Golf Tournament




Philosopher Cafe is Back!

Philosopher's Cafe:


Date: Tuesday November 24

Time: 7:00pm

Location: OJC


Mitch Bloom will present a talk on the history of how European Jewish Refugees found sanctuary in Shanghai at a time when no other country would accept them. 


Mitch, who has visited the Shanghai Jewish ghetto, will describe how the Jews traveled to Shanghai, how they adjusted to life in Shanghai, their relationship to the Japanese who controlled Shaghai, and the impact of the end of the war in the Pacific. 

He will also address the question of why the Japanese protected the Jews at this time.  The answers may surprise you.


Some of you may remember Mitch who was a long time member of the Okanagan Jewish Community and now resides in Washington.

If you require further information, please

e-mail: or phone the office

at 250-862-2305



Previous Philosopher's Cafe:

Title: Is there justification for society’s view of scientists as untrustworthy?

Speaker: Dr. Susan Jacobs-Kaufman, Professor Emerita, University of Alberta


Date: Wednesday September 30th

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: OJC

Price: Free


About our Speaker: Dr. Jacobs-Kaufman received her B.Sc. from University College London, her M.Sc. from McGill, and her Ph.D. from UBC. After postdoctoral studies at Cambridge and l’Université de Lausanne, she moved to the University of Alberta where she was a professor in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine. Her research, which was supported by funding from CIHR, from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and from the Canadian Space Agency, centred on the control of volume, pressure and flows in the cardiovascular system. She retired to the Okanagan in 2012, although she returns the Alberta in the winter to visit her children and grandchildren and to bask in the sunshine!

When: Monday July 20th

Time: 7:00pm

Where: OJC




TOPIC:  “How Does the Creative Process Work?


“How do we come up with new ideas?


I will introduce a theory of creativity which need not involve multiple distinct candidate ideas, or selection.


According to the honing theory of creativity:

(1) Creative individuals reshape issues or ideas that are ill-formed by considering them from different perspectives or contexts,

(2) Intuition has a scientific explanation, and

(3) Creative outputs result from a reorganization of an individual’s view of the world.

There is an interplay of the elements of a body of knowledge to solve problems, to reduce dissonance, and/or to accommodate unexpected events. Occasionally, one thought triggers another, which triggers an avalanche of conceptual change resulting in insight. I will present converging evidence for honing theory from neuroscience, studies of analogy formation and creative style, a mathematical theory of concepts, and a computer model of cultural evolution.”



Liane Gabora is an Associate Professor of Psychology and creativity studies at the University of British Columbia. Her research, which employs both experimental studies with humans and computational models, focuses on creativity and how creative ideas evolve over time as different people adapt them to their own needs and tastes and put their own spin on them. She has over 150 scholarly publications, has obtained over one million dollars in research grants, and has given lectures worldwide. She is also a published fiction writer, co-owns a small mobile app company, and composes music for piano.

DATE:  MAY 26, 2015

TIME: 7:00pm


Executive Director/Okanagan Basin Water Board




“No watershed is an island: understanding Okanagan water in a time of change”


Anna Warwick Sears is the Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, a collaborative local government water agency.  Raised in B.C., she received a PhD in population biology at the University of California - Davis. Before returning to Canada in 2006, Dr. Sears was Research Director of a watershed NGO in California. Dr. Sears is passionate about using science to solve real-world problems and building bridges with community stakeholders.  She is active in Canadian grant making networks, and serves on the Board of Governors of the B.C. Real Estate Foundation. In her free time, Anna loves to explore the Okanagan valley, and cook dinner for friends.


"The Make Believe Balance"

"Budgeting When the Government Doesn't Come Clean"

Speaker: David Bond

When: Wednesday March 4th

Bio: David E. Bond was born in Hamilton, Ontario and attended Dartmouth College and Yale where he received a doctorate in economics. He has taught at the universities of Western Ontario, Québec and British Columbia and has co-authored books and articles on Money and Banking, Free Trade and Canadian Economic history.

In 1972 he joined the federal civil service where he worked in Census planning, and later as Assistant Deputy Minister of Intellectual Property. In 1980 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Economic Planning for the federal government, and in 1982 he moved to British Columbia as the Federal Economic Development Co-ordinator. For two years, he headed the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. From 1989 to 1998 he served as Chief Economist for the Hong Kong Bank of Canada.

He was the founding President of the Friends of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and is a past president of the Vancouver Maritime Museum. He also served on the Boards of Langara College and Simon Fraser University. He is the past Chair of the Board the BC Wine Institute, and was a board member of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. David Bond is now retired, and lives in Kelowna BC where he writes a weekly column for the Kelowna Courier. 


"Where to Draw the Line"

"Challenges to Free Speech from Maurice Duplesses to Charlie Hebdo".

Speaker: Andrew Irvine

When: Wednesday February 18 

Bio: A past-president of the BC Civil Liberties Association, Andrew Irvine will be speaking about the importance of free speech in Canada and other Western democracies on February 18 at 7.00pm. His talk will review the current state of Canadian law with regard to free speech and other fundamental democratic freedoms and will discuss several landmark Supreme Court of Canada cases.

About Andrew Irvine:

"After The Dinosaurs"

Extraordinary rates of erosion and how they created the Canadian landscape.

Speaker: Dr. Robert Young, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, UBCO


Bio: Robert Young became attracted to an academic life after being bitten by a bug called "Earth Surface Processes". Having
completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. at the University of Calgary, he has ended up at UBC's
Okanagan campus. Throughout his academic career, Dr. Young has worked on a number interesting projects, collaborating
with Ice Age Palaeontologists.
Synopsis of talk: This presentation marks a departure from Dr. Young’s usual work in that it addresses processes and time
spans much larger than his Ice Age studies. It is important because it addresses the mechanisms and timing of processes
responsible for leaving Canada the way we see it today. The journey is surprising and the inferences enormous, and should
hold the interest of anyone interested in understanding how this part of their natural world acts.
*Should you require any further information or directions, please call Anne at the OJC at 250-862-2305


“Universities, Liberal Learning, and The Promise of New Technologies” Dr. Patrick Keeney.

When: Wednesday Oct 22nd

Time:  7:00pm

Where: Okanagan Jewish Community Centre, 102 Snowsell Street North, Kelowna, BC

Cost: FREE

Universities have increasingly become institutions devoted to imparting vocational, technical and managerial skills.   This has resulted in the diminution of the humanities and liberal education.  However, various new technologies hold great promise for filling this void, and have opened up amazing (if largely unrealized) opportunities for moving the humanities off campus and into affordable and accessible venues.  The challenge is to imaginatively embrace the opportunities afforded.

"The Accidental Zionist": Dylan Handley

Location: The Okanagan College - Theater Room

Join Dylan Hanley of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs as he discusses how he moved from an anti-Israel stance to one of support of the State of Israel. Dylan will discuss the philosophical issues underlying the movements as well as the current environment on Israel-related issues.
Dylan Hanley—Assoc. Director, University Relations, CIJA


Monday October 21 7:00pm

"A Prominent British Jewish Family's Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW Camp"

Location: OJCC

Join Ester Benjamin Shifren, as she discusses her family’s Century in Shanghai. She is an author, artist, musician, and dynamic international speaker. Ester’s book, Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family's Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW Camp, covers all aspects of her family’s century-long sojourn in China, and also details the culture and tribulations of the colorful, multi-ethnic groups who lived in “The Paris of the East."

Monday June 24th 7:00

"What Motivates Extremists?" by Dr. Maryam Razavy

What better time to discuss these questions than now, with the recent Boston bombings and the arrest of two young men suspected plotting to commit terrorist acts here in Cana-da? Opinions are rampant, and often strongly held. But what do we actually know about what leads individuals down this path?
Wasn’t it simple when we thought that it was just a question of education? But many of these extremists are well educated. Without some understanding of the factors involved, how can we ever hope to prevent such acts from occurring? Dr. Ra-zavy, who holds a joint PhD in Sociology and Religious Studies from the University of Alberta, is well renowned for her teaching and schol-arship on these issues. She believes that it is critical to understand why adherents of religions that preach peace, love and harmony will commit acts of violence against people of other faiths, and even against members of their own faith.


November 5th at 7:00pm

Speaker: Mr. AVI MELAMED

Monday, November 5th at 7:30pm

Location: Okanagan Community College - Theatre Room in Students center

Price: Free to the Public

The OJC is pleased to present, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Canada, Mr. Avi Melamed.


The Middle East 2012 - Winds of Change and Quick Sand: The Arab Awakening, Israel and the Region

AVI MELAMED is an independent Strategic Intelligence Analyst and lecturer on Middle East
Affairs including Current Affairs in the Arab and Muslim world and the Impact on Israel and
the Middle East; Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in the Arab World; the Role of
Evolving Radical Islam; Israel's Security Challenges, etc.








Israel and her Neighbours



On Monday June 4, over 50 guests attended a special Philosopher’s Café featuring a presentation by Rabbi Joel Schwartzman on Israel and her Neighbours.  Rabbi Schwartzman is a retired US air force chaplain, Colonel, who has served over 23 years in the military and has seen tours of duty
throughout Europe and the Middle East.  Rabbi Schwartzman approached the topic from a somewhat unconventional perspective.  He focused on Israel’s neighbours and their past and present actions that affect the balance of power in the region.  It was a thoroughly thought provoking evening, as confirmed by the interesting questions posed by the audience.

Rabbi Schwartzman will be returning to Kelowna in September. Please check the OJC website for dates and speakers of next season’s Philosopher’s Café.






On Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm, there will be a special Philosopher’s Café presentation, at the Okanagan Jewish Community Centre, with Guest speaker Dr. Ross Halperin, MD who is the Professional Practice Leader in Radiation Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior in Kelowna.

Dr. Halperin will be accompanied by Cynthia Waldek-Peters, Director of Development, Southern Interior for the BC Cancer Foundation.

Our local Cancer Centre is part of the BC Cancer Agency providing a province-wide cancer control program for everyone in British Columbia and Yukon.  The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.

Come out to hear about some very exciting initiatives happening right here in Kelowna at our local Cancer Centre, the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior.

This event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC at NO CHARGE and will take place at 7:00 pm on Monday, April 16, 2012 at the Okanagan Jewish Community Centre located at 102 Snowsell Street N (corner of Union & Snowsell St – across from the North Glenmore Elementary).




On Monday, April 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm, Inspector Rick Flewelling of the Kelowna RCMP detachment will be the Guest Speaker at the monthly OJC Philosopher's Cafe.

Inspector Flewelling is the Operational Support Officer with his position encompassing all plain clothes/specialized investigative units as well as traffic, the forensic identification unit, Police Dog Services and professional standards.  He also looks after the HR for the Kelowna office. He will be speaking about his experiences when he was with the security detail for the Governor General as well as present day challenges.




On Monday, March 5, 2012, Sharron Simpson was the Guest Speaker at the OJC’s monthly Philosopher’s Café. 

Sharron’s background in the Okanagan and Kelowna, in particular, made her an ideally suited person for

writing the book “The Kelowna Story: An Okanagan History”. She has published numerous artivles and local histories, including two previous books entitled "Boards, Boxes and Bins: S.M. Simpson and the Okanagan Lumber Industry" and "Kelowna's General Hospital: The First 100 years" as well as a third book, co-written with Ian Greenwood, entitled "Deep Roots, Strong Branches: The History of Sun-Rype Products Ltd."


There were about 60 in attendance (almost a full house in the auditorium of the OJC). Sharron led her audience

through the early beginnings of Kelowna as it was discovered through exploration up from the United States

with the event of Father Pandosy settling in the Okanagan Mission and other details and stories of Kelowna’s

progress through to the way the City of Kelowna has evolved today. As well, she read some excerpts from the

many stories (about the early founders) included in her book.


The audience was given an opportunity to ask questions following her presentation. After the question period,

former OJC Past President and Philosopher’s Café Chair, Mel Kotler, thanked Sharron and presented her with a

bottle of wine from Summerhill Winery as a token of appreciation. Everyone was then invited to enjoy some light refreshments and mingle.


The book is certainly a ‘must read’ for anybody who has recently moved to Kelowna or is thinking about moving to Kelowna as it is informative and entertaining and embellishes the humanity which has made Kelowna such a special place to live and visit.





The Okanagan Jewish Community hosted Teresa May on February 6th, 2012. Teresa was the guest speaker at the OJCA's monthly Philosophers Cafe Program, that is open to the public at no charge. There were close to 35 people in attendance for a very inspirational topic given by Teresa on multiculturalism and about people accepting One race....the human race.

Teresa talked about the need for accepting differences in, race, culture, and religion, gender, and people with disabilities.  She also talked about her experiences as a Chinese immigrant moving to Canada with her family at a young age. Teresa explained how difficult it was in the 1970's  and the effects that racism had on her, however she was a fighter and always protected her brother and sister.
Teresa attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax Nova Scotia and graduated with a Bachelor of child study degree. Teresa was a teacher for 10 years, and has taught children ages 3-11. Teresa's love for children has always been her main focus of her career, and encouraging them to participate in random acts of kindness and making a difference in the world they live in. She encourages children to stand up for what they believe in, if it means a positive change for the world.
Currently Teresa is promoting her book entitled, "Seeds in the Wind" which she started 20 years ago. One chapter at a time, She read it to her students who later submitted their reflections through drawings, poems, and journal entries. A 10 year old student thought that May's life was like a ‘seed in the wind’ - hence the title of her book.
May concluded her presentation by saying ‘' I have a dream." Her dream is to sell 1 million copies of her new book, and to give a portion of the proceeds to the ‘My Fairy Godmothers’ Organization in Kelowna which she is a co-founder of. This organization’s mission is," to help children with broken hearts".
The evening concluded with OJCA Executive member Michael Troup, thanking Teresa May for her encouraging presentation and the message it sends.  He presented her with a print by artist Lee Claremont entitled "Hope."
Everyone had refreshments and mingled.



The Okanagan Jewish Community hosted newly elected Mayor Walter Gray on January 9, 2012. He was the guest speaker at the OJCA's monthly Philosopher's Cafe program, open to the public. Close to 50 OJC and other members of the public attended for an informative talk on the future of Kelowna under Mayor Gray, followed by a lively question and answer period. Mayor Gray had previously served as Mayor of Kelowna for three, three year terms in 1996 through 2005 and was reelected in the fall of 2011. He spoke of new high rise developments and revitalization of the downtown and waterfront, the new Kelowna Yacht Club, improved transit, Kelowna's airport now being the 10th busiest in Canada, the need to promote a more balanced age demographic of Kelowna residents, policing, taxation and many other areas contained within the city's $412 million budget.

UBCO now has more than 10,000 students and continues to expand with a new Faculty of Medicine. A major expansion of the Kelowna General Hospital is near in completion. Mayor Gray and the new council see the economic benefits of sustained development and want developers to view Kelowna as "open for business".

At age 71 Mayor Gray well illustrated his qualities as an articulate, energetic, and intelligent leader. One of his first acts as newly elected Mayor was an almost immediate approval of the placement of a nine foot menorah in Stuart Park directly across from City Hall for nightly candle lighting during Hannukah.

The evening concluded with the evening's host, OJC member Sid Segal, thanking Mayor Gray and presenting him with a gift of a limited edition print of artist Dina Kotler's 'Red Dragon'.

Everyone mingled and enjoyed refreshments following.