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Samantha Loxton

Mark Mendelsohn

Rob Berkowits

Josh Cooper


by Rhonda Spivak, November 29, 2012

Samantha Loxton, who has served as Program and Communications Co-ordinator for the Jewish National Fund Man/Sask Region for the last year has left the JNF and will begin a new position as the Executive Director of the Winnipeg Chapter of the Canadian Friends of Ben-Gurion University [CABGU] in January 2013.

Mark Mendelsohn, National Executive Vice President of CABGU, who joined the CABGU team in July 2011 was in town conducting interviews for the position recently.


Karla Berbrayer, the newly appointed President of the Jewish National Fund here told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that she wishes Loxton “all the best in her new job.”

Loxton who began working full-time for the JNF just over a year ago on November 16, 2012 left the JNF about a day ago. The position Loxton had taken with the JNF just over a year ago was a new position that was created following Rob Berkowits becoming the new Executive Director of the JNF in September 2011. Berkowits took over at the JNF office after Israeli shaliach Erez Rotem returned to Israel and a restructuring of the JNF organization occurred here.

Loxton’s work at the JNF involved working with Berkowits in the development of annual fundraising plan/initiatives for the JNF, and delivering communications related to the JNF website, e-newsletter and social networking site programs. Loxton also assisted Berkowits in communications with the media and community, in promoting events and campaigns.

Prior to working at the JNF office, Loxton was employed by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. She worked as the Hillel Co-ordinator on campus before becoming the Jewish Federation's Director of Leadership Development. In that position, she co-ordinated J-PEG programming (for young adults between ages 25-45) and leadership initiatives.

Now that she is working at BGU here, Loxton will return to working on the third floor of the Asper Campus, not too far from her old office at the Jewish Federation.

In the last couple of months, Loxton was involved in planning two programs for the JNF, partnering with the New Shul of Winnipeg. The first was an Amaz’in Corn event attended by about 20 people. The second was a lecture attended by about 25 people presented as part of the Jewish National Fund and The New Shul Speaker’s Series, by Dr. Jeffrey Marcus and Rabbi Larry Pinsker, on November 25, 2012 “The Human Genome: Blueprint or Bible? Decoding and Encoding the Basics of Life in Biology and in Religion.’

The position at the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Friends of Ben-Gurion University which Loxton takes up has been vacant for the last several months since this summer  when Carla Vickar's departed.

The new new national executive vice-president JNF director is Josh Cooper, who took over the helm of JNF this past August, to replace outgoing national vice-president Joe Rabinovitch, 71. Cooper had been working as JNF Canada’s executive director for Toronto. Prior to that Cooper was the executive director of the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) – which he helped found in 2005.

Cooper, who is a very capable speaker, was in town for a JNF luncheon that took place here following the high holidays at the Fort Garry Hotel. At that time, Cooper gave an address in which he spoke about the need to continue giving to the JNF, even though Israel as a country is far wealthier than it used to be when the state was founded. He spoke about the fact that Canada is a wealthy country but nonetheless the Jewish community still gives to a full range of charitable organizations, as they do commendable necessary work. The luncheon was attended by Minister of Labour and Immigration Christine Melnick, who was the JNF Negev Gala Honouree two years ago, along with JNF Board Members, Marsha Cowan, CEO of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Rabbis, clergy, executive directors of synagogues, and the administration from the Gray Academy of Jewish Education.

In an article about Cooper, the Canadian Jewish News wrote that “Cooper is no stranger to the art of the schmooze. In 2004 he ran as MP candidate for the Conservatives in the riding of Thornhill after meeting a then relatively unknown Stephen Harper and being inspired by his pro-Israel political stance, he said. He ultimately lost to Liberal Susan Kadis, but his experience allowed him to hone his abilities as a successful networker.”

Cooper began his tenure with a major announcement, that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be the 2013 Negev Dinner honouree in Toronto.

As the CJN noted, “It’s believed to be the first time a sitting Prime Minister has been honoured at a Negev Dinner.

Cooper told the CJN, “We anticipate that being the largest dinner event the community’s ever seen,” Josh Cooper said. “The Prime Minister has agreed to do it. He deserves the honour.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.