Joel Zimmerman is a CJA alumnus from the graduating class of 2006 where he attended the school from nursery all the way to grade nine. Today he is living and working in Calgary as Registered Psychologist practicing counselling psychology primarily out of the Calgary Counselling Centre, as well as operating a small private practice. He works with individuals, couples, families, and teens, seeking help for a wide range of social and mental health challenges. He is married, and in 2021 his wife gave birth to their son who Joel one day hopes to enroll in the very same school that was such a curtail part of his own development.
Joel gives the CJA credit for instilling in him, the value of a safe place to learn. A value he has become an advocate for, while he has grown within the Calgary Jewish community. Through his work as a Psychologist, he has become all too aware of the challenges and difficulties that can develop in a young person who doesn’t feel safe to be themselves, ask questions or make mistakes. He recognizes the CJA as the place that first demonstrated for him the impact safety can have on a developing young person.
While attending Henry Wise Wood Highschool, he participated in BBYO, taking various leadership positions and beginning his journey to ensuring those around him felt safe to express themselves and learn, uninhibited by concerns of judgment or reproach. He took that leadership experience with him to university where he re-founded the then folded Hillel chapter and began engaging Jewish young-adults on a campus that had not seen a Jewish presence for several years. From there he traveled to Israel to study for a semester and Or’Sameach Yeshiva before working as the Judaism director at BB Camp Kenora, Ontario. His most recent Jewish professional role was as the Calgary JCC’s Youth and Teen program coordinator, managing JCC Maccabi, Teen-Connect and the city’s BBYO program for three years. Each one of these roles was a different opportunity to help young Jewish people in his community feel like they has a safe place to learn about themselves and their Judaism.
Today he stays connected to the Jewish community through the B’nai Brith Lodge where he has been a board member for the past 7 years. In the future Joel looks forward to lending his efforts to various other executive committees for the many amazing organizations around the city which directly serve the Jewish Community of Calgary.