Rabbi Ilana Krygier Lapides


Rabbi Ilana is a born-and-raised Calgarian and a first-generation Canadian. She is the proud granddaughter of 4 Holocaust Survivors and her father, of blessed memory, was a child Survivor. Rabbi Ilana received a degree with specialization in English and Philosophy from the University of Alberta, a Diploma in Yiddish Instruction from Bar Ilan University, received her S’micha (Rabbinic Ordination) in December of 2020, and recently received Certification in Grief Education.

Rabbi Ilana has worked in the Calgary Jewish Community her entire adult life and has had the honour to serve many organizations including the Calgary Jewish Academy, the Calgary JCC, and Calgary Jewish Community Council. For a few summers, she worked for the National Yiddish Book Centre in Amhurst, Massachusetts as the Children’s Camp Director. Ilana was the Principal of Temple B’nai Tikvah’s Shabbat school for many years and when she was chosen as one of the first emissaries for Birthright Canada, she trained as a Madricha(leader) in Israel.

Before Rabbi Ilana switched careers to attend Rabbinic school, she was the Holocaust and Human Rights Educator for Calgary Jewish Federation for 13 years, coordinating and educating tens of thousands of students through school education, Survivor visits, teacher conferences, and countless ceremonies including Kristallnacht and Yom HaShoah. She led the Winnipeg-based Asper Holocaust & Human Rights Education Program to Washington, D.C. for almost a decade, the Calgary Coast-to-Coast contingent for the March of the Living, and was the Director of the Holocaust Education Symposium in cooperation with Mount Royal University. Toward her final years at Federation, Ilana took on the Community Relations portfolio which included government advocacy, outreach to other ethnic communities, and was in charge of community security in cooperation with the Calgary Police Service.

Most recently, Ilana spearheaded two initiatives: a task-force to secure Holocaust Education in the Alberta curriculum and she helped institute Canada’s first city-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day; it was voted in by Calgary City Council in November 2019. 

Rabbi Ilana lives with her husband, has three grown children, and a very large dog. She loves to read, watch comedy, sing, play piano, and is attempting with more enthusiasm than success to master the baritone ukulele.

Her volunteer work has included sitting on the executive of various Boards, including Camp BB Riback, the Calgary JCC, and BBYO Regional Parent Board, and serving lunches at the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

Currently, Rabbi Ilana has started a freelance, non-denominational Rabbinic practice (visit RockyMountainRabbi.com for more information)while also presenting on-line education and programming to students of all ages.