Board Members

Karen Palayew


"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 Federation 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."

"I am honoured to join the Federation Board and sit at the table with a dedicated group of volunteers who care so deeply about the community’s well-being. Federation supports the fabric of Ottawa’s Jewish life and I am inspired to contribute to this sacred work. I feel it is our collective responsibility to secure a vibrant, relevant and sustainable Jewish Ottawa for our children and future generations."
Leila Ages
Board of Directors

"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

"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

"I am honoured and excited to serve on the Board of Federation. My involvement in the Jewish community as a teenager and young adult fundamentally shaped who I am today, and I want to ensure that everyone can have such opportunities, at all stages of their life. I believe that Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh – all jews are responsible for one another, and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the further strengthening of an already impressive community in Ottawa."
Marina Milyavskaya
Board of Directors

A proud believer in our community, Michael has been active in fundraising and numerous volunteer activities. Among his many endeavours, Michael co-founded and chaired the University Division of UJA in the ‘70s.  He served on the Boards of the Ottawa Jewish Community School and Agudath Israel. He canvassed for the Federation’s Annual Campaign, participated in the Steering Committee to build the Community Campus, and served on the High School Task Force. 
Michael Polowin
Past Chair

“Federation brings together not only our community and its diverse agencies, but also contributes to the global Jewish community through its support of, and affiliation with, global agencies that provide relief to the vulnerable around the world and invaluable support of Israel and her people.  It is an absolute honour to follow in my parents’ footsteps and serve on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.”
Gillian Presner
Board of Directors

“My bubbie’s volunteer work and dedication to Israel has inspired me to be more involved. Having lived in a community with limited Jewish life, I realize how privileged we are to have Jewish Federation of Ottawa. I am honoured to be part of the Federation board.”
Alice Retik
Board of Directors


"Serving on the Federation Board is a true honor and privilege. It is an opportunity to give back to an institution that has supported so many great programs in our city. It allows me to help shape the future of Jewish Ottawa."
Tal Scher
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

For Ian, community service represents an expression of fundamental Jewish values which are a cornerstone of his life. He urges us all to be devoted stakeholders of Jewish Ottawa and contribute time, energy, and resources to enhance our community. Ian expresses that he is blessed and privileged to be able to give back in this way, an opportunity that makes his life and the lives of his wife and their three precious sons even more fulfilling.
Ian Sherman
Past Chair

"I am deeply humbled to serve on the Board of Federation -- the beating heart of Tikkun Olam in Ottawa -- and being able to contribute to an organization that nurtures so many in our city. I have built my career on public service, and I look forward to expanding on that commitment to service in this new leadership role within our Jewish community." 
Marci Surkes
Board of Directors

Danya Vered
Board of Directors
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