As I write, Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world, is nearly here (although I know you will likely read this just after Rosh Hashanah).
This is the day on which God takes stock of the world He created and, in turn, it is the day on which we take stock of the world we have created for ourselves: our lives, our family, our community.
Writing here in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, our community newspaper, I would like to cast the spotlight on our community.
And, for this, the words of Henry Molot, writing as president of the Ottawa Talmud Torah Board in 1979 in honour of the 30th anniversary of Hillel Academy, continue to resonate in a profound way today.
Henry wrote of the great accomplishments of Jewish Ottawa. Something that is still worth marvelling at and something that we should not take for granted. And Henry did not take it for granted.
“While those of us at the moment sitting on the Board or sending children to Hillel may take a certain satisfaction in the present success, I believe that the real pride of place must be given to those who took the leap of faith and made sacrifices so that we here now could reap the benefits,” he wrote.
We, too, must recognize and be so grateful to all of those who made that leap of faith and made the sacrifices to make our community what it is today.
Henry continued with a question that every single one of us must ask ourselves: “The critical question for those present and future generations is whether we will be able to seize the baton and sustain the pace that they and those before them have set. This is not just a question addressed to Board members, parents, and others closely associated with Hillel. Every member of the Ottawa Jewish community has the duty to respond … Simply put, the question for the leaders of the Ottawa Jewish community and for the Jewish families living here is: Can we match the dedication and self-sacrifice of past generations to Jewish ideals still relevant today?”
What is our community going to look like in the future? Are we ready to seize the baton? These are profound questions for us all to consider as we enter a new year filled with new paths and new opportunities. Let us answer this call and have the courage to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to strengthening our amazing Jewish community in Ottawa.
With wishes for an exciting year full of blessings and strength for our community.