Our history

Our history



Robert Kamen and Debbie Berlin, who both worked in an acute care setting, began to explore a solution to patients and families experiencing life-limiting illness in over-crowded hospital intensive care units and acute care wards.

The idea of a hospice residence built on Jewish values and open to all began to take shape. 

After meeting palliative care physician  Dr. Sandy Buchman,  they began envisioning a hospice that would focus on the whole person: the emotional and spiritual needs in addition to family support and physical care. 

Together, they decided to name the new initiative Neshama, the Hebrew word for soul, spirit, the essence of the person, and formed the Neshama Hospice leadership team.

2015 – 2016


Other volunteers joined the Neshama Hospice initiative, including a rabbi with a focus on palliative care and chaplaincy, an architect, a finance professional, a fundraising consultant and other community leaders. 

Consultations began with other hospices and hospitals, as well as the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and all three levels of government. 

Saint Elizabeth Health Care granted seed funding to mount a fundraising campaign and hire a project manager.



The Ontario government committed $2 million in capital funding for Neshama Hospice. 

The leadership team identified and purchased three contiguous properties in the Bathurst and Wilson area, a vibrant, established residential neighbourhood. 

With government support, the team focussed on planning, acquiring permits and determining community needs.



The City of Toronto approves the Site Plan Control and Notice of Approval conditions which allows Neshama Hospice to finalize drawings and apply for permits. 

The City of Toronto passes a motion expecting Hospice Residences from development charges, saving Neshama Hospice over $450,000

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care increased its financial commitment towards capital funding by $500,000.