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.
Read our blog post on Karen here.
Ruth Weinberger ICADC
Ruth Weinberger is a CCAC (Certified Canadian Addiction Counsellor), CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) and ICADC (International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor). She has been an Addictions Counsellor at Chabad Lifeline since 2002.
Ruth has been involved in community service and Drug Prevention Projects for over 25 years. In 1992, Concordia University Presented her with the A. Ross Seaman Leadership Award for her work in developing drug education and drug prevention projects with adolescents at Outremont and Program Mile-End of the Protestant School Board. She also designed and implemented projects for women with addictions at Sun Youth, Auberge Shalom Shelter and Tanguay Women’s Detention Centre in Montreal.
Ruth has a Bachelors Degree in Applied Human Sciences and Human Relations, and a Certification in Family Life Education (with a specialization done in Addictions). She is a Member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation and the Association of Family Life Educators of Quebec.
Ruth has been full-time staff at Chabad Lifeline since 2002, doing individual counselling, group facilitation, crisis intervention and networking in both the recovery and the professional social services community.
Read our blog post on Ruth here.
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.
Read our feature on Jennifer here.
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.
Vari Stock PhD HBSW
Vari Stock PhD HBSW is a Youth Counsellor with Chabad Lifeline. She holds a bachelors in Psychology from York University and a bachelors in Social Work from Lakehead University. Her background is working with youth with mental health and substance use issues.
At Chabad, Vari works primarily with youth who are affected by substance use, either their own or of a family member. She is also one of the Counsellors working in partnership with Montreal High Schools to provide counselling to students on site.
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 one 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.