This week, OpenCanada asked six experts on the Middle East about Canada’s current policy towards Iran.Below, Ben Shinewald, former national executive director and general counsel for the Canadian Jewish Congress, observes the evolving Canadian Jewish community. To read the other responses, click here.
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress
Benjamin Shinewald is a Toronto-based private consultant. From 2008-2011, he served as the National Executive Director and General Counsel for Canadian Jewish Congress, before being promoted to its Chief Executive Officer. At CJC, Benjamin modernized operations and brought a distinctly youthful, twenty-first century approach to the 93-year-old organization. From 2005-2008, Benjamin served as a Senior Analyst in the Privy Council Office, where he advised two Prime Ministers and two Cabinets on economic policy, including the largest government spending project in post-World War II history. Benjamin practiced corporate and securities law at Torys LLP from 2002-2005, where he advised clients on a variety of complex commercial transactions, including two successful initial public offerings. He earlier served as a Law Clerk to Chief Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel (2002); worked for Hon. Martin Lee, Chair of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong (2000); served in the Canadian Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris (1998-99); worked for the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club of the National Hockey League (1995-96); and interned at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1994/95). Benjamin is a member in good standing of both the Law Society of Upper Canada and the New York State Bar Association. In 2007, Benjamin was awarded an Action Canada Fellowship and named “one of Canada’s best and brightest emerging leaders.” With Action Canada, he co-authored a report on Inter-Provincial Labour Barriers whose chief recommendation was subsequently adopted unanimously by Canada’s Premiers. In 2009, the European Union recognized him as a “young, promising leader,” selecting him from a worldwide pool for the European Union Visitors Programme. In 2010, after only one year at Canadian Jewish Congress, Benjamin was one of the first-ever Canadians awarded a Goldmann Fellowship, in recognition of being a part of “a new generation of Jewish communal leadership.” Benjamin earned a Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Toronto in 2002, where he also served as the President of the Students’ Law Society and was a Fellow at Massey College; a Master’s in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1997, where he was a Fellow at Goodenough College; and a B.A. (First Class Honours) from the University of Manitoba in 1994, where he also participated in a one-year exchange at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has won over a dozen scholarships, including a Rotary Foundation Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship, and was twice short-listed for the Rhodes Scholarship. Benjamin is fluent in English, French and Hebrew, and speaks some Spanish. His work has been published in leading newspapers including the Globe and Mail and specialist newspapers such as the Law Times. He has been quoted in television, radio and in print in three languages. Benjamin was born and raised in Winnipeg and maintains a family cottage in Manitoba. He has lived in Israel, England, France and the United States, and has spent summers in Spain, Turkey and Hong Kong. In 2003, he spent a month backpacking on his own across Ethiopia. Benjamin is an avid runner, having completed a marathon and several half-marathons. He is an award winning amateur photographer, an avid reader of fiction, history and public policy. Benjamin is active in the community, volunteering and serving on charitable boards. He lives with his wife, a child protection social worker, and his daughter, in Toronto.