I have a deep respect for the values the Jewish Federation of Ottawa has instilled in our city these past 80 years.
During the Federation’s recent strategic plan consultations, where we met with 130 committed community members, it became clear to me there is a gap between perceptions of the Federation and what we actually do. The Federation needs to showcase the scope and breadth of our efforts as today’s Federation is about so much more than an annual phone call asking for a gift.
Put simply, the Federation is a “broker of services.” Our focus and objective is to match community needs with community agencies using community monies whenever and however we can.
Over and above the funding the Federation provides to agencies, we do our best to engage and educate staff and volunteers so we can work together in meeting objectives that benefit our community and support our brothers and sisters in Israel.
Our communications team ensures that we report the latest news using the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, a biweekly electronic newsletter, and social media. Whenever a Jewish organization has a program or initiative to promote, the Federation offers assistance.
The Federation runs the Jewish Ottawa InfoCentre, which operates like a tourist centre, where people learn about the plethora of community services and activities available.
The Federation also strives to preserve the history of our community. The Ottawa Jewish Archives works diligently to gather, catalogue and maintain our past for the future.
And, when there is a major crisis in the world, the Federation immediately responds by making it easy for community members to make contributions and assist with tikkun olam. Most recently, $27,000 was raised for the Philipines relief fund and $8,500 to provide assistance for the Jews of Kyiv.
The Federation also collaborates with many organizations. For example, sharing information about quality of education, affordability and more. We have already seen positive results from this initiative, particularly through our work with supplementary schools.
Did you know the Federation also takes responsibility to ensure the Ottawa Vaad HaKashrut, our city’s kashrut authority, is respected all over North America?
Did you know the Federation works to engage the emerging generation through premier programs such as March of the Living, Birthright Israel and PJ Library? That we support the Shoah Committee of Ottawa and operate Hillel Ottawa for university students?
The Federation’s Annual Campaign is the engine that drives so much of Jewish Ottawa.
Most in our community are aware of the important agencies we fund and whose work is unparalleled.
Less well known are the programs and services that Federation itself provides each and every year. As you can see, the focus of the Federation is not only about the annual campaign, it is about “building a strong Jewish community for today and for our future.”
We are so pleased that our extensive strategic planning consultations led to invaluable insight into what is most important for community members and this will ultimately help build a stronger community.
At a meeting on March 24, all 130 individuals who participated in an earlier consultation were invited to hear a presentation on the cumulative input and how it was used by the committee to significantly refine our mission, vision, values and goals.
From my family to yours, Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach.
Am Israel Chai – B’shalom.