Our Leadership Team
Director of Youth Education and Programming
Racheli Mandelker has a deep connection to their Jewish roots in Toronto, with their family's history in and around Kensington Market. Their grandmother grew up next to the Kiever Synagogue over 90 years ago and their parents were married at the Anshei Minsk synagogue. Racheli's passion for Jewish education led them to study Early Childhood Education at Toronto Metropolitan University before pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching at Brandeis University. Racheli also has a wealth of experience in Jewish education including Jewish Day school and afterschool programming.
Racheli is excited to bring their expertise and passion to Makom. They are committed to creating safe, inclusive, and engaging learning environments where each child can thrive.
Adina Gamse has been involved in Makom since 2016, when she moved to Toronto for a postdoctoral fellowship at U of T. She was elected to Makom's Board of Directors in 2017 and transitioned to full-time staff in 2020, right as the pandemic hit. She is enjoying meeting everyone in person!
Adina has a PhD in Mathematics and loves introducing non-mathematicians to the joys of her subject; she combines this with her love of Jewish learning in her Limmud sessions on Mathematics and Mishna. In her free time she enjoys trampolining and flying trapeze.
Founding Director and Rabbi
Rabbi Aaron Levy is a leader in the revival of downtown Jewish life in Toronto. He is the founding director and rabbi of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism, named one of North America’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’10-’11. He inspires diverse Jews and non-Jews by fusing ritual and ethical practice, and teaching in an open-minded and intellectually serious style, and by making Judaism’s joy apparent through musical, participatory prayer. Before Makom, he founded an independent minyan, served as campus rabbi at three Hillels, and led wilderness backpacking trips. Aaron sits on the Downtown Jewish Community Council, Toronto Board of Rabbis, and the board of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call to Human Rights. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, he was ordained in 2004 in the first graduating class of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah – The Open Orthodox Rabbinical School in New York City.
Aaron lives near Kensington Market with his wife, Miriam, and sons Elie and Adar.
Our Leadership Council
Makom Afterschool’s Leadership Council is comprised of parents who volunteer at the beginning of the school year. Leadership Council offers advice, guides policy decisions, and coordinate various projects throughout the year.
Your skills are needed!
We're a grassroots, parent-led program. We're always looking to expand our skill pool. If you're a parent and have skills to offer, please get in touch. We're especially interested in fundraising expertise and event volunteers.
Makom Families is the family-oriented programming of the broader Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism community.
Makom is organized by Rabbi Aaron Levy and a nine-member Leadership Team (Board of Directors), working collaboratively to plan and run programs, and engaging in a strategic planning process to make Makom a sustainable community and organization.