A Touch of Klez
Dr. David B. Brooks
Elaine Laeser Sisman
David Liebman is an outstanding naturalist and highly published nature photographer. He has taken over 1½ million photographs, and has thousands of photo credits, including images published in National Geographic, Audubon/National Wildlife field guides, and numerous books & magazines. He enjoys leading groups around the country, sharing his deep understanding of nature and explaining the stories behind what we see in nature.
David is also a well-known handwriting expert, who was involved in the Jon Benet Ramsey case and has been appeared on national TV many times. His other talents include breeding new varieties of tropical fish, college instructor, astronomy, , field biology, fossil hunter (paleontology), ethologist & animal whisperer, and master musician & composer.
Touch of Klez is an amateur community band playing for both Jewish and community-wide events in Ottawa. Founded by Hazela Wainberg in 1998, it has developed into a nine-piece band (2 clarinets, flute, keyboard, banjo, mandolin, string bass, drums, singer) focusing on traditional klezmer music.
Appearances have included the Concert for Peace, Herb Gray’s 40th year career anniversary, a fundraiser for Magen David Adom, and an Inter-Faith Concert for Peace. They play every year at the Kosher Food Bank dance evening, the Ottawa Tulip Festival and at Westfest.
Their repertoire includes the range of traditional klezmer, including bulgars, shers, sirbas, freylachs, waltzes, European horas and terkishers. They also move into Yiddish theatre, Israeli, Russian and Ladino songs, and even jazz and pop tunes, particularly by Jewish composers. No matter what’s on the play list, the band's performances are always tuneful and lively, designed to lift the spirit and get your feet moving.
Dr David B. Brooks was educated in geology and economics, and spent much of his professional career with Canada’s International Development Research Centre. He was born in the United States in 1934, immigrated to Canada in 1970, and became a Canadian citizen in 1975. He now advises several Canadian Non-Governmental Organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance (University of Victoria), on water issues. His main research interests are split between water soft paths (an approach to sustainable governance of fresh water) and water demand management in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel and Palestine. Among his books are Zero Energy Growth for Canada (McClelland & Stewart, 1981); Watershed: The Role of Fresh Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (IDRC Books, 1994 - co-author); and Making the Most of the Water We Have: The Soft Path Approach to Water Management (Earthscan, 2009, co-editor). In 2012 Dr Brooks received an honorary doctorate of environmental studies from the University of Waterloo.
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Elaine is a South Beach, Florida Calligrapher. She has a Studio on Lincoln Road Mall & has taught many local professional Calligraphers. In business for 25 years, as Calligraphy by Elaine, Inc., specializing in flourished, lavish Calligraphy for Brides, Corporations, & Luxury Brands. She has worked for celebrity, royalty, & The U.S. White House. She is she is also an Award-Winning Residential Realtor.
Ellen Flax enjoys sharing her love of Jewish texts with others, and regularly teaches at Limmud conferences both here in the United States and in the U.K. At home in NYC she directs a Jewish women's foundation that supports programs in the United States and in Israel.
Thea Schifller received her B.A. from the City University of New York in Creative Writing and a Masters in Counseling from Western Connecticut State University. Ms. Schiller leads an active lifestyle pursuing her literary interests as well as working part-time as a psychotherapist. Ms. Schiller is the Orchard Prize winner for her poem, "Sarah" published in Furrow, University of Wisconsin, and is also published in other university presses. She has just published Blue Morning River, a collection of her poetry, and she is working on a first novel titled: Feather Dance.
Joan Shanfield-Melnick is a member of Mosaic Toronto Canada, always up for an adventure. Her dad always reminded her "Joan, you never let your work get in the way of your sport".
She was a social photographer-videographer in Toronto for 35 years. When her parents passed away in 2010-11 she moved to Windsor, Canada to continue their business Shanfields-Meyers Credit Jewellers-China Shop. Thee are in their 80th year on main street.
Robin Reiner is from Burlington, Massachusetts. In her spare time she also enjoys being creative and is an independent Stampin' Up Instructor teaching card-making.
Phil leads the Ottawa Israeli Folkdance group, and has taught dancing for over 30 years. He loves the physical and spiritual experience of Israeli folk dancing. Phil is also an outdoor enthusiast, who loves camping, canoeing and hiking.
David Kaufman is a northeasterner mislaid in Austin, TX, a recovering professor, a data scientist, and a member of the A Cappella Texas men's chorus and the barbershop quartet Parts Unknown.
Lara Fine, M.A. (Counseling Psychology) is a local counselor and teacher of psychology, meditation and spirituality.