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remembering irene
Irene Borins Ash | Social Worker, Artist, Author


Irene Borins Ash led a life that many would hope to emulate; one of compassion and passion which lifted those around her. From her artistic creations and photography, to the impact she provided as a social worker, Irene embraced every aspect of the world around her in her almost 68 years of life.

For Irene, it was important to leave a legacy at Jewish Family and Child Service because the agency reflected her values of tikkun olam (Hebrew: repair of the world) and of helping people in need. By profession, Irene was a social worker (as was one of her brothers), and the work done by JF&CS spoke to her professional experience. Irene started her career through a practicum at JF&CS in the 80s, where she was supervised by Simon Kalkstein, who also supervised her at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University when Irene was a student.

Irene was married to Irv Ash.  Irv’s family immigrated to Canada from Europe at the end of the 1940s, bringing his parents and brother to Toronto and shortly after arriving, Irv was born.  As with many early Jewish immigrants in Canada, the Ash family was supported by the agency for a few years. Irv is now a lawyer and a professor and credits JF&CS for helping his family overcome a difficult time.

Irene was proud that her legacy would be recognized through the Gordon S. Wolfe Legacy Society, where her name will live on in perpetuity, supporting and strengthening individuals and families in need for years to come.

For more about Irene and to see her work, please visit

Irene and David

Irene with David Suzuki at ceremonial ribbon cutting.

This was the sneak peak of what would become Irene’s third photo and text exhibit, “Aging is Living”.

The exhibit was previewed at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) annual meeting in 2007.

Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson, renowned jazz pianist, opening Irene's second photo and text exhibit "Treasured Legacies".


Holy Blossom Temple, circa 2002.

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