Welcome Alysha Blakey to the Federation team!

Born and raised in Ottawa, Alysha Blakey is thrilled to be back home and working in the Jewish community as the Community Engagement Specialist at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. Alysha works with young adults, newcomers to Ottawa, and volunteers. She brings a wealth of experience in client services having worked for museums, Big Brother, Big Sister, and as a mentor manager in Canada and Israel. 

Alysha loves people. She is motivated and inspired when she can help create community. This passion served her well while living in Israel. Five years ago, she moved to Israel. While there she met her husband and started her family. They were living outside of Jerusalem and then a year ago decided to move to Kibbutz Misgav Am to be part of a growing community where they could contribute to both the growth of the kibbutz and the development of the northern communities. The kibbutz is located in the North of Israel on the border with Lebanon and is part of the development zone that Federation supports through Partnership 2Gether.

“Living in Northern Israel felt like a little slice of Canada. Lots of greenery, a lot calmer than the Tel Aviv city hubbub, and even the Canada Centre in Metula,” Blakey says. “It made me appreciate the lifestyle I grew up with in Ottawa and want to provide the same for my son, Ezra.”

Following the attack on Oct. 7, her Kibbutz was evacuated, and she was displaced for six months. For a variety of reasons, her family decided to move to Ottawa. 

“My role at Federation is the perfect fit for me, because in a way, I also feel like a newcomer, but with the insights of a Canadian. As such, it's been a really, nice soft landing back in the city.” says Blakey.

After Oct. 7, Blakey recognizes that there is a genuine longing and need for authentic Jewish connections. Small cities, like Ottawa, offer that in abundance. Our size is an opportunity. Especially for young adults. They can really engage with the community and make a difference because our community is accessible. 

“I hope to meet many young adults, newcomers, and volunteers in person and develop real relationships. From there, engagement will grow. We also always have to make room for Jewish joy. I think that we’ve all felt this communal grief since Oct. 7 and I want to make sure we celebrate the simchas (celebrations) as well.”

Over the summer, Blakey plans to create opportunities for all her target populations. She will look for events to place volunteers. She wants to get people out into the community and helping in ways that they find fulfilling. 

For newcomers, volunteering can help them learn about the community and make connections. In addition, she is planning a newcomers event for the end of the summer. 

Lastly, young adults can expect to be invited to a special event on June 17 with three sisters from Israel who defended their Kibbutz on Oct. 7. There is also the HOTtawa rooftop party on June 20, a mocktail pool party at the Soloway JCC, and tons more to come!

Please reach out to Alysha Blakey at ablakey@jewishottawa.com for more info.