At the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s 2015 Annual Campaign Kickoff, we heard testimonials from people who have been positively affected by the programs run by Federation beneficiary agencies. These presentations demonstrated the importance of Federation support to people’s lives.
As co-chairs of the Annual Campaign, we would like to tell our stories.
Jeff Miller: A sense of belonging
In 1984, my wife, Rhoda, wanted to move back to Ottawa. So, along with our infant son, we moved to a city where I knew very few people. Montreal had always been my home, but that changed quickly, thanks to the Ottawa Jewish community.
I started working at GGFL where my mentor, Gerry Levitz, got me involved with Jewish Family Services. Serving as treasurer gave me a sense of responsibility and understanding how volunteering can make a difference.
Later, I was asked to be the treasurer at Hillel Academy where our children were going to school. It was a natural fit, and I would ultimately transition to the role of president.
I met and forged an unbreakable bond with my best friend, the late Arnie Vered, on the Hillel Academy board. I can’t possibly express my gratitude to the Federation for that one.
I have built many relationships as a result of my involvement with beneficiary agencies and the Federation. I met friends in the Jewish Men’s Basketball League and Softball League, both programs of the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (JCC).
I want to see the Federation thrive because it ensures that other Jews who move to Ottawa will continue to have a place to turn for the instant acceptance and sense of belonging I experienced 30 years ago and continue to feel today.
Leiba Kranztberg: Working together
Growing up in Ottawa made me feel special. Our small community felt like an extension of my immediate family. From a young age, I was taught to get connected and stay connected. Of the many valuable lessons my late father taught me, the most significant was that of understanding the importance of participating in the community.
Jewish life in Ottawa has never been better, and our beautiful campus, the result of dedicated community effort, provides a hub of activity for all ages. The community has also provided much opportunity to my children. Both graduated from Hillel Academy and are alumni of Camp B’nai Brith. They learned to swim at the Soloway JCC, where they also did various sports and day camps. My children have also benefited from volunteering at Tamir and for the Federation.
I am now in the home stretch of my two-year term as Women’s Campaign Chair. I have volunteered all my life and have served on many boards and committees, but nothing compares to this. To be able to reach people and share my passion, commitment and desire to build a stronger community has been one of the most profound experiences of my life.
The Federation has re-enforced what my beloved father taught me:
WE have a Jewish obligation of making the world a better place. WE are responsible for each other.
WE are responsible to build and maintain a strong and vibrant Jewish community.
WE are responsible to ensure that our children are educated Jewishly.
WE are responsible for growing Jewish philanthropy.
Federation is ENRICHING LIVES. Indeed, Federation has ENRICHED MY LIFE.