Early life and career
Newman is a graduate of Yeshiva University, later did graduate work at McGill University in Montreal, and holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Corporate Strategy from York University in Toronto. He has held executive positions at General Mills, and has been involved with several companies in the financial services industry. Newman was described in 1979 as being affiliated with the Lubavitch movement of Hasidic Judaism.
Newman ran for election to the North York Board of Education in the 1978 and 1980 municipal elections. He called for a "back to basics" approach to education in the latter campaign along with a tougher approach to drugs and vandalism, and was endorsed by the North York branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation. He lost both times to Frances Chapkin.
He was elected on his third attempt in 1982, and re-elected in 1985. Newman served on a special board committee on drug and alcohol abuse, and was a vocal promoter of The Open Flame, a thirty-minute production on drug use written by Toronto-area students. He also supported free breakfasts for low-income students.
In May 1988, Newman brought forward a motion which would have permitted trustees to reassign teachers with AIDS out of classroom situations. He argued that these teachers should be reassigned to comparable jobs out of the classroom, rather than provoking what he described as "a moral issue with parents". The motion was rejected. Newman did not seek re-election in the 1988 municipal election.
Newman is a prominent figure within Toronto's Jewish community, and has been especially active in producing music. He was a member of the Shema Kolenu group which produced two albums in the early 1970s, worked as record producer for Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach on nine albums, and helped create the group Uncle Moishy and the Mitzvah Men in 1979 to educate children about the Jewish religion. Newman has said that he provided the voice of Uncle Moishy on early albums. He is no longer active with the group.
He was appointed as the National Director of the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth in 2003, after thirty-five years of working within the organization. Newman was forty-seven years old at the time of his appointment, and was a partner with Panfinancial in Toronto. He announced that he would use modern marketing techniques to reach out to a teenaged audience, and work against assimilation and intermarriage. He also focused on strengthening ties between Canada's Jewish community and Israel.
- "OU Announces Appointment of Zale Newman as National Director of National Conference of Synagogue Youth", Orthodox Union press release, 3 July 2003.
- Bob Pomerantz, "Children have fun learning Jewish law in 'Hasidic rock'", Toronto Star, 3 November 1979, H4.
- Julia Turner, "Teachers, parents up against the board", Globe and Mail, 30 October 1980, P4; Julia Turner, "Teacher group gives money to candidates for boards", Globe and Mail, 8 November 1980, P4.
- Lynne Ainsworth, "Students' anti-drug play to be videotaped", Toronto Star, 14 April 1987, N2.
- Royson James, "Needy kids to get free breakfasts in North York", Toronto Star, 9 February 1988, N1.
- Royson James, "AIDS victims guaranteed an education", Toronto Star, 3 May 1988, N1.
- Stewart Ain, "New NCSY Chief: Lanner behind us", The Jewish Week, 11 July 2003.
- "OU Announces Appointment of Zale Newman as National Director of National Conference of Synagogue Youth", Orthodox Union press release, 3 July 2003; Leila Speisman, "Torontonian named head of NCSY", Canadian Jewish News, 31 July 2003, p. 14.
- Adam Michael Segal, "Toronto project helps displaced Gaza settlers", Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online, 10 February 2006.