Michael Polowin, Chair


Michael Polowin has been involved in our community for many years.  He has served on his shul board and the Board of Hillel Academy, as Chair of Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa for 10 years, Chair of the Federation Annual Campaign, President of the Ottawa Jewish Community School, and Vice-Chair of Federation for two years.

As Chair of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Michael wants to enhance our community, particularly Jewish education. As he says, "Our community, like our families, is our responsibility.  It was built by visionaries, brick by brick, institution by institution. It is now my privilege to look forward to leading the Board of Federation for the next two years, in order to preserve the work done by the giants of the past, and to help lead our community into the future."

Michael was born and raised in Ottawa, and is married to Melanie, also a native of our community. Together they have raised two children, who grew up in our community at Hillel Academy and Camp B’nai Brith. Professionally, Michael is a partner at Gowling WLG LLP, and leads its National Municipal Law Group. He is recognized for his professional work in Best Lawyers in Canada, the Lexpert Legal Directory and Chambers Global.

"Serving on the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Board of Directors is truly an honour. Over the last 26 years, my family has been fortunate to experience the benefits of having a strong Jewish community, from Hillel Academy to Temple Israel Religious School, SJCC Day Camps and many swimming lessons at the SJCC. I look forward to contributing to the future of a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive community."

Kevin Barwin
Board of Directors

“Serving on the Federation’s board provides a fresh, new and direct opportunity to give back to the community.”

Harold Feder

Board of Directors

“Working with Federation is an opportunity to support and shape the Jewish community and Jewish experiences of Ottawa for me and my young family, for today and for years into the future.”

Stacy Goldstein

Board of Directors

“I feel fortunate to serve on the JFO board alongside others who are committed and passionate about the success of the Ottawa Jewish community. I am grateful to participate in effecting a thriving community today and into the future as so many past volunteers have ensured for me, my family and the larger Jewish community of Ottawa."

Jessica Greenberg

Board of Directors

"It's far too easy to take for granted the Jewish agencies and Federation services that our families benefit from and rely upon. However, these agencies and services only exist today through the dedication and effort of previous generations of staff and volunteers. It is an honour and a privilege for me to continue this work by serving on the Federation board."
Jeff Laks
Board of Directors

My father instilled a simple yet profound philosophy into my life when I was a young child. He told me to plant seeds in my own garden to improve and create beauty in my surroundings. In this way, I would be leaving the world a better place, tying into the Jewish concept of tikkun olam.
In keeping with this, I am honoured to be a part of the JFO board, working alongside a remarkably dedicated group of individuals. I believe strongly in the core values of Federation and its commitment to support and care for every aspect of Jewish life in Ottawa, ensuring that our community remains strong and vibrant for our children and for future generations.
Karen Palayew
Board of Directors

"Many years, my family and I have enjoyed so many benefits run by the Federation and its associated agencies. It is hard to imagine what our Jewish lives would be like without services like the community day school for our two kids, or the SJCC and all its activities, or other social services. Now it's my turn to volunteer time for the board, and work with other volunteers and staff on the challenges of communicating, reaching out and helping community relations. This will be an honour and a responsibility.

Victor Rabinovitch
Board of Directors


“I am honoured to serve on the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Board of Directors. This is an opportunity to give back to the Jewish community and its institutions which, in many ways, have shaped who I am today.”

Jacob Shabinsky
Board of Directors

“I am dedicated to my community to ensure a Jewish identity for my children. Through giving, I have found the more I give, the more I want to give whether it be time, donations or experience.”

Nikki Shapiro
Board of Directors

Community service is an expression of fundamental Jewish values which are a cornerstone of my life. Ottawa has outstanding leaders who recognize and exemplify that we must be devoted stakeholders contributing time, energy and resources to enhance our community. These leaders are intelligent, sensible and sensitive, caring and considerate, selfless and passionate, and they are respectful about creating a better community and a better world. I am both blessed and privileged to be able to give back to our city, our country and the Jewish people, an opportunity which makes my life and the lives of my wife, our three precious sons and our beautiful daughter-in-law so fulfilling. I love to team with people who have similar energy and enthusiasm and who demonstrate the courage to lead. Can 1 day of giving inspire 364 more?
Ian Sherman
Board of Directors

Hartley Stern
Past Chair
Board of Directors


"I come from a family of proud volunteers. Volunteering is an opportunity to have an impact on individual lives and make our Ottawa Jewish community stronger - to ensure the continuity of our traditions while evolving to meet the needs of the future."

Danya Vered
Board of Directors