Shopify’s Harley Finkelstein wants to bring Jewish life back to downtown Ottawa

Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Four years ago, Harley Finkelstein, the president of Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify, along with his wife, Lindsay Taub, donated half a million dollars to help open a Chabad student centre in downtown Ottawa. The gift was in thanks to an energetic rabbi who helped Finkelstein when he was a poor law student studying at the University of Ottawa.

Since then, Finkelstein and his family have decided to up their pledge, adding another $1.5 million to expand and renovate the building—which now bears his name. The Finkelstein Chabad Jewish Centre is on Friel Street, just three minutes from where the city’s old Jewish community centre stood for 50 years. That building closed in 1998, following the community’s migration to the suburbs and away from the historic downtown.

Finkelstein joins The CJN Daily to explain why he believes it’s important to bring a visible Jewish presence back downtown, where tourists and locals can see it nearby Parliament Hill, the ByWard Market and the popular university campus.

What we talked about:


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