Jason Waxman steps into Federation presidency


July 2023
Wendy Schneider

Jason Waxman is one of those people who can’t have unread emails in his inbox. Whether work- or volunteer-related, Waxman thinks of himself as a highly organized person who will put in the time to address issues as they come up. 

But Waxman’s attention to detail and due diligence, impressive as they are, were not what his colleagues on the Federation board believed made him the ideal person to succeed Howard Eisenberg as Hamilton Jewish Federation president. 

“Gustavo really felt that they wanted somebody younger at the helm, who’s a stakeholder in the community with a different perspective on things,” said Waxman, an active member of the Adas Israel who, in addition to sitting on the Federation board, is a past vice president of the JCC and a member of Shalom Village’s finance committee. 

Asked to comment on that perception, Waxman had much to say. “I have my hands in a bunch of different pots and I think that’s beneficial to have a more holistic view of the community rather than something that’s really narrow and you’re in your own lane and not seeing what other areas of the community are doing,” he said.

Furthermore, having four young children at the Hamilton Hebrew Academy, allows him “to see on a day-to-day basis certain things in the community that maybe people don’t have the vantage point of seeing. And I’m also actively shaping my own Jewish life in Hamilton as things go rather than looking in a rearview mirror.”

At 36, Waxman is a self-described “Hamilton lifer” and the youngest person in recent memory to occupy the president’s position of the Hamilton Jewish Federation. Waxman comes by his volunteer commitments honestly. He was born and raised in a family with deep roots in this city. His grandfather, Morris Waxman, was president of the Adas Israel Congregation for many years and one of the community’s most generous philanthropists. 

When considering Waxman’s new position, Federation CEO Gustavo Rymberg points to a 2021 HJN article that profiled a group of millennials, Waxman among them, who made up 50 per cent of the Federation board that year. “This is phase two, I would say. From that half, a new leader has emerged.” 

Rymberg especially values Waxman’s objectivity. “He sees the bigger picture and he has a good vision about what Jewish life in Hamilton should be.”

Waxman shared that vision in an interview with the HJN in May, when he said he hoped his presidency will foster greater community cohesion, communication and sharing of resources so “whatever we raise will go further.”  Overall, he sees the community as being “in a great place,” pointing to the growing number of young Jewish families moving to Hamilton. Waxman was delighted to see many of them turn out for Israel’s 75 anniversary celebrations at the Ancaster Fairgrounds in late April. 

With more than 400 people in attendance and five or six kosher food vendors, Waxman described it as “probably the single best event that Federation’s ever put on.” “It was really a great example of community cohesion and unity,” he said, “and I think the overwhelming majority of people that came felt the same way.”