Chabad Lifeline was founded in 1989 by Rabbi Ronnie Fine, then a McGill University Chaplain, who saw firsthand the devastating effects of substance abuse on students and their families.
Chabad Lifeline started with him counselling individuals, and it developed into a community and school outreach program where he, his wife Simcha, and volunteers would offer drug awareness and addiction prevention talks to children, teens and young adults.
In 1996, Chabad Lifeline was opened as a counselling and crisis centre for anyone affected by addictions.
Rabbi Fine plays an instrumental role in the agency's fundraising campaigns and the overall vision of the centre.
Rabbi Fine also operates Chabad Zichron Kedoshim, a Jewish outreach and education centre that holds daily services, and is part of the worldwide network JLI-Jewish Learning Institute. Rabbi Fine and his wife, Simcha, have ten children and many grandchildren.
Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger
Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger grew in up Montreal, where he completed his university degree at Concordia. After graduation, he continued his life education by traveling extensively, visiting over twenty-five countries world-wide. For his rabbinical education, Rabbi Bresinger studied at Toras Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel, followed by higher education at the Rabbinical College of America Kollel in Morristown, N.J. In 1991, he and his wife were appointed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to represent Chabad for Metro West, New Jersey. His lectures on Kabbala were well attended as he founded the Beginners Synagogue that would become The Lubavitch Center of Essex County.
Rabbi Bresinger’s passion has always been working with recovering addicts. He became the pastoral counsellor for Jewish addicts in recovery for the Metro West Health and Healing Centre in New Jersey. During this time, he authored a course called, “Twelve Steps and Kabbalah,” which integrates the teachings of Kabbalah with the twelve steps of AA. He has lectured extensively around the country on this topic.
In 2007, Rabbi and Mrs. Bresinger and their five children moved to Montreal to be the directors of Chabad Lifeline, an addiction crisis drop-in centre.
Karen Bresinger MSW
Karen Bresinger MSW from Rutgers University, is the Clinical Director and family counsellor at Chabad Lifeline. She is a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) and member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association has extensive experience counselling family members dealing with addictions, working with codependents, and directs the treatment program for addicts and families.
John Goedike BA ICADC
John is a graduate of Concordia University and is an International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor.
He has over thirty years of experience in the field of addictions/mental health. Some of his training includes motivational interviewing, node link mapping, shame/trauma and has credentials as an auricular acupuncturist. He has worked in every facade in the field of substance use disorders in at least three provinces.
He has also had the privilege of training over a thousand employees across the country in this field.
Jennifer Kotry MA CSAT
Jennifer Kotry MA CSAT is an experienced addictions counsellor and certified sex addiction therapist. She worked for many years at Bellwood Health Services, an addiction rehabilitation centre in Toronto. While working at Bellwood, Jennifer held several roles, including family counsellor, group therapist and trauma/sex addiction therapist. She offers individual and group counselling at Lifeline, as well as education on sex addiction and the impact it has on the individual, family members and society.
Shauna Joyce MA MSW
Shauna Joyce, MSW, M.A is our Special Projects Coordinator working on expanding our youth and adult programs and services. She comes with many years of experience working as a school administrator and as the Executive Director of a summer camp for Montreal's more vulnerable youth. She holds a Master's degree in Social Work as well as a Master's in Educational Leadership from McGill University.
Jason Stein graduated with a diploma from McMaster University in Addictions Careworker. Jason engages in doing intakes, individual counselling, and group facilitation with an adult population. He also engages in crisis intervention and networking in both the recovery and the professional social services community.
Laura Pearson MA
Laura Pearson is a trained Drama Therapist from Concordia University, Department of Creative Art Therapies.
Her work is informed by humanistic, client centered, and intersectional approaches. She often uses role-play, storytelling, and improvisation to work through the therapeutic goals of an individual. She is also trained in non-confrontational communication approaches, group dynamics, non-violent crisis intervention (CPI), and attachment theory.
Her clinical experiences include working in school and community settings such as Giant Steps, Centre of Arts in Human Development (CAHD), Expression LaSalle, & Montreal West Readaptation Centre.
Bill Yong MA CCC
Bill Yong is a Drama Therapist originally from Edmonton Alberta. He holds a Masters of Arts from Concordia University and a Bachelors of Education from the University of Alberta.
He has worked clinically for the West Montreal Readaptation Centre, Centre d'éducation des adultes Outremont, Centre of Arts in Human Development (CAHD), Native Montreal and is currently a youth counsellor for Chabad within the English Montreal School Board.
Bill is interested in how creative elements such as play, storytelling and embodiment can help clients imagine and take on new roles, such as a sober self and encounter it in an organic, patient and playful manner.
Kate Harris MEd
Kate Harris is a children and youth educational counsellor trained at McGill University.
Research and work experience has been focused on child and youth protection, rehabilitation for youth and adult offenders, telephonic crisis intervention, and emotional regulation within ecotherapy.
Kate uses a holistic psychotherapeutic approach to counselling, aiming to include an individual's experiences, situation and resources as a whole in order to address and support their needs.
She has constructed and facilitated workshops addressing: parental techniques and support, ecological approaches to emotional regulation, anger management, and awareness and signs of child and youth maltreatment within schools.
Amber Regier MA
Amber-Chantelle Regier is a trained Creative Arts Therapist, with an MA from Concordia University focusing on drama and play therapy.
She has been working in community outreach, education, and counselling for the past several years.
Her work is informed by a client centered, intersectional and trauma informed approach. She often uses role-play, storytelling, and embodied approaches to help clients work through the therapeutic process.
She serves as a skilled listener and observer who helps to clarify issues, as well as assist clients in discovering their needs, explore their feelings and set goals.
McGill MSW Intern
In partnership with McGill's School of Social Work, Chabad Lifeline offers field placement opportunities for budding social workers completing their Masters in Social Work.
Rina is our Administrative Executive, responsible for ensuring that all administrative work is finished on time and for coordinating the back end of our events.
Sharon is the volunteer coordinator, she trains and supervises the dozens of volunteers who answer our phone and greet everyone that enters our door.
Zvi Hershcovich is Chabad Lifeline's Director of Marketing. He is responsible for spreading the word about our lifesaving activities through our newsletter and through social media.
He also creates flyers, markets our events, and updates our website content including the very page you are reading right now.
Rabbi Mendel Fine
Rabbi Mendel Fine is Director of Development at Chabad Lifeline. His role is to help dispel the stigma of addiction by reaching out to professionals and lay-leaders, and generate awareness about our life saving work.