As we close in on 30 days since the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists, our concern and worry for the hostages remains. They have confirmed that they hold 244 individuals hostage in Gaza, and Israel will not agree to a ceasefire until they are released. We continue to pray for their safe recovery, and have joined in the blue ribbon awareness campaign by Jewish Federations of North America. You can get blue ribbons at the Federation office, synagogues, the Jewish Seniors Citizens' Centre, Talmud Torah School, or upcoming events or programs.
I am so pleased to see so many of you lean into community right now. Baking challah with 150 women earlier this week was therapeutic for me, being in good company and feeling the energy of our unity. This week, we commemorate Kristallnacht on November 9 at 7 p.m. at Beth Israel Synagogue. The anniversary is taking place one month after the largest pogrom since 1943. I hope you try to attend, as we will unveil the Second Voices Project Video of the story of Syd Cyngiser z”l, presented by his daughter, Francie Cyngiser. The project, in collaboration with Calgary Jewish Federation and supported by the Government of Alberta, will serve as an educational tool for Francie when she is invited into classrooms.
We are currently focused on combatting antisemitism and keeping our community safe. However, we are also planning for a strong and connected Jewish community in the future. I am very pleased to share two announcements with you.
First, we are launching a young leaders' program, an initiative that strives to create a cohort of committed community members who will meet in the coming months, to better themselves as leaders and be prepared for issues unique to the Jewish community and to Edmonton. A significant grant from the Government of Canada Community Services Recovery Fund supports this project, “Building a Better Future for All”. If you know of someone between the ages of 25 and 40, please encourage them to reach out to Jacqueline to learn more.
Second, you may recall that our 2021-2024 strategic plan established that by the end of three years we would establish a facility plan “that can serve as a social gathering place and administrative space potentially with community partners”. Earlier this year, the board established a Facilities and Space committee, and has accepted their recent recommendation to make an offer to purchase a building. This is subject to many conditions, including approval of our membership. The building is at 14205-109 Avenue, and a town hall is being held on Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. Please register in advance of this event.
We are so excited about this possible space for all of us to gather, to support one another, and to join in continuing to build community. However, I want to reiterate that we have not yet purchased anything. We would not—and cannot—do that without a vote from our membership, which will take place on Wednesday, December 6 at our annual general meeting.
Thank you for supporting the Jewish Federation and the United Jewish Appeal campaign, which allows us to continue our work and support local agencies. We have just sent over $300,000 to the Jewish Federations of Canada, who are supporting the people of Israel with trauma relief, respite, medical supplies across the country and through many partnered agencies. The needs are staggering and we continue to fundraise for immediate needs and longer term recovery.