Our first snowy taste of winter couldn’t stop a crowd of nearly 600 from arriving to the EY Centre on Thursday to honour celebrated businesswoman Barbara Farber at the National Jewish Fund of Ottawa’s annual Negev Dinner.
Farber, president of commercial real estate company Leikin Group, was recognized for her excellence in community leadership and dedication to Israel. “Truly, she’s a remarkable volunteer,” dinner chair Stephen Greenberg, president of Osgoode Properties, told Around Town at the cocktail reception. “She has assumed senior leadership positions in the Ottawa Jewish community, in the Canadian Jewish community and in the general community in Ottawa for close to 40 years.
“It’s one organization after another, and one different task after another, and she’s always done it with tremendous passion, tremendous commitment and distinction.”
From left, Israeli Ambassador Rafael Barak with Rabbi Reuven Bulka and Gillie Vered from Arnon Corporation at the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa’s Negev Dinner held at the EY Centre on Thursday, October 27, 2016 in support of the Barbara and Len Farber Family Science & Sports Centre in Israel’s northern Galilee region.
The sold-out dinner attracted folks from both the Jewish community and beyond. Attendees included Israeli Ambassador Rafael Barak, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Sen. Linda Frum, Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli and JNF Ottawa’s board president, Dan Mader. Also sighted were Algonquin College president Cheryl Jensen, Carleton University president Roseann O’Reilly Runte, Ottawa Airport Authority board chair Susan St. Amand, University of Ottawa Heart Insitute board chair Lawrence Soloway and Jewish community leader Stephen Victor.
From left, Infrastructure Minister and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli with Steve Gordon, president and CEO of The Regional Group, at the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa’s Negev Dinner, held Thursday, October 27, 2016, in support of the Barbara and Len Farber Family Science & Sports Centre in Israel’s northern Galilee region.
The dinner involved familiar names, from its honourary chair David Scott, a well-known lawyer and co-chair of Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), to its keynote spoker, former Conservative senior cabinet minister John Baird (looking slimmer since he resigned from politics last year). He now sits on a number of advisory boards and is a senior business advisor with Canadian law firm Bennett Jones.
Baird first met Farber when he was a young man running for provincial politics (he served as Nepean’s representative at Queen’s Park for 10 years). He considers her not only a friend but also like family. “She’s a great lady,” said Baird, who recalled getting a call from her during the Great Ice Storm of 1998. She desperately needed an emergency generator – which she managed to track down on her own – in order to milk the large number of cows at her grandfather’s old dairy farm. Her grandfather was Harry Leikin, a legendary Nepean businessman and founder of Leikin Group.
From left, dinner chair Stephen Greenberg, honouree Barbara Farber and keynote speaker John Baird at the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa’s annual Negev Dinner held Thursday, October 27, 2016, at the EY Centre in support of the Barbara and Len Farber Family Science & Sports Centre in Israel’s northern Galilee region.
Farber serves as chair of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation board. She was also the founding board chair of both the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation and the Algonquin College Foundation. She’s former national president of the United Israel Appeal Federations Canada.
She was joined at the dinner by her family, including her husband, Len Farber, and their two sons, Michael Farber and Steven Farber (he was one-time senior policy advisor to Baird).
Dinner proceeds, which were not disclosed by JNF Canada, are going toward the Barbara and Len Farber Family Science & Sports Centre located in Israel’s northern Galilee region. “I’m very excited about the project that we’ve chosen because I see a huge potential for it to be a life-changing experience for the young Arab and Jewish Israelis who will enjoy the facility,” she told Around Town.
Prominent businesswoman Barbara Farber, 2016 honouree at the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa’s Negev Dinner, was joined by, from left, son Michael Farber, husband Len Farber, and son Steven Farber, at the EY Centre on Thursday, October 27, 2016.
The centre will provide children and youth with first-class sports facilities and science labs, giving students access to science, physics, aeronautics and robotic workshops and international competitions. “When children and teenagers are able to study all the latest sciences together and work on projects together and compete together against other schools, they begin to rely on one another, to trust one another and even get to like one another,” Farber told Around Town. “The athletic facility will carry with it all of the same advantages; there is nothing like team work. Trust, reliability and discipline are all wonderful traits to learn.
“Len and our children are excited about the possibilities of positively influencing generations of Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens.”