The Communications team at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa is growing. Jodi Green was recently hired to fill the new role of Communications and Advocacy Specialist. To help introduce her and share the vision for this new position, Jodi chatted with Community Relations and Antisemitism Specialist, David Sachs, to share her ideas and goals.
DS: What are you most excited about for this job?
JG: I’m excited to continue building community but in a new way. For many years my practice has been focused on outreach and inclusion within the Jewish community. Here at Federation, I have the opportunity to build bridges across communities and find new allies to support the Jewish community while also writing and curating stories for the Ottawa Jewish E-Bulletin.
DS: How does community outreach impact advocacy?
JG: I believe they are two sides of the same coin. We need outreach to develop relationships with people and organizations in our local community. Being in Ottawa, we also have the opportunity to network on a Federal level. Once you’ve developed the relationship, you then can discuss the issues that impact your community and learn about what impacts them. Together you can advocate for change with more voices of support.
DS: You'll be working at bridge building with other communities and organizations, can you give some examples of Ottawa Jewish community partnerships?
JG: Sure! There are many examples.
-Rabbi Bulka started Kindness week which continues today through the work of Rabbi Idan Scher (of Congregation Machzikei Hadas) as well as many community groups, including Tamir. They have contributed a video celebrating kindness for the past two years.
-JET works with many Jewish organizations and people to put on Clean Speech Ottawa.
-One of my first advocacy events for Federation was to speak at the Baitun Naseer Mosque as part of their Women’s Symposium on Faith. It was a beautiful opportunity to highlight all that we have in common with Islam and other religions and to highlight that as a people our world experience has been impacted by the surrounding cultures.
-Kehillat Beth Israel regularly opens its doors to parochial school groups to learn about Judaism, see a Torah, and build comfort and friendship with all people.
I could keep going, but you get the idea. Advocacy extends way beyond politicians.
DS: What are the challenges you see in the advocacy aspect of this work?
JG: A critical piece of this job is the ability to speak quickly about the issues impacting our community and be influential for your community. Memorizing the speaking points and being able to deliver them concisely will take practice, but I am up for the challenge.
DS: What are your goals regarding Jewish events?
JG: I have a strong events background. My goal for the Federation is to see how we can use the E-Bulletin to highlight mission critical pieces, like the Annual Campaign, as well as educating about the breadth of programs available for all the various micro-communities within the Ottawa Jewish community, i.e. The new Kibbutz Sunday school for Israeli children taught entirely in Hebrew, or the Think & Drink program through Federation’s Emerging Gen. There are so many entry points as well as volunteer and leadership development opportunities. Events are about getting to know each other, socializing, learning, and connecting. It’s an important piece of successful bridge building.
DS: How do relationships with other communities make a difference in fighting antisemitism?
JG: Two voices are stronger than one and 20 are stronger than 19. We cannot pretend we live in a bubble and that we are alone in the fight against racism. My role will be the one-on-one meetings with other communities. Identifying those who are willing to join our fight to end antisemitism and in turn who we will support in their fight for equality. It’s a beautiful thing when communities come together for change. To summarize the point, I’d like to quote Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, “Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – that maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”
DS: What do you like most about working on the E-Bulletin and do you have any new goals?
JG: I look forward to celebrating our community's successes and sharing the interesting work and achievements of all the amazing people and agencies. There is so much going on in Jewish Ottawa and I want to showcase stories about our diverse community. My goal is to keep people informed as well as to provide interesting content. I'm hoping to offer some new formats including some bilingual Hebrew/English articles. I would love to hear from you - please share your story ideas and submissions!
Jodi Green can be reached at jgreen@JewishOttawa.com. Have any ideas for the E-Bulletin? Please share them with Jodi.