Faina Ilfand

Healthcare Professional


Tell us a little about your career.

I am a medic by profession. I worked in various sanatoriums, including a government one on the coast of the Baltic Sea in Jurmala, where I lived. Later I completed courses in physiotherapy and massage. In Canada, I studied and worked as an expert in elderly care. I have always been interested in a healthy lifestyle and out of interest in gaining additional knowledge in this area, I enrolled in “Beauty Body” courses. Now I am retired, but I continue to utilize my skills and knowledge by advising my friends through phone consultations and home visits. I also know how to professionally care for the face (hydrating mask, massage) and diet.

Where is your family from?

My parents are from the town of Nevel in the Pskov region, which was a mostly Jewish area. My paternal grandparents passed away young, and my father was left an orphan with two little sisters. At age 12, he had to go to work. In general, his fate was tragic: he had a bleak childhood, and he died young at the front during the war near the town of Rzhev. He was buried in a common grave on which the monument is installed. My maternal grandparents in Nevel ran a kosher bakery, where they baked and sold famous fragrant buns. We lived in Jurmala, where my mother always observed Jewish holidays. On Rosh Hashanah we went to Riga synagogue, and my mother fasted on Yom Kippur. On Passover every year the entire family would travel to Nevel.

Why did you choose to live in Toronto?

I came to Ontario in 1988. At first I lived at Finch and Bathurst, and then moved to Eglinton to live closer to my son so I could help educate my grandson.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I really like to do gardening. When I lived at Finch and Bathurst, we had our own garden. I love to plant, grow vegetables, especially cucumbers, which are incredibly useful: they contain a substance that prevents the penetration of fat in the blood vessels. Cucumbers are very helpful to those who suffer from seasonal allergies, and can also be used to apply cucumber mask on the face and have anti-aging and whitening effect. In addition, I enjoy walking, and often dance at home. In short, I try to lead an active life.

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone, who would you choose?

I am a fan of the art of the famous satirist Mikhail Zhvanetskogo. His political positions, disguised in satire, make them so enjoyable, and he still enjoys enormous popularity among his viewers and readers. It would be very interesting to talk to him about the current situation in Russia.

What do JRCC programs mean to you and your family?

I really like to take part in the JRCC’s holiday programs. My husband and I love to come to one of the branches of JRCC to celebrate the Passover Seder. In addition, during Yom Kippur we come to read the Yizkor for our parents.

What are your future plans?

I want to publish a book of medical advice in two languages. I want to continue to be an active member of the Jewish community. My family are all very active. My sister is 90 years old, but full of vigor and possesses a sharp mind. My brother, who is 86 years old, also leads an active lifestyle, he still sings, speaks in different clubs and also loves to cook. I also plan to be active until a very old age.