Board of Jewish Family & Child Service and was involved in many aspects of UJA Federation ranging from chairing Young Leadership Network projects to co-chairing the Lion of Judah division and Israel at Fifty post-walkathon event. Ray also served on the Board of Netivot HaTorah Day School.
Russel Orelowitz, Vice President
Russel qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa in 1991 and immigrated to Canada in 1998. He has held senior financial positions in the private education and consulting industries and is currently the Chief Financial Officer of a global consumer products company headquartered in Canada. Russel and his wife Charlene have had three sons at TanenbaumCHAT; two grads (2014 and 2015) and one currently attending grade 10.
Melanie Kraft, Secretary
Melanie Kraft has been a partner of the law firm Epstein Cole LLP for the past 15 years. Melanie has 3 children. Her eldest daughter is in Grade 12 New Stream, her son is in Grade 10 and her youngest daughter is in Grade 5 at the Bishop Strachan School. She has been an Executive Member of the Sterling Hall and Bishop Strachan Parent’s Associations, co-chaired the Parent Ambassador Program at BSS, and coordinated fundraising events at both schools, running their silent auctions. Melanie was on the Grandparent Day committee at TanenbaumCHAT in the Fall of 2014 and for the past two years, she has served as a Parent Ambassador for our New Stream Program. In 2014, Melanie was an Adjunct Professor teaching Family Law at Osgoode Hall Law School. She regularly teaches and runs Continuing Legal Educational Programs for Lawyers through the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Bar Association. She has co-chaired the Women’s Philanthropy Division at UJA and canvasses regularly for UJA.
Stephen Bloom, Treasurer
A former partner with the law firm Goodmans LLP and currently the Chief Development Officer of Shiplake Properties and Managing Partner of Collecdev, a real estate development company, Stephen has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer and business executive. He is a Trustee of Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and a member of the Executive of Avenue Road Hockey Association. Stephen and his wife Bonnie are the parents of three graduates of TanenbaumCHAT.
Ellen Chaikof ’80, Immediate Past President
Ellen has been a Board member since 2005. As a litigation and employment lawyer, Ellen serves as Chair of TanenbaumCHAT’s Personnel Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee. Ellen served on the Board of Beth Tzedec Synagogue, is involved with the Women’s Division of Israel Bonds, and with Canadian Friends of Shalem College. She and her husband David are both CHAT alumni and are extremely committed to Jewish education and camping. Their three sons are graduates of TanenbaumCHAT.
Richard is a CHAT grad, class of 1990. Richard and his wife Risa, who is a teacher at Leo Baeck, are staunch and active supporters of Jewish education. Richard served on the Executive of the Parents Association for several years at Leo Baeck and continues to coach the Senior Girls Soccer team for the past 6 years. His daughters, Alexa and Shawnee, attended Leo Baeck and are currently enrolled in Grade 12 and 10 respectively at TanenbaumCHAT. He has been very active in the shuls he has attended, Sephardic Kehila Centre, Chabad Romano and currently at Chabad Flamingo. Richard is a serial entrepreneur whose companies have brought snacks, beverages and toys to the North American market.
Debra is an Electrical Engineer and Certified Project Manager with over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Working for major Canadian telecom companies as well as boutique consultant firms, Debra has multiple years of experience leading large multidisciplinary teams responsible for large, strategic implementations. Most recently, her focus has been product development, marketing and sales support. Debra and her husband Ronnie are parents of a TanenbaumCHAT student in grade 11 and a future TanenbaumCHAT student, currently in grade 8 at Bialik.
Rami is a Senior System Analyst with over 20 years of IT experience. He works as a Solution Architect at TELUS. His family immigrated to Israel from the USSR in 1990. Rami completed IDF service and graduated from Tel Aviv University as a Software Engineer. He has expertise in tutoring, project management, financing and team coaching. In 2003 Rami relocated his family to Canada as part of his duties at Amdocs. Rami and his wife Irit have a son Or who is currently in Grade 10 New Stream at TanenbaumCHAT.
Vered Feldman is a Reading Specialist working at Associated Hebrew Day Schools. Vered serves on the Board of Jacob's Ladder and has chaired and been involved in a number of fund-raising activities for various causes. Vered and her husband Jay have had three children at TanenbaumCHAT; two grads and one currently attending grade 10. Vered is currently working toward a Master of Education at the University of Toronto.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Science Honors degree from Queen's University, a Master's in Experimental Medicine from McGill and a Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Toronto. Andrea has served on the Board of Directors at Robbins Hebrew Academy (RHA) and was President of the Parents' Association at RHA as well. She has also served on the board of directors of Beth Tikvah Synagogue. Andrea has 3 children, 2 of which are at Western University (one graduated from TanenbaumCHAT last year) and one child who just started at TanenbaumCHAT this year. Andrea currently works at Janssen Canada Inc., a division of Johnson and Johnson, in the department of Government Affairs and Market Access.
Claire is passionate about Jewish Education, Jewish continuity and Israel. She and her husband Howard are the proud parents of four amazing children, three of whom are TanenbaumCHAT alumni, and one who is currently in Grade 11. Claire is a former Board member and Vice President of Associated Hebrew Schools. During her tenure, she gained experience in a broad range of roles, including serving on the Management, Personnel, Tuition Subsidy, Governance, Nominations and Restructuring Committees. She currently sits on the Board of the Association of the Soldiers of Israel - Canada, and is active on the Scholarship and Annual Events Committees. Claire was called to the Ontario Bar in 1994 and is self-employed. Claire lives in Thornhill and is a member of Chabad Flamingo.
Alan Grad ’88
After graduating from CHAT in 1988, Alan continued his studies at York University in Toronto where he obtained a BA in Economics and graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1994. Alan has since gone on to hold legal positions of increasing responsibility in private practice and as in-house legal counsel and currently serves as Senior Vice President, Legal and General Counsel at the DBRS credit rating agency. Alan is married to Sandy Leider. They have 3 children, including 2 current TanenbaumCHAT students. Alan has volunteered with his children in programs such as Out of the Cold, has served on committees of the Beth Emeth Synagogue and has volunteered his time to coach his children’s sports teams. Alan looks forward to being a valuable contributor to the Board of Directors of TanenbaumCHAT.
Suzy Kauffman ’90
Suzy is a partner at Goodmans LLP, where she has a general commercial litigation practice. She is currently the Chair of the Parent Ambassador Committee at TanenbaumCHAT, helping to guide the admissions and recruitment efforts, and is a past Board Member of the Toronto Heschel School and past member of the Parents Association at the Sterling Hall School. Suzy has volunteered in many capacities with UJA Federation and is currently on the women’s executive team. She has an Honours BA in Political Science from McGill University and an LLB from the University of Toronto. She has recently completed a Board Governance Course run by the Canadian Board Diversity Counsel and has advised many Boards through her legal practice. Suzy is a CHAT grad (1990). She and her husband Steve are the proud parents of two current TanenbaumCHAT students; Amanda in grade 12 and Josh in grade 10, as well as a future TanenbaumCHAT student, Layla, who currently in grade 6 at the Toronto Heschel School.
Bonnie Langer ’87
A graduate of CHAT (1987), Bonnie has a Masters of Arts in Personnel Psychology at New York University and attended law school at Osgoode Hall. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1996. Bonnie was the VP Human Resources at AGF Management until 2016, where she oversaw all personnel functions including recruitment, selection, assessment, organization development and training as well as compensation and benefits for over 500 staff across Canada and at several international offices. Bonnie has served on the board and executive of Mekorot and several committees at Shaarei Shomayim. She joined TanenbaumCHAT’s board and personnel committee in 2010. Since 2014, Bonnie has chaired TanenbaumCHAT’s Risk Committee. Bonnie’s daughter graduated from TanenbaumCHAT this year and she her son started grade 9 this September.
An accomplished marketing and media executive, Wally now operates marketing services company CMOish providing senior expertise to organizations across a diverse range of industries. His career in Canada and the US including roles as Chief Marketing Officer of Comedy Central (NYC), Canwest Broadcasting and Alliance Atlantis. Wally is currently on the TanenbaumCHAT Marketing committee, served on several UJA of NY committees and task forces, was on the RHA Marketing and Scholarship committees, and has been very involved in industry associations including as past Board Chair of the Canadian Marketing Association. All three of Wally and Beth Gamulka's children have attended TanenbaumCHAT with Ben currently in grade 12 and Talia in grade 10.
Eric has more than 25 years experience that has spanned the range of public accounting practice as a Chartered Accountant at PwC, entrepreneurial endeavor as the founder and CEO of Redwood Custom Communications (rebranded Totem), the leading content marketing agency in North America providing multi-platform and fully integrated content and marketing communications services, and public company experience as part of the executive leadership of Transcontinental Interactive. More recently Eric launched Tag3, a new content marketing agency. Eric is a former member of the Board of Directors at Associated Hebrew Schools. Eric and his wife Caline have a twin son and daughter that recently graduated TanenbaumCHAT and a son who started grade 9 this September.
Ilana is an independent consultant in the fields of Change Management, Organizational Design and Leadership Development. She has worked with both large and medium sized clients in both Canada and South Africa across many different industries. Ilana enjoys assisting leaders and managers through organizational, behavioural and personal change. Ilana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Economics, an Honors Degree in Economics and a Postgraduate Degree in Human Resource Management (all from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa). Ilana has certifications in psychometric tools (Myers Briggs) and enjoys coaching. She has been a board member of a synagogue and volunteers on a regular basis in the community. Ilana has 3 children. Her youngest son is currently in Grade 11 at TanenbaumCHAT and her older 2 children are both TanenbaumCHAT alumni. Ilana brings a human approach and understanding, creativity, empathy and respect for people’s individuality and diversity.
Stephen is a partner with the law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and an adjunct professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School. Stephen has over 35 years of dispute resolution and corporate structuring experience. He is a past member of Bialik Hebrew Day School’s Board of Directors, and a former member of its Executive, Personnel, and Budget and Finance Committees. He has also served as Treasurer of Bialik. Stephen’s two daughters and son are all graduates of TanenbaumCHAT and are currently attending Cornell and McGill Universities.
Sharon Shore is a partner at Epstein Cole LLP with a focus on family law. She has given lectures for the University of Toronto, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association and the High Conflict Forum. She is a past President of Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto and currently sits on the board of her synagogue (BAYT). Sharon is a new member of CIJA’s Local Partnership Council (LPC) and a member of the Executive of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association. Sharon is an executive member of the Toronto Agunah Support Coalition (TASC). Sharon is happily married with three children. Her eldest son is a recent TanenbaumCHAT grad. She currently has another son attending grade 11.
A commercial litigation lawyer who was called to the Bar in 1990, Stephen is a long time and present Board member at the Beth Torah Congregation where he has held a number of officer positions including that of Treasurer, Vice President, and President. During his time as President at Beth Torah the Congregation initiated both its membership and physical building expansion and commenced a successful multi-million dollar fundraising campaign. Stephen has acted for over two decades as General Counsel to a private academy that taught children with learning disabilities. Stephen and his wife Maura, are the proud parents of Drew, a 2015 TanenbaumCHAT graduate and Goldie, a 2017 TanenbaumCHAT graduate.
Sue Valencia '85
Sue is a graduate of CHAT ('85) and the proud mother of one CHAT grad (Adam - '17) and two current CHAT students (Megan - '19; Jenna - '21). Sue obtained a BA (Psychology) from York University and a law degree from UWO. Sue began her legal career at Torys LLP where she practiced corporate law for two years before moving into the entertainment business. Sue worked in the film and television industry for 13 years, first as VP of Business and Legal Affairs at Atlantis Films, then Senior VP - Business Affairs and Executive Producer at Alliance Atlantis and VP Legal and Business Affairs at Nelvana, a division of Corus Entertainment Group. Since leaving the workforce, Sue has been active in the volunteer community, serving on the Bialik board as well as Chair of the Bialik PTA for two years. Sue is currently active in the minor hockey sports community, acting as VP - Select of the Forest Hill Hockey Association and serving on the board of directors of the Forest Hill Hockey Association. In her spare time, Sue is the trainer for her youngest daughter's hockey team.
Jonathan is a partner at the law firm of Robins Appleby LLP. Jonathan is a business law lawyer advising clients on matters of corporate and commercial law. Jonathan is currently the Chairperson of The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation and is a former director and member of the Executive Committee of Associated Hebrew Schools. Jonathan is also an active volunteer at his synagogue, Chabad Flamingo. Jonathan is a passionate proponent of Jewish day school education. Jonathan and his wife, Tracy, have a son, Noah, who graduated from TanenbaumCHAT in 2016 and a daughter, Lilly, who is currently in grade 12.