Federation helps connect volunteers to organizations in need

Are you looking to share your expertise with others and for a meaningful way to give back?  

There’s a new way to tell the Jewish Federation of Ottawa how you want to get involved in building Jewish life and community, caring for our most vulnerable, or making the world a better place (Tikkun Olam).

Federation’s recently updated its ‘Volunteering’ page on its website allowing community members to fill out a volunteer profile that asks for their interests, skills, and availability. The goal is then to match people with volunteer needs across Federation agencies and Jewish Ottawa organizations. You can also connect directly with each organization if you know where you want to lend a hand. 

“There are so many aspects of being Jewish and one important pillar of being Jewish is service,” said Federation’s Community Engagement Specialist Emily Litvack. “There is a famous quote in Pirkei Avot (and a Jewish summer camp song) that says that the world stands on these three things: on Torah, on service, and on acts of loving kindness.”

Litvack is hoping the updated webpage and sign-up form will help people find a meaningful, hands-on way to provide service that aligns with their talents, knowledge, and passion. 

“I am also here to help volunteers navigate the various opportunities and find a match that is right for them,” she said. “Since COVID, there seems to be a greater desire to give back and I'm hoping that the website is helpful to direct people in the right direction.”

For Litvack, community service has been a big part of her Jewish identity. 

“When I was a teacher in Jewish and secular schools, I was always very involved in creating opportunities for service learning for my students and their families both within and outside the Jewish community. After university, I was lucky enough to have received a Masa grant to do an experiential program in Israel at Livnot U'Lehibanot in Tzfat, which focused on social justice, outdoor learning, and Jewish communal living. As a group, we did a lot of volunteering in the Jewish community with various underserved populations,” she said.  

“There is also the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. We are told in our tradition that ‘We are not required to finish the work, yet neither are we permitted to desist from it.’ Service and volunteering is an integral part of being Jewish.”

Volunteering in the Jewish community can help you connect to Jewish life, meet like-minded people, form lasting relationships, and leave a mark on organizations, all while helping organizations build strong foundations so they can fulfill their goals.

Have questions or want to learn more? Contact Litvack at elitvack@jewishottawa.com. She will be happy to guide you in the right direction.