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Naomi and Gerald Brounstein: A life of charity, practicing law and farming!

BrounsteinsBy KINZEY POSEN

Every May, Gerald Brounstein leaves his law practice in Israel, gets on a flight to Canada and makes his way to Kamsack, Saskatchewan where he fires up his tractor, to seed the fields.

He’s been doing it for years……..farming the family farm. Meanwhile, his wife Naomi – back home in Ra’anana, runs a successful charitable organization with her co-founding partner Vivi Mann, paving the way for a brand new approach to helping Israelis in need. Welcome to the lives of Gerald and Naomi Brounstein.
In 1993, while living in Toronto, Gerald, who was born in Kamsack and grew up in Regina, and Naomi, who hails from Hamilton, decided to make aliyah with their three young children. It was a natural move for a couple who both grew up in Zionistic and traditional Jewish homes. Upon arriving in Ra’anana, Gerald went through nine months of articling to be able to practice law in Israel while Naomi, who is also a lawyer, took care of the children and explored volunteering. She also found time to take her master’s in social work at Tel Aviv University.
Fast forward to 2017 – the Brounstein family, still living in Ra’anana, now consisting of six members, with the youngest child serving in the IDF, one an ordained rabbi, another a professional musician, and one a specialist in special education. Three years ago, Noami and her longtime friend, Vivi Mann, came up with a new take on charitable giving – a concept that allows the donor to know exactly where their donation goes and the effect it has on the recipient family. The idea is simple and extremely transparent. It all takes place online, where donors donate any amount they want, up to, but not more than $1500. On the site, donors see specific cases of Israelis-in-need and they decide which of the posted cases they would like to help. It could be the purchase of a fridge, a stove, eyeglasses or medical equipment. These are real items for real people in need. It’s a variation of crowd funding – and a very effective means of raising money for specific needs.
The process starts with  Israeli social workers identifying cases where their clients could benefit and submitting an application and case history to Ten Gav. From there, a committee evaluates the request. The name Ten Gav, by the way, which is Hebrew for give back, is a play on words,  as it can also mean “I’ve got your back” or “You’re protected.”
In a world where many charities are faceless and the donors don’t know exactly where their money goes, Ten Gav ensures that all the money raised goes only to the case the donor identified. There’s also an option to let Ten Gav decide where it would be most needed. The co-founders do not take a salary and administrative costs for two part time employees and rent comes from monies raised from other donors.
To date, Ten Gav has helped 500 families through 900 donors. Over 50% of those who give are Israelis originally from North America. Over time, Ten Gav has developed a caring network of suppliers who are sensitive to the client’s needs and help by waiving shipping costs.
When asked which cases stand out, Naomi recalled the story of an impoverished family whose cupboards and pantry collapsed in their home, almost killing their young son. Ten Gav was able to provide new ones that were well made and safe. Or there was the case of an 84-year-old woman who spent much of her working life as a seamstress, also managing a program to help Ethiopian immigrant women. Her social worker observed that she was suffering from depression and suggested that having a sewing machine might help her. It did indeed.
Naomi says she finds inspiration from being able to assist people who might get lost between the cracks of the Israeli social system and how her efforts bring her in touch with a segment of Israeli society she might not normally interact with. She and Vivi are constantly looking for ways to improve the process and increase donorship. For instance, upcoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs can work with Ten Gav to find a meaningful tzedakah project that will help them find a connection and a way to support Israel. To learn more about Ten Gav, go to
Gerald’s career on the other hand, requires him to split his time among three countries. When he’s not practicing corporate and commercial law in Israel and New York City, he’s farming in Saskatchewan. He comes by his love for working the land honestly. Gerald’s great-grandparents farmed in  Ukraine in the late 1800s, but were driven off their land by pogroms. His grandparents and their 10 children made their way to Canada, first arriving in Montreal where they made a living by peddling. From there, they moved to Winnipeg and got involved in the livery business.
Gerald’s grandfather eventually bought land in the Kamsack area of Saskatchewan, just northwest of Roblin, Manitoba, where the Brounstein family ran a mixed farm with cattle, horses and grain. They lived in the town of Kamsack. In 1966, when Gerald was six, his family moved to Regina in order to be closer to a larger Jewish community. Gerald’s dad went on to become the agriculture representative in the area – the liason between the government and the farmers in regard to education and benefits.
Gerald went on to study at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, then moved to Toronto, where he studied law at Osgoode Hall. While at school, he met Naomi at the Jewish Student Federation. All this timeGerald’s father continued to run the farm. In fact, his dad ran the farm with local help into his 90s. Gerald found himself being pulled more and more back to the farm and realized he had a deep passion and connection to the land.
What does it take to be a successful farmer these days? Gerald says you need to be a computer geek, a mechanic, an agriculturist and be financially savvy as well. Besides the love of working the earth, it’s a business that requires motivation, thought and commitment. These days, Gerald commutes every two weeks between Israel and Manhattan, practicing law. In May, he packs his overalls and arrives at the farm for seeding and returns again in July, staying until September for the harvest. He breaks for the High Holidays back in Israel and then returns to the farm for fertilization. His law practice doesn’t stop, as he fields calls from clients even while driving the tractor – when possible.
Gerald says his lifestyle is not that unusual for some Israelis. He knows of other people who commute to Europe, Asia and the U.S. for their jobs. It’s just the reality for some to in order make a successful living in Israel. When Gerald recites the Hebrew prayer for rain, he’s not kidding.

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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