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There are so many reasons that people move to Ottawa and even more reasons why they stay! See below for personal testimonials from several of Ottawa’s young families and couples.
Ana & Ezekiel Barmasch with sons Asher and Benjamin at Jack Pine Trail in Ottawa

Barmasch Family

We moved to Ottawa in 2022 and we couldn’t be happier with our decision (previously we lived in Thornhill and Hamilton, Ontario). Ottawa is an amazing city, offering many perks of a big city and yet feels safe, clean, quiet and peaceful (bye bye GTA traffic jams!) It has something for everyone: culture, amazing museums, beautiful nature, trails and parks, which we love!

The folks from Choose Ottawa were instrumental in making our move here easier. They answered our many questions about the community, school, day care, and more! Always grateful to Choose Ottawa for sharing their insights which helped us make informed decisions.

The best part of Ottawa, is certainly the Jewish community, a true gem! Jewish life in Ottawa is surprisingly vibrant, warm and very welcoming! We say surprising because one would expect a smaller community to be a little less exciting! But on the contrary, Jewish life in Ottawa is motivating, inspiring and fun! There is no shortage of events and opportunities to meet and connect with the community. We feel blessed to be a part of it!

- Ana and Ezekiel Barmasch, originally from Toronto/Hamilton

Asher and Yulia, with sons Nikita and Benjamin | photo credit: Ilgar Garcia

Elgin Family

In March 2022, we moved to Ottawa and immediately reached out to connect with Jewish life here. We’ve become an active PJ Library parents and Yulia is a Jewish Federation of Ottawa Volunteer Ambassador for Newcomers. Federation welcomed our family with open arms. We were provided with many services and resources upon our arrival in the city, which made us want to do the same for other newcomers so they get connected and feel as special as we felt. It’s only been a year, but we’ve attended events and services at different synagogues, and many various community events, and we are now also members of the Soloway JCC.  

-Yulia and Alex Elgin, both originally from the USSR and grew up in Israel. They met while they were both living in Halifax and moved to Ottawa in 2022.

Michael and Stacy with their four kids, Moshe, Elisheva, and Talia and Eliezer

Goldstein Family

We moved to Ottawa from Toronto in 2010, and we absolutely love our life here. We have a wonderful shul community at Machzikei Hadas, our kids are getting an excellent education at Torah Day school, and we love all the outdoor activities that we can enjoy easily after work and after school.

But truly, it is its diversity and inclusivity that makes the Ottawa Jewish community so special. We are so happy that our kids have friends and classmates from different hashkafic backgrounds, and that our children are growing up with such a strong Jewish identity and, most importantly, a lot of Ahavat Yisrael. We’ve heard some people say that they need to live in a larger Jewish centre for the sake of their children’s chinuch (education), but we view it very differently: it is specifically because of our children’s chinuch that we are so happy to live in Ottawa.

- Stacy (originally from Thornhill) & Michael (originally from Ottawa)

Sarah and Sender Gordon, with their four children Yitzy, Chavy, Mushka, Menucha.

Gordon Family

Both my husband and I grew up in Ottawa.

We were living in Brooklyn when I was expecting our first child and as we got closer and closer to having our baby, it became clear to us that we would be heading home to Ottawa. While New York was a lot of fun, the day to day living could be difficult. Things like buying groceries, commuting to work, driving a car, buying a house etc were so much more challenging. We were used to a much higher quality of life in Ottawa and we wanted to return to that and raise our children in an affordable city with lots of beautiful green spaces, parks and family friendly activities.

We also love that the school is small and diverse, every staff member knows all of our children and they are cherished and their needs accommodated. We have lived in Ottawa now for over 10 years and could not be happier.

- Sarah and Sender Gordon (originally from Ottawa)

Jodi and Jason and their three boys Zev, Noah, and Eitan.

Green Family

We moved to Ottawa in 2018 when Jason accepted a job at KBI as the new Cantor. Having been overseas or in the US for the previous 15 years, we weren’t sure what to expect. What we found was a warm welcoming community with so much to offer! Our youngest attended OJCS, and our older two boys are highly involved in NCSY including Torah High, and independent learning.

Outside the Jewish community, we love the outdoor activities available. We live in Centrepointe and can connect with the bike trail in the park and bike or walk along the river for miles. As a family we decided to embrace the Ottawa climate and learn to ski. This has become a favourite winter activity and we try to go every Sunday during the season. We love Ottawa’s proximity to so many mountains.

We are thrilled that we have made Ottawa our home!

- Jodi (originally from NY) and Jason (originally from Montreal)

Evan & Alicia Green with their children Ella, Elijah, Eva and Laila.

Green Family

We love living in Ottawa because it is a quiet, safe, clean, active and affordable place to raise a Jewish family and where we enjoy many big city amenities but in a smaller town community, feel and environment. We live in Barrhaven and go to Ottawa Torah Centre (OTC), all 4 of our kids attend Torah Day School of Ottawa.

- Evan & Alicia (originally from Montreal)

Ari Jinich & Jana Fainsod with their three children Ilan, Gabriela and Dan.

Jinich Family

We moved to Ottawa in August 2021, from Mexico City.  In Ottawa, we found the peace and tranquility that we were looking for. 

Ottawa is such a beautiful city full of amazing nature, quietness, little traffic….you can get anywhere in 20 minutes or less. 

We found an amazing Jewish community, warm, inviting, caring and willing to help with everything.  We have felt welcomed and always part of everything. 

We are so thankful and grateful to say that we are part of Ottawa’s Jewish community and with all the people that made this move so much easier. Ottawa is full of mishpacha.❤️

- Ari Jinich & Jana Fainsod, originally from Mexico City

Chovav and Revital with the kids [ברוך השם]: Nofech, Nedavia, Ahuv, Zchut, Shachak, Misgav.

Marantz Family

Originally from Mazkeret Batia, near Rehovot in Israel, we moved to Ottawa last summer (after a year in Montreal) and we love it. We looked for a community that'll fit us and we found the community of Machzikei Hadas in Alta Vista. It really feels like family. People are warm, welcoming and very positive and active. The atmosphere in Ottawa is relaxed and very family oriented with great parks and beautiful scenery very close by. Our kids learn in Torah Day School of Ottawa and enjoy high quality education with very dedicated staff and PTA. We are very happy we chose Ottawa.

- Chovav & Revital (originally from Israel)

Tal and Odelia, with their three children Kayla, Shlomo and Lielle.

Scher Family

After deciding to move from Chicago in 2015, my husband and I worried that our family would have a hard time fitting into the seemingly close knit Ottawa community. We were shocked and touched at the immense welcome we received. From meal invitations, care packages, playdates, and even offers of babysitting (in order to help us unpack). We truly felt like we hadn't just joined a community, but have been a part of it all along. We have now been here almost 8 years and it feels as if we were never anywhere else. My children love their school, their friends and their community. They are excited to go to shul each week, and from shul the kids all mix and match into different playdates and spend all of Shabbat afternoon hopping from house to house with stops at the park in between… As a parent, there is nothing more important than seeing your children happy and thriving and I believe this city and community has given my children all the love and support to allow them to grow into social, happy, caring, loving and proud kids. 

I couldn’t recommend Ottawa more… it’s not just another community; it's a family.

- Odelia (originally from Paramus, NJ) and Tal (originally from Chicago).

Isaac and Julia’s engagement at Rockliffe Park in Ottawa - July, 2020

Julia Van Drie and Isaac Bushewsky

I moved to Ottawa in 2014 to attend Carleton University, while Isaac moved to Ottawa to attend law school in 2019. From small-town Ontario, I was enamoured by the city’s beautiful green spaces, and was attracted to Ottawa’s political opportunities. Originally from Edmonton, Isaac loved that Ottawa was a similar size, and also featured an extremely warm, welcoming, and tight-knit Jewish community.

We were previously active in on-campus Jewish groups but are now active members of the Glebe Shul for young professionals. We love life in Ottawa because of its outdoor spaces, the wonderful friendships we’ve built here in the community, and the opportunities the city presents for establishing a solid Jewish home.

- Julia (originally from Alliston, ON) and Isaac (originally from Edmonton)

Isaac & Julia’s wedding, at Orchard View (just south of Ottawa) - January, 2021
Jonathan and Elyssa, celebrating their first home purchase in 2020.

Jonathan Greenberg and Elyssa Nassi

When we came to Ottawa from Montreal, we didn’t know what to expect. We quickly realized that we had to immerse ourselves in all things community if we wanted to create a fulfilling and Jewish life for ourselves.

Once we did, everyone was so welcoming, from the staff and volunteers at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa (where we ourselves volunteer on multiple Federation committees and are co-chairs of the Emerging Generation annual fundraising campaign), to the professionals at Congregation Machzikei Hadas (where we are also both members and volunteers), and everyone in-between!

There is always a place for everyone in Jewish Ottawa. It’s time to choose Ottawa!

- Jon & Elyssa (originally from Montreal)

Jonathan and Elyssa at the Tulip Festival.