Makom Leadership

Makom is organized by Rabbi Aaron Levy and a five-member Leadership Team (Board of Directors), working collaboratively to plan and run programs, and engaging in a strategic planning process to make Makom a sustainable community and organization.

A number of other community members are involved in guiding our planning process and initiating creative programs.  If you are interested in contributing to these processes, please let us know. We’d love to hear your ideas, concerns, and thoughts on Makom.

Staff

Rabbi Aaron Levy
Executive Director

Rabbi Aaron LevyRabbi Aaron Levy is a leader in the revival of downtown Jewish life in Toronto, where he is the founding director and rabbi of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism, named one of North America’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’10-’11.  He inspires diverse Jews and non-Jews by fusing ritual and ethical practice, by teaching in an open-minded and intellectually serious style, and by making Judaism’s joy apparent through musical, participatory prayer.  Rabbi Aaron also teaches percussion and is a sought-out educator on a wide variety of Jewish topics, especially ethical eating, environmentalism, spirituality, pluralism, and social justice. He brings experience living and working in a variety of cities and Jewish communities; he previously founded an independent minyan, served as campus rabbi at three Hillels, and led wilderness backpacking trips.  Rabbi Aaron sits on the Downtown Jewish Community Council, Toronto Board of Rabbis, and the board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.  Originally from Rockville, Maryland, he was ordained in 2004 in the first graduating class of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah – The Open Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York City. An avid drummer, hiker, cyclist, and vegan, Aaron is married to Miriam Kramer and they live near Kensington Market with their sons Elie and Adar. Contact Rabbi Aaron by email or call 416-546-6043.

Sarah Livingston
Director of Family Programming & Afterschool Operations

Sarah Livingston is Makom’s Director of Family Programming & Afterschool Operations. She is an experienced educator and administrator both within and outside of the Jewish community. Sarah has a Masters in Canadian Jewish Food History from University of Toronto and Bachelor’s degrees in Russian Jewish History and Jewish Studies from The Ohio State University. Her passion in life centers around Jewish education and community building. Sarah believes in working to connect Jewish people to each other and to other religions, races, and cultures. As a long-time advocate for marginalized members of the Jewish community she works diligently to create diverse and inclusive programming for families across the Jewish spectrum.

Sarah is originally from the US, growing up in Las Vegas, and spending 10 years in Columbus, OH before moving to Toronto. She is thrilled to be further developing the exciting downtown Jewish community with her role at Makom and looks forward to meeting you and your families at future events. Sarah lives in the East End with her husband Rob, two sons Gabriel (Gavi) & Rafael (Rafi), and their kitty Nermal.

Contact Sarah via email or call 416-779-3971

Sorel Goldberg Loeb
Director of Curriculum and Staff Development

Sorel Goldberg Loeb was the Director of Education at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale New York for over twenty years before returning to Toronto (where she grew up) in 2016. In that capacity she worked with children, families and teachers of all ages and stages. Sorel is passionate about teaching Hebrew and supporting teachers in their work. She is the author of the teacher resource book “Teaching Torah – A Treasury of Insights and Activities”. Sorel is excited to be joining the Makom community.

Board of Directors

Louise Smith
President

Louise grew up in what she thought was Toronto, until moving downtown and realizing that where she used to live was actually North Toronto. To a downtowner passionate about the environment, arts and social inclusion and looking for an open-minded, progressive Jewish community, Makom was the perfect fit. After many years on Makom’s board, Louise has been President since December 2015. Louise has worked for the Government of Ontario for 16 years, mostly with the Ministry of Transportation.

Barak Queija
Treasurer

barak-queija-photoBarak Queija is an experienced and respected Certified Financial Planner. A graduate of McGill University, he began his career as a consultant for Andersen Consulting / Accenture working for Fortune 500 clients in Canada, United States, England, and Thailand before joining Investors Group in 2006. Barak quickly rose through the consultant ranks, winning back-to-back Pillar Awards in his first four years and a Gold Medal nomination for top consultant in Canada in 2011. Now in his tenth year, Barak is a Senior Financial Consultant and continues to build his financial planning practice demonstrating a consistent ability to protect and grow assets for his clients. Barak takes a holistic approach to wealth creation, protection, and management with both individuals and businesses. He sees his role as helping individuals make well-informed decisions about their investments, tax planning, risk management, retirement plans, and their estate plans. The end result is the delivery of strategies, which provide greater independence and peace of mind.

Ari Kaplan

 

Ari Kaplan is a lawyermediator and radio host focused on dispute resolution. Ari is a native Torontonian and lives in Harbord Village with his fiancée and their blended family of teenagers. Ari believes deeply in Makom’s values and is active on the shul side, balancing a traditional orthodox perspective and working to grow Jewish life downtown.

Daniel Brandes

 

Daniel is a lawyer with the Ministry of the Attorney General and an aspiring musician.  Daniel was born and raised in Toronto and lives in Hillcrest Village with his rambunctious family.  Daniel’s children have been attending Makom Afterschool since 2015 and have been deeply enriched by the program.

 

Adina Gamse

 

Adina Gamse is a postdoctoral fellow researching geometry at the University of Toronto. She has held various volunteer positions for Limmud Conference (in the UK) and sat on the ritual committee of Minyan Tehillah in Cambridge MA, and has been involved in Makom since moving to Toronto in 2016.

 

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