Makom Leadership

Makom is organized by Rabbi Aaron Levy and a four-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.


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.

Rabbi Emma Gottlieb
Director of Education and Family Programming

emma-gottlieb-headshotRabbi Emma brings passion for experiential and alternative methods of Jewish education and is enthusiastic about improving and growing Makom Afterschool and Makom Families. She previously served as Rabbi and Head of School of congregations in Boston and New York and has taught in both informal and formal Jewish educational settings, including camps and Hebrew schools. A guitarist and singer, she is a song leader and shelihat tzibbur – prayer leader. Rabbi Emma is eager to bring her wealth and diversity of experience to Makom and is happy to be back in her hometown. For more info about Rabbi Emma, check out her website. Contact Rabbi Emma via email or call 416-546-6043.

Board of Directors

Louise Smith

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

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

Margie Peskin
Board Member

margieMargie Peskin currently resides in Toronto with her family. She owns Search Forward, a resume writing, job search coaching and career advising business, and also works as a recruiter for several executive search firms. Many years ago (after University), she participated on Project Otzma, a 1 year fellowship in Israel, and then worked for Project Otzma as the program coordinator in New York. In addition to her time in Israel, Margie, who is American, has lived in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Michigan and Iowa before moving to Toronto with her family in early 2014. She has been a volunteer soccer coach since 2007, and is currently a coach and division convener for Toronto High Park FC. Margie has also been involved with local schools on parent council boards both in the U.S. and Canada, and she spends lots of time running and walking through various downtown neighborhoods with her very active dog.

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