As Jews, we have learned from our history and understand full well the fragility of life, and how quickly circumstances can ﬂip. Indeed, we even have holidays like Sukkot, when we purposely spend time in a temporary structure – a reminder of the transience and fragility of life. Last month’s tornadoes, occurring just two days before the start of Sukkot, were a powerful and dramatic reminder of how quickly life can change.
For the many Jewish families with homes in the storms’ destructive path, it was also a reminder of our community’s tremendous generosity and caring. Our community quickly banded together helping those without power and food. There are so many stories of kindness as people and agencies stepped up to help those most affected. These acts of kindness, large and small, are simply part of what we do.
The Jewish community has a long history of amazing successes and of rallying together. The Jewish Federation of
Ottawa, and its predecessor the Jewish Community Council of Ottawa/Vaad Ha’Ir, have helped facilitate our success by funding communal projects, helping the vulnerable and supporting Israel.
Today, examples of our progress are numerous: from emergency responses to the strength of our Jewish support
services, like Hillel Lodge, Tamir and Jewish Family Services, to our thriving Jewish Community Campus, home to our community centre, Jewish preschool, daycare, day school and a thriving hub of Jewish communal life. These are tangible results in which we can rejoice.
Just as worthy of appreciation, but harder to gauge, is the everyday work behind the scenes at Federation’s many
beneficiary agencies. Their hard work and diligent care, supported and facilitated by Federation, are what keeps the community going. Indeed, they power the lights and keep the wheels on the bus turning!
To support these existing programs and initiatives, while boosting innovation, we need to raise more money. As
the needs and expenses of our community increase, so must our fundraising. Even if we simply supported the same programs, more money is needed just to keep up with inflation. But we don’t want to just keep up. We want to be vibrant, and to do more.
This year’s Campaign has a wonderful bonus. Three generous families have stepped forward to create a Challenge
Fund of $500,000. With this incentive, all new or increased donations to the Campaign will be matched, dollar
for dollar. If everyone gives a little bit more, with the matching fund, we could raise as much as $1 million in increased donations!
This would be a terrific boost to our community and would allow Federation to build its vision of the Jewish Superhighway, filled with Jewish options, where everyone can find shelter in times of storm and where no one is left behind. The future of our community is seeded in the dreams we have for it today. Let’s dream big!