Congregation Beth Shalom Legacy Fund

By Jane Ehrenworth Shore

As our community, city, and country  emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all eager to “get back to normal.” For many community agencies, this means providing programs and support to their identified populations. Some agencies will have an easier time than others due to stable financial resources. For those agencies that want to restore their programs but are financially challenged, the Congregation Beth Shalom Legacy Fund committee might be able to help.

This Legacy Fund was created when Congregation Beth Shalom of Ottawa (CBSO), merged with Agudath Israel Congregation in 2015. In order to keep the memory of those who came before us alive, this fund was established with the mandate reflective of the core values of inclusion, respect and generosity that had always been demonstrated by the Beth Shalom Congregation, its members, leadership and clergy. 

Since its inception in 2015, the CBSO Legacy fund has supported many Jewish community institutions. The following are three impactful examples of the fund at work. 

The CBSO Legacy fund was happy to financially assist the Ottawa Jewish Community School (OJCS) when they dreamed of establishing their Maker Space. With the initial funding, OJCS transformed a space in their basement into a learning lab, an open floor plan that allows for both a traditional Science lab and innovative prototyping. From coding to sewing, from robotics to virtual reality, OJCS is sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship and inspiring their students to see how much they are capable of accomplishing and achieving. By providing the students the time and space to bring an idea to life, they learn that their ideas have value and that part of that important journey includes stretching their thinking and trying new solutions should one hypothesis not work. 

The students are loving this experience.

The fund was also honoured to support the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES). CHES was planning an initiative called “In Depth Exploration of the Voices of Survivors.” The objective was to design an educational program for teachers, with a focus on local survivor testimonies and with the purpose of stimulating educators and students to learn about how Holocaust history and legacy continue to form an integral part of understanding a variety of social justice and human rights issues today. This will be an enduring source of Holocaust education focusing primarily on preserving the stories of the survivors who came to Ottawa after the Second World War. 

The CBSO Legacy Fund was also delighted to be able to support Kehillat Beth Israel. When COVID began, KBI needed to shift its services and other programming to a virtual platform, resulting in having Shabbat services and Yom Tov services presented on a live stream platform. In order to expand these offerings and to be able to run multiple services or programs options at the same time, KBI needed to update their technical and audio-visual equipment. To assist their community members to feel connected, they created online media offerings such as pre-recorded Kol Nidrei service, Holy Days Liturgy YouTube playlists, and virtual choir videos to name only a few. These have become an important form of expression of faith by many KBI members as well as an artistic and spiritual necessity for their greater community. 

If you are an Ottawa area Jewish organization with a charitable designation, and  are providing unique programming, the CBSO Legacy Fund committee may be able to provide financial support.

Please contact Jane Ehrenworth Shore at prior to October 25, 2021 to outline the mandate of your agency and the current need you wish to fill.

- Jane Ehrenworth Shore is the chairperson of the Congregation Beth Shalom of Ottawa Legacy Fund.