Ezrin, Hershell

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EZRIN, HERSHELL (1947– ), Canadian diplomat, public servant, businessman, Jewish community leader. Ezrin was born in Toronto to Sydney and Marcia Ezrin, both the children of immigrants from Russia and Poland. After graduating from Hebrew day school, he earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of Toronto and Carleton University before joining the Canadian Department of External Affairs in 1969, shortly after Pierre Elliot Trudeau was elected Canada's prime minister. Ezrin's foreign postings included Los Angeles, New York, and New Delhi. During the 1980s he served in high positions in the federal and Ontario governments before entering the private sector in 1988. Subsequently Ezrin held a series of top executive posts, including chairman and ceo of gpc Canada, a public affairs and strategic communications firm. He also served as a senior counselor and political adviser to several government officials.

Ezrin was active on behalf of a number of Toronto Jewish organizations, including the Holy Blossom Temple Foundation, the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, and Mount Sinai Hospital. He also served as an adviser to both the State of Israel Bonds and the Canada-Israel Committee. He also served the broader community in numerous capacities, most notably as chair of the Board of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and wrote widely on public affairs.

In 2004 Ezrin became ceo of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (cija), an organization established by the Jewish federations in 2004 to lobby on behalf of the organized Jewish community on both domestic and Israel-related matters. As the first ceo of cija, which includes oversight of both the Canada-Israel Committee and the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ezrin had the task of giving the Canadian Jewish community effective direction and a strong and effective voice in the larger Canadian community.

[Harold M. Waller (2nd ed.)]