Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Leadership Award

Note: Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Leadership Award is awarded every two years in odd-numbered years.


The Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Leadership Award is the highest tribute that the Ottawa Jewish Community can bestow on an individual, honoring a lifetime of leadership in the Jewish world. Nominations are solicited every second year.

Initiated in 1980, it bears the name of the late Past President Gilbert Greenberg, who exemplified the qualities of leadership which the award seeks to recognize. Leadership in the Jewish community in Ottawa is of paramount importance. National and international volunteer leadership in the Jewish world can offer supplemental value.

All nominees must have volunteered a minimum of 15 years in Ottawa’s Jewish community and continue to be an active participant in the community within the last 3 years. Additional criteria for consideration includes:


•    Leadership resulted in successful community building.
•    Held volunteer leadership positions in more than one organization.
•    Serves as a mentor and role model for others in the community.
•    Positively and profoundly impacted Ottawa’s Jewish Community.


Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Leadership Award recipient – 2021
Debbie Halton-Weiss
Debbie Halton-Weiss is an exceptional and visionary leader who has served the Ottawa Jewish community with distinction for more than 30 years. 
She brings passion and insight to all her volunteer leadership roles, the list of which is immense.  Her committee involvement, both those she served on an those she led is extensive. From the leadership roles she played at Temple Israel and Temple Israel Religious School, to her work with the Young Women’s Leadership Council and Birthright Israel, a key priority for Debbie was building Jewish identity. Significantly, Debbie has co-chaired Federation’s Annual Campaign and chaired Federation’s Board of Directors. 
A common thread in many of her leadership roles is building connection to the people and State of Israel. This is true of her work with Partnership2Gether and is best exemplified in her creation of Dragon Boat Israel, an international project that inspired people in Ottawa, across Canada and around the world, to connect to Israel and Israelis. 

Debbie has also been a passionate advocate and leader of the March of the Living program. She chaired the local program for two years, and the coast-to-coast program for a year as well as serving as a chaperone on the trip. As the daughter of survivors of the Shoah, Debbie felt that the MOL was a critical program to educate and motivate young people. Most recently, she chaired Federation’s Shoah Committee and worked to bring meaningful holocaust education programs to our community. 
Debbie is driven by her strong sense of Jewish identity, love of Israel and its people and a belief that we can accomplish more working together as a united community. She believes that we need to innovate and change to remain relevant, and she is prepared to lead that change. She does not do it for recognition or appreciation. Rather she leads because she wants a better Jewish community for all our children and grandchildren. 

Past Recipients:

1980   Ottawa Chevra Kadisha (Sam Petigorsky z"l)
1981   Lawrence Freiman z''l
1982   Hyman Gould z''l
1983   Thomas Sachs z''l
1984   Norman Zagerman z"l
1985   Hy Hochberg z''l
1986   Sol Shinder
1987   Hy Soloway z''l
1988   Grete Cohen z''l
1989   Abraham Lieff z''l
1990   Abe z''l and Bertha Palmer z''l
1991   Irving Greenberg z''l
1992   Stephen Victor
1993   Irving Rivers z''l
1994   Chick Taylor
1994   Rose Taylor z''l
1995   Casey Swedlove z''l
1996   Issie Landau z''l
1997   Joseph Lieff z''l
1998   Gerald Berger z''l and Thelma Steinman z''l
1999   Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka z"l
2000   Lawrence Greenberg z''l and Lorry Greenberg z''l
2001   Stan Katz z''l
2002   Sara and Zeev z''l Vered
2003   Dr. Bernard Dolansky
2004   Stephen Greenberg
2005   Barbara Farber
2006   L. Gerald Levitz z''l
2007   Roger Greenberg
2008   Arnie Vered z''l
2009   Ingrid Levitz
2010   Ron Prehogan
2011   Ian Sherman
2012   Maureen Molot
2014   Mitchell Bellman
2015   Jonathan Ben-Choreen Freedman
2017   Jeffrey Miller
2019   Steven Kimmel
2021   Debbie Halton-Weiss