If you had asked me seven years ago where I would be today I couldn’t, in my wildest dreams, have come up with the adventure I’ve had.
Four years in Montreal, rolling around in contemporary dance class by day and advocating on behalf of the State of Israel by night introduced me to some of the most passionate and driven people I know. Hillel Montreal, the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students and the Concordia Student Union taught me skills that just can’t come from a classroom or a book.
As my fourth year of university was coming to a close, a wise man suggested checking out a graduate program at Humber College in fundraising and volunteer management. Understanding that I couldn’t support the lifestyle I wanted as a dancer, I realized Concordia had opened a most amazing door that allowed me to take on leadership roles in the Jewish community and find my true calling in outreach, engagement, events and development. A career in fundraising and development – here I come!
Fast forward a year and I interviewed for the position of director of Initiatives for the Emerging Generation at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. It would be my first job in the field, a brand new position at the Federation and I’d be working with very fervent Jews between the ages of 20 and 40. I had no idea what I was in for.
Now, three years have flown by and working in Ottawa with young professionals has been an experience of a lifetime. It is bittersweet to pass the torch but the next director will be able to take our brand to a whole new level, with amazing leaders to help him or her along the way.
What stands out the most for me is that I witnessed a community of young Jewish professionals coalesce. Now, whether for an event, conference, trip to Israel or micro-grant, young Jewish adults in Ottawa will always have a place to volunteer and meet like-minded folk (and maybe even meet the one).
Ottawa is one of those hidden secrets that unless you live and breathe the quaint and vibrant culture, you will never really understand why people love it so much. From the tightness of the community to the foodie and entertainment industry, there is never a dull moment. There is also something very special about the people. Many of us are family-less, but you would never feel it. Whether for Shabbat diners or lunch dates, drinks, or late-nights at Zac’s, there is always an invite, somewhere to go or someone to see.
Now on to my next chapter – which I can’t believe will finally be back in my home town. My mother is over-the-moon excited! On August 1 I’ll start work as director of operations and development at The House, an incredible organization in Toronto for Jewish young adults.
To my friends, colleagues, and everyone I met along the way, thank you for making Ottawa an unforgettable journey. From the bottom of my heart, thank you again to my teachers, mentors, co-workers and community members. The connections made at this stage of our lives are those that will last a lifetime.
To my friends, who will remain good friends always (and you know who you are), thank you for being you.