The torch was passed, June 17, at the 81st annual general meeting of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, as Steven Kimmel ended his two-year term as Federation chair and Linda Kerzner began hers.
“I’m truly proud of all we’ve accomplished together,” said Kimmel.
Kimmel said he was proud that the Federation has continued to establish and build trust with the community through accountability, transparency and open communication over the past two years. He said eight of the 10 goals delineated in the Federation’s five year strategic plan implemented a year ago have already been fully or partially accomplished.
“During my time as chair, we mourned and celebrated together,” said Kimmel, “thank you for being a passionate community.”
Kimmel was described as “the definition of a true mensch,” by Kerzner.
Kerzner said her goals are in line with the strategic plan, which she considers smartly developed and implemented.
Kerzner said her vision for the next two years consists of boldness, positivity and sustainable change. Her desired outcome is more forward thinking leadership and positive change, resulting in exceptional quality of life in Ottawa.
Federation President and CEO Andrea Freedman said she has grappled with the question at the heart of the strategic plan: How to get more people to make more Jewish choices?
“It’s a collective responsibility, which requires all of us to work together,” she said.
Freedman urged community members to “hop on the Ottawa Super Jewish Highway” and bring the joy of Jewish living to others. She said participation
in programs like PJ Library, which distributes free Jewish books each month to young children, provides a natural foundation for families to make more Jewish choices.
Israeli Ambassador Rafael Barak recognized the importance of volunteerism in the Jewish community and wished “a warm mazel tov to all,” noting the evening’s community award recipients, saying that it’s people like them that secure a future for Ottawa’s community and Israel.
Jonathan Ben-Choreen Freedman received the Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Service Award, the highest tribute the Ottawa Jewish community can bestow on an individual for exceptional leadership over many years.
The Shem Tov Community Volunteer Award, recognizing many years of dedication and service, was presented to Flo Morgan.
Howard Fremeth was the recipient of the Freiman Family Young Leadership Award which recognizes someone under 40 who exemplifies exceptional leadership and service. Melanie Fremeth accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was attending a conference in Israel.