Felice Lifshitz was born, raised, and educated (through her PhD) in New York City. From 1989 to 2011, she lived in Miami Beach, Florida and taught at Florida International University. She moved to Edmonton in 2011, when her husband (Joseph Patrouch) became Director of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta. She is currently Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta. Professional details, including of her publications, can be found at https://www.ualberta.ca/arts/about/people-collection/felice-lifshitz. She, her husband, and their 19-year-old daughter Quinn (who has a rare chromosomal disorder, 17q12 microdeletion syndrome) became Canadian citizens in January, 2019.
Immediate Past President
Spencer Brawner was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio in the American Midwest. From an early age, he developed a deep fascination with computers and technology. Spencer first signed up for an after-school programming class while in the fourth-grade, learning BASIC programming. In the summer following his seventh-grade year, he studied Visual Basic programming with the Black Data Processing Associates, which laid the foundation for his career in technology.
Spencer's career has led to roles in education, professional sports and aviation where he has focused on innovation and leveraging technology to enable businesses. One of the highlights of his career was managing the technical requirements of the 2010 Grey Cup game and festival as Director of IT for the Edmonton Eskimos. He currently serves as chair of Edmonton International Airport’s Innovation Team and is a technical resource for the airport’s Digital Strategy Program.
Spencer is married to Marina, they enjoy travel and have visited several countries in Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean and Western Europe. As a volunteer, he is the current past president of Temple Beth Ora and has been involved in social justice causes. Spencer has a passion for food and plays keyboard as a hobby.
TUVAL DINNER NAFSHI
Tuval was born in Israel and has lived in South Africa, Ireland and 3 Canadian cities.
A graduate of MacEwan University and University of Victoria in social work, Tuval has worked for the past twenty years in the field of preventing gender-based violence with an emphasis on engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls. He currently works for the City of St Albert and consults for the Canadian Women's Foundation.
Tuval 's partner, Shelly, teaches in the Or Shalom Hebrew school and all 3 of their children have attended the school.
Joel Magalnick settled in Edmonton in 2019 with his wife Jenn and sons Ben and Oscar. He has been active in various professional roles in the Jewish community, including as editor and publisher of the now-defunct Jewish newspaper that served Washington State, as a board member of Seattle’s Temple Beth Am, and currently as secretary for the Northwest BBYO Parent Society.
Joel runs his own consulting business, The Refined Story, which takes an audience-centered approach to companies' messaging and design, including a recently launched a new phone app to connect musicians and fans through live performances. He also sits on the faculty in the school of design at MacEwan University.
Though still new to Edmonton and Temple Beth Ora, Joel’s extended family is not. His wife Jenn was principal of the Hebrew school back in the early ‘90s and the two were married by Rabbi Lindsey Bat Joseph a few years after. Their son Oscar became a Bar Mitzvah in fall 2021.
Born in Hong Kong, I immigrated with my family to Calgary before coming to Edmonton to study at the University of Alberta and I haven’t left since. After completing my MSc in Occupational Therapy, I have been working for the Alberta Health Services as a Mental Health Therapist. I am kept busy by my husband, David, and our 4 year old “Young Primate” and managing our overgrown yard. We joined the TBO community in 2014. I enjoy baking, knitting, and I’m learning to sew.
I was born and grew up in and around New York City. After completing BS and MS degrees in forestry at Syracuse, I relocated to Bryan, Texas, working 20 months in a pine breeding program. Next to University of Minnesota for a PhD in genetics and forestry before taking employment in 1966 with the Government of Canada forestry research agency. Winnipeg, with its substantial Jewish community, proved to be a fortunate work location. Headquartered in Edmonton from 1970 to 1991 with jack pine test plantations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan meant a lot of time on the road. Back to Winnipeg until 1996 when the program funding ran out. Mary Jane and I returned to Edmonton for my retirement and return to the TBO Board of Directors.
Robert was born in New York and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a BA degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Johns Hopkins University, JD from U. Maryland Law School, and a PhD in linguistics from UCLA. Robert moved to Edmonton in 1999 to teach linguistics at U. Alberta, but took early retirement in 2013. He is married to Suzanne Gross and they have two wonderful daughters, now grown-up. Suzanne is active in the Mennonite Church and Robert is active with the Quakers as well as TBO.
His hobbies include bicycling, cooking, permaculture gardening, anarchist political thought, and worrying about the climate crisis.
Roxanne Olsen has been a member of TBO for four years, and a resident of the Edmonton area her whole life. She has gone through the conversion process with the wisdom of Rabbi Caine. Her partner, Ian of 10 years and their four cats are the ones that keep her grounded, and give her the strength to serve her community by being a part of the board of directors as a board member. She looks forward to being more involved with the synagogue she adores.