Yarchei Kallah Speakers



Rabbi Ahron Hoch was one of the founders of Aish HaTorah in Toronto in 1981 and is Rabbi Emeritus of The Village Shul. He currently lives in Lakewood and travels to cities throughout the United States and Canada to engage and help adults and teenagers in learning how to live life to the fullest. 

Rabbi Bulka


Rabbi Reuven Tradburks is a native of Ottawa and graduate of Carleton University. He received his semicha from Yeshiva University. He served congregations in Birmingham, Alabama and in Toronto. Since making Aliyah in 2009 he has been the director of the Rabbinical Council of America, Israel Region and the past 4 years the Director of the RCA Ulpan l’Giyur, Machon Milton, training people for conversion through the chief rabbinate of Israel.



Kasriel and Pessie Gewirtzman


Rabbi Steven Gotlib, soon to be the newest member of the JET Team, is a Fellow at Beit Midrash Zichron Dov of Toronto and Assistant Rabbi at the Village Shul. Rabbi Gotlib received rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, a certificate in Mental Health Counseling, and a certificate in Spiritual Entrepreneurship. He has a BA in Jewish Studies and Communication with a minor in Philosophy from Rutgers University.


JET was founded by Rabbi Shaps in 1992. Originally from New York City, Rabbi Shaps moved with his family to Ottawa for a year or two back in 1989 to teach at the Ottawa Torah Institute. His knowledge of sports and Torah made him a much loved teacher at  OTI and later at Hillel Academy, now the Ottawa Jewish Community School.

Rabbi Shaps is the director of JET.  Rabbi Shaps received his Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary of America-Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in New York and has a Masters in Education from Adelphi University. Rabbi Shaps and his wife Lauren are the proud parents of five children.


With a warm smile and welcoming personality, Lauren is passionate about building Jewish community and sharing the beauty of Judaism. She is the director of Women’s Programming and a master educator with over 25 years’ experience in adult education. If you have a question about Judaism, parenting, or are looking for a yummy Shabbat meal, Lauren’s the one. Lauren has a MSW from Yeshiva University in New York City and is the mother of 5 adult children and a bunch of grandchildren.


Danielle Altonaga grew up in Toronto, with the dream of becoming a famous actress. She played a lead role in a YTV series, and appeared on the hit show Corner Gas. Danielle attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a double major in English and Drama. While at university, her dream evolved — she decided that she wanted to be a speaker and teacher; someone that would inspire people to learn and grow. After receiving her teaching degree from York University, she worked in Student Engagement at Hillel in Toronto, and went to Israel to pursue deeper Jewish learning. She joined the Jerusalem theatre scene with stand-up comedy, and recently appeared in the Torah Live film, “The Power of Words”.


Michael Altonaga grew up in California with a passion for exploration and truth-seeking. He wandered the wilderness of Yosemite as an Eagle Scout, trekked across the cities of Europe, and finally found meaning when he arrived in the Land of Israel. After studying Neuroscience (with a minor in Video Game Design) at the University of Southern California, he devoted seven years to study Jewish wisdom at Aish HaTorah Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, where he received Rabbinic Ordination. Rabbi Altonaga loves learning, deep discussions, board games, and apple pie!

The Altonagas are proud parents of adorable sons, Yosef and Binyamin. They are always excited for the next adventure with the JET team and the Ottawa community!