I am writing this column just a couple of weeks before my term as Chair of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa ends. In fact, the term will be over by the time this issue of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin reaches subscribers’ homes.
Looking back over the past two years, there has been one question that I’ve been asked more than any other: “Why did you ever take on the role of Chair?”
The answer is not complicated, and can be summarized in just a few words: responsibility, commitment and respect of Jewish values.
As someone who was born in Ottawa, educated in Ottawa, met my wife in Ottawa, raised a family in Ottawa, and grew the family business in Ottawa, I have always felt a responsibility to do my part and give my time to strengthen the community. It was important for me to do whatever I could to help build on the foundation set by so many great leaders of the past.
Having personally benefited in many ways from the Ottawa Jewish community, I felt a commitment to ensuring the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign continues to grow so it will have sufficient funding for our many important agencies, educational institutions, and for community programming. Just as previous generations provided so I could experience a rich and vibrant Jewish life, I wanted to ensure that my children and grandchildren would similarly benefit.
Like many, my parents instilled Jewish values in our home. Just like my late mother and father, I have and will continue to respect Jewish values in my personal life, my business ventures and in our community. It was important to me that I use these values in guiding our great city’s Jewish community to meet our current and future needs.
During my term, we mourned together, we prayed together and we celebrated together. In the past two years, our Jewish institutions have been challenged like never before. And, yet, I witnessed levels of passion that clearly demonstrated commitment to Jewish life. These experiences strengthened my passion for leadership.
I would like to thank the Federation Board of Directors and the Federation Staff for their support and guidance during my term. A special thank you to Andrea Freedman for her thoughtful insights and her valued assistance 24/7!
I know that my wife Shelli and our children have always supported my passion for community work and I thank them for their support and understanding.
Thank you to everyone for the honour of being your Chair of the Federation for the past two years.
My term has gone by very fast, and the experience has been rewarding.
I am proud of our accomplishments and I am confident that our future leaders will have similar answers when they are asked why they wanted to be Chair of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
Am Yisrael Chai – B’shalom.