Board of Directors

Tamir has a volunteer Board of Directors who share a commitment to ensuring responsive, high quality services are provided by Tamir. Directors are elected for a 1 or 2 year term and may serve a maximum of 6 consecutive years as Board Members at Tamir.

2021 – 2022 Board of Directors

Board of Directors Bios

Joe BrownsteinJoe Brownstein

Joe was born and raised in Ottawa. He has spent the majority of his life studying art and design. Doing a post-grad in Computer Security and then studying Cognitive Science and Psychology at Carleton University, has landed him squarely in the middle of User Experience and Product Design. He works as a Senior Designer for an international data analytics company called Qlik. With Qlik having its origins in Sweden, you’ll often find Joe travelling or on conference calls with his colleagues there.

Joe grew up with a younger brother who has both physical and developmental disabilities. This has made Joe acutely aware of the accessibility required for individuals. It has also helped get Joe interested and working on many digital accessibility initiatives, both for private and public industries. Today, his brother is a resident in a Tamir house.

Spearheading the hand-over, management and Board details (as both Member and President) for one of Ottawa’s largest condo corporations has given Joe extensive Board-level and governance experience in the past. When not working, Joe loves learning, relaxing with family, volunteering, and helping others wherever possible.

Shira Brass

Shira BrassBorn and raised in Ottawa, Shira has always has always been involved in community life. Shira is a lawyer practicing criminal law with Brass Law Office. She completed her Juris Doctor degree at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. While at law school, Shira founded the Business Law Association of Dalhousie and acted as president of the Jewish Law Students Association.

For two years, Shira worked on Parliament Hill, and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of International Trade. During this time, Shira was a member of the founding executive of the Glebe Shul and served on the JNet Major Events Committee.

Shira received her undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in Sociology. While at Queen’s, Shira was involved in a number of student groups including Hillel, Israel on Campus, Queen’s Gymnastics Club, Queen’s Model Parliament and the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society Marketing Commission.

Shira has volunteered with vulnerable groups including disadvantaged youth through the KidsSport Running and Reading Program and with at-risk Ethiopian-Israeli youth through the Ethiopian National Project. Shira has served on the Tamir Board of Directors since November 2015.

Jacob Polowin

Jacob Polowin is a lawyer and member of the Business Group in Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office, with a practice focusing on development, municipal and planning law and other development issues.

Jacob holds a BA (Honours) from Queen’s University, and a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School. While at Osgoode, Jacob served as president of the Osgoode International Law Society, and volunteered with Law in Action Within Schools, a collaborative academic and extracurricular education program assisting at-risk students in some of Toronto’s most challenging high schools.

Jacob was born and raised in Ottawa, and attended Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa as a camper and staff for many years, ultimately serving as Head of Operations. He is a member of the Steering Committee of Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Emerging Generation Division.

Adam Moscoe

Adam MoscoeAdam Moscoe is born and raised in Ottawa and first joined the Tamir community as part of the 25th anniversary production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has also worked with young people with developmental disabilities at Camp Ramah in Canada.

Adam works in the Government of Canada and serves as Curator of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community (Ottawa Hub). He holds an MA from the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Risa Plotnick

Ira Abrams, CPA, CA

I am a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant and a Licensed Public Accountant. I am the founder and principal of the accounting firm Abrams & Company.
I have been providing accounting, income tax and business services to clients for over 40 years.

I’m a graduate of Concordia and McGill University with a bachelors’ degree in Commerce and a diploma in public accountancy. I have been a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario since 1979.

I have also taught the Income Taxation course at Algonquin College. I’m married to Joanna, a retired social worker and have 2 married sons, Daniel-40 Jonathan -36, and Jordan- 29 and I have three grandsons.

I have been active in the local community. I am the past treasurer of Jewish Family Services, Hillel Lodge, and Hillel Academy. Currently I am the treasurer of Tamir Foundation and Ottawa Jazzworks.

In my spare time, if any, I build plastic models and collect fountain pens. I have recently given up learning the clarinet but would love to learn the Bagpipes!

Josh Finn

Josh FinnJosh was born and raised in Ottawa. He has worked for various Federal Government departments, and is currently at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa, and a Masters of Arts in Global Communication from the George Washington University.

Josh has volunteered with a variety of organizations including Special Olympics, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Skating Buddies Program that teaches newcomers to Canada how to skate. Josh has also been involved with Tamir for a number of years as his brother Jordan is a Tamir resident. In his spare time, Josh enjoys being active outside including running, biking, skiing, and paddle boarding.

Brian Gold

Brian is currently a partner in First Bay Properties Inc. where he is involved in overall strategy for First Bay and its transactions and structuring from a legal and business perspective, in addition to providing legal and business advice on acquisitions.

Brian formerly practiced real estate law in Ottawa in a firm where he was also managing partner.

Brian entered the business world in 1989 when he joined with 2 other partners to grow Huneault Waste Management Ltd. into an integrated waste management firm with a licensed landfill and transportation fleet. Huneault was sold in 2000 to what is today Waste Connections of Canada.

Brian chaired the Temple Israel (Ottawa) Foundation for 8 years. He also served on the boards of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust and Dance Collection Danse a national dance archive and publishing organization.

Brian and his wife Susan are members of Temple Israel in Ottawa as well as Congregation B’nai Emunah in Tulsa, Oklahoma where their daughter Rachel Gold and her husband Rabbi Daniel Kaiman live with their daughter Shula. Brian and Susan’s other daughter Cara is employed at the Myles Nadal JCC in Toronto where she is Manager of Downtown Jewish Life.

Harvey Goldberg

Harvey Goldberg

Born in Winnipeg Harvey has been a resident of Ottawa since 1978. He retired from the federal public service in 2013 after a 35-year career as a senior policy advisor and manager.

From 1989 until his retirement, he worked at the Canadian Human Rights Commission where one of his major files was the rights of persons with disabilities. In that role he worked closely with Canadian NGOs such the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living (now known as Inclusion Canada). A highlight of his work at the Commission was participating in the development and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

An active community volunteer, Harvey has served on the board, or as an officer, of Adath Shalom Congregation, Hillel Academy, Jewish Family Services (Co-President), AJA 50+ and JOIN. He has also done volunteer work for the Multifaith Housing Initiative, Canadian Jewish Congress, Limmud, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

Barbara Grinfeld

Barbara GrinfeldBarbara Grinfeld holds a B.A. (Hons) and an MBA, both from UBC. She retired in 2017 after 26 years in international business, including a secondment to the Privy Council Office (International Assessment Staff).

Her areas of expertise include political risk assessment and underwriting, limited-recourse financing, and intelligence analysis. She believes that every family with a developmentally disabled child should have free access to support from a circle of medical and paramedical therapy professionals at the outset.

Her son Danny has been a resident at Tamir since 2017. Together they enjoy music, campfires, Jewish Holiday celebrations, and very exuberant renditions of “Dayenu!”

Ira Marcovitch

Ira MarcovitchIra is a lawyer and is a member of the family law practice group at Nelligan Law in downtown Ottawa. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ira is a graduate of Dalhousie University (B.A.) and completed his Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Prior to coming home to Ottawa, Ira practiced family law at a well-respected firm in Toronto.

During his studies, Ira was fortunate enough to work with community legal organizations, spent a semester in Amsterdam and worked closely with members of the judiciary in Toronto. After a decade abroad, Ira decided it was time to return home to Ottawa. In his spare time, Ira is an avid musician, enjoys cooking, travelling and staying active with friends and family.

Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn

Rabbi Mendelsohn was born and raised in Miami Beach, Fl.

He studied in Yeshivas in France, Israel and New York graduating with rabbinic ordination in Sydney, Australia. Since 2002, Rabbi Mendelsohn is the spiritual leader of Chabad of Centrepointe, a vibrant community centre in the heart of Ottawa.

He is also the founder of A Ripple Effect, an organization that allows high school students to volunteer their time with children affected by serious illness.

Rabbi Mendelsohn serves as the Director of Public Affairs of the Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch acting as a liaison for the over 100 Chabad centers across Canada. He served with distinction as the first Jewish chaplain to the Canadian Armed Forces since the Second World War.

Rabbi Mendelsohn and his wife Bassy are the proud parents of seven children.

Morris Neuman

Morris Neuman is retired executive, who spent over 30 years in a variety of senior management positions in policy development and delivery of federal government social programs, primarily in the areas of Employment Services and Immigration and Refugee settlement. He then moved into the technology industry where he was responsible for delivery of Software Services for the Eastern Canada region with SHL Systemhouse and its successor companies, retiring from Hewlett-Packard in 2009.

Together with his wife Pat, and others, for 10 years he produced the annual JCC Theatreworks musical theatre shows at Centrepointe. This ultimately led to him connecting with Tamir to produce their 25th anniversary production of Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has been involved with Tamir in various ways ever since.

Rebecca Rosenstock

Rebecca RosenstockOriginally from Montreal, Rebecca relocated to Ottawa in 2009 to obtain both her Civil and Common law degrees from the University of Ottawa. She later completed her articles locally at a prominent criminal defence firm and launched her own law firm shortly thereafter.

Rebecca currently specializes in the areas of family, child protection and criminal law. Having grown up with her brother, Mikey, who has special needs, Rebecca has become accustomed to dealing with issues that face the special needs community. This has increased Rebecca’s sensitivity, awareness of the challenges faced by others and contributed to her growth in overcoming challenges.

Serving as a Board Member for Tamir allows her the opportunity to give back to the special needs community, in appreciation of her brother. Her mission is to help Tamir achieve its goal towards attaining specialized resources needed to better serve their constituents.

Rebecca is actively involved in the Jewish community as well as the Ottawa community at large through volunteering and participating in philanthropic events. On her free time, Rebecca can be found walking on the canal, tasting a wide array of espresso varieties, movie critiquing and spending time with friends/family.

Joe Silverman

Joe SilvermanI was born in Ottawa in 1948, grew up in East York, Toronto and moved to Israel for five years in July 1967. There, I studied architecture in Haifa and would often travel south to help my parents with their orange groves on Moshav Bet Oved where they resided for 40 years. I then moved to California for two years, working for a medical insurance company in Los Angeles and building play structures at a Head-start Daycare in Berkeley.

I returned to Maynooth, Ontario in 1974 and lived on a communal farm for one year before finishing my architectural degree at Carleton University in 1977. For the next couple of years I was involved with the Dalhousie Neighbourhood Plan, the Lebreton Flats Development and organizing the Bell Street Festival, which was the first of over fifty that I have helped organize since then in Old Ottawa South.

For the last 39 years, I was employed by the Ottawa Association for People with Developmental Disabilities as Supervisor of the Loeb Centre for Vocational Training and more recently, ARC Industries, as well, until I retired in June of 2018. I am currently volunteering at both programs.

I am blessed with two wonderful daughters, each living on opposite coasts of the country, two grandsons and my mum now living at Hillel Lodge, where I’m currently involved with the Family Council. I’ve being residing in Old Ottawa South for the past 42 years.

I hope to contribute to the further success of Tamir.

Liisa Vexler

Liisa VexlerOver the past twenty years, Liisa has had a career full of diverse experiences in the healthcare and social services sectors. Most recently, Liisa co-founded a non-profit called Ausome that promotes meaningful inclusion for children with autism through sport and recreation.

Liisa began her career working in health research and then transitioned to healthcare communications. In 2012, determined to provide the children with a more global perspective, Liisa and her family moved to Costa Rica for three years. Upon returning, Liisa spent five years as executive director building Ausome – handing it off to a new executive director in January 2021.

She now works in fundraising for a hospital foundation, and when not at work is running, baking and whenever possible, travelling.

Gary Viner, MD

Gary Viner, MDAn Ottawa native, and University of Toronto Medical School graduate, Gary completed training in 1980 and commenced family practice with low-risk obstetrics. He assumed the role of Medical Director of the Ottawa CNIB residence, which provided care for those with visual impairment. His practice also included newly discharged patients with quadriplegia. Shortly after Tamir opened, he became physician for several residents, many for over 30 years.

In 2001, while maintaining his clinical practice, he moved to a full-time university role at the Ottawa Hospital. Since 2010, he completed a Master of Education and became medical education researcher developing a nationally recognized reputation. With his medical educator responsibilities continuing, he retired from his clinical practice Jun 30, 2021.

Gary has been married to Debra since 1973 and they have three married daughters, all of whom are educators, teaching in the public boards of Ottawa and Toronto. They proudly have 4 grandchildren, the eldest of whom had her COVID-restricted Bat Mitzvah at Temple Israel Ottawa last October. Gary has also had many roles at Temple including youth advisor, ritual chair, and board and executive member.

Though he has been involved in Tamir’s Strategic planning “Landscape and Research Subcommittee” he looks forward to Board participation.

Richard Zuker

Dick ZukerRichard Zuker graduated from McGill U with a BSC and MBA and completed his graduate studies in regional economics at the U of Pennsylvania. He worked for the federal government in economics and finance from 1973 to 1996. Thereafter, he consulted domestically, mainly to Aboriginal organizations, and internationally.

He was chairman of the finance committee of Temple Israel for many years and was a board member of AJA50+. Richard has been a board member of Tamir for over ten years, including a previous term as president. He is committed to the achievement of the full potential for Tamir’s participants.

Email Richard