Healthy Relationships; Dating, Advocacy and Long Term Commitments

Bios found beneath flyer; RSVP Mandatory;

Dara Abells

is a community Family Physician in Toronto who has a special interest in working with patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. She also works as a consultant on the medical team at Surrey Place, assisting other primary care providers in managing complex medical and psychosocial issues for individuals with IDD. She has multiple publications in the area of primary care of individuals with IDD and has presented on a variety of topics related to caring for individuals with IDD. Following her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Toronto, Dr. Abells created and completed a self-directed enhanced skills program in developmental disabilities and finished a Master’s of Science in Community Health- in the Health Practitioner Teacher Education stream. She enjoys teaching and recognizes the importance of training learners in this field. Over the last year, she has become the program director for the newly established Family Medicine EnhancedSkills program in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at U of T.


I came to live in Canada from France 29years ago, pregnant with Shoshana, who is my 2nd oldest, out of 5. I have 2 kids married, with children, and my baby s now 20yo, in 2nd  year yeshiva in Israel.I used to be a Physics & Software engineer, and now I am an RECE in a Jewish school, where Shoshana volunteers.When Shoshana was born and for many years after that, I had the luxury to be a stay-at-home mother and  I had time to help her grow and flourish into the woman she is today. She is now engaged and working   very hard at learning how to become a married woman.


I am 28 years old. I am engaged to JESSE from NY. I work as an assistant in Eitz Chaim school, in my mother’s class (PreNursery) in the mornings, and in the 5 year old class (SK) in the afternoons. I speak French to my grand-parents and I also know how to read Hebrew to pray.I am an active member of YACHAD and I go to their programs; in person or zoom  world-wide.

Miriam Selick

 is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of CANVAS Arts Action Programs, a charity with a mission of providing empathy-based education on consent & 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion. As part of this mission, CANVAS prioritizes consent education for youth with developmental disabilities. Miriam brings a background as an educator with expertise in consent education for children and youth, as well as experience working directly with youth with developmental disabilities. Miriam has a Bachelor of Education Degree from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto and a Master’s in Literature from York University. 

Gill Lefkowitz

is a retired teacher with a passion for early literacy. Along with Gary Clement and Ben Clement, Gill Lefkowitz founded Everyday Friends in 2011. Everyday Friends is a social network created to fill a gap in the social lives of young adults with developmental disabilities. EF provides a once a month opportunity to participate in events in the community, facilitated by committed, long-time mentors. No parents allowed! Since 2015, Everyday Friends has expanded to offer 2 additional evening programs each month at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.


Important evening to learn and share best practical advocacy practices.

Bios found below flyer;

RSVP Mandatory; susie.jdisabilitynetwork@ssokol

SIMCHA WEINSTEIN is an internationally known author and leader on disability inclusion, autism and neurodiversity. He has appeared on CNN and NPR and has been profiled in leading publications, including the New York Times, Miami Herald, and London Guardian. A syndicated columnist, he writes for Tablet Magazine, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Condé Nast, and many other agencies. He chairs the Religious Affairs Committee at Pratt Institute, the renowned New York art school. He was recently voted “New York’s Hippest Rabbi” by PBS affiliate Channel 13. He is the DEI coordinator at Families Together in NYS and is the Founder of the Jewish Autism Network. 

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi who is dyslexic and knows what it means to parent an adult child with disabilities, is an expert on disability advocacy. She has worked with US Presidents, Senators, Governors and local leaders to enable people with disabilities to have a better future. She founded and led which fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. Her publications include pieces on advocacyJewish inclusionpractical tips on accessibility, and disability employment. She has won numerous awards for her disability work, including from JCPA and Sulam and from the Zero Project at the United Nations.

Marguerite Schabas is the proud mother of four boys. Her son Peter, who is now 10, was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Marguerite quickly became his strongest advocate, and has learned how complex the public system is to navigate, and how limited access to funding and resources can be for some of our most vulnerable children.   
In addition to advocating for her son, Marguerite has also emerged as a leader within the larger community. Since 2018, Marguerite has acted as the Autism Ontario representative on the Viamonde School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. She was also a member of the Board of the Directors of the Ontario Autism Coalition from 2016 to 2019, acting as Secretary and Treasurer, and continues to represent the organization through media appearances. From 2018 to 2022, Marguerite was Vice-President of Autism Ontario’s Toronto Chapter. . 

 Marguerite continues to advocate for people with autism and other disabilities, to ensure all are provided the opportunity to reach their full potential with appropriate access to supports ensuring personal dignity and respect.

Aaron Seres is a British expat who cares deeply about fighting for issues impacting the Jewish community. As a former senior advisor in the Ontario government, he is deeply tuned into the political system. This proves useful as he focuses on building and strengthening relationships with community partners in the GTA.

Rudy Barell has been working for both the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors for the past 20 years, establishing himself as an expert in government relations, grant writing and strategic planning. He has had the great honour and pleasure to work with amazing organizations in various business spheres: manufacturing, health technology, medical associations, first nations, social service agencies and with all levels of government and their arms-length partners. Rudy Is currently the Chief Operating Officer of DANI’s Place – a unique housing initiative for persons with cognitive challenges based in Ontario, Canada.