In this week’s Torah portion, Parsha Mishpatim, Moses informs the people of ethical and ritual laws to seal the covenant they have with G-d. While we as a Jewish people continue to be guided by many of these laws, there is one law that holds particular relevance to the work of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton through the Jewish Free Loan Association. “If you lend money to my people, especially the poor, do not act as a creditor nor take interest.”
Under the continued leadership of an anonymous volunteer committee, we can provide interest-free loans to Jewish community members. Jewish Federation maintains a fund to provide these loans, with a dignified review process that is fair and compassionate. Whether you need a loan for tuition, life cycle events, or challenging times, Jewish Free Loan may be a resource for you. We are always seeking ‘angels’ who may serve as guarantors or help establish an angel fund. Please contact email@example.com for more information or a loan application.
The Jewish Free Loan Association is one of the many programs and initiatives offered guided by our values “Yisrael Arevim Zeh l’zeh”—all the people of Israel care for each other, Tikun Olam—repairing the world, and Ahavat Chesed—loving kindness.
This week, I had the honour of welcoming Deborah Lyons, an energetic and insightful woman who is truly working to repair the world, to Edmonton. She serves as the Special Envoy for Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism. A special shout out to her Chief of Staff, Rachel Chertkoff, who many of you know from her prior role at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, who made this visit possible.
The special envoy is a former ambassador to Israel, a career diplomat who has a clarity and focus on this moment, expressing grave concern for Canada as a whole and the precipice we are on. We spent the short time together while she was here meeting with staff in the provincial minister's office of education, with the chief of police and community liaison contacts, and hosting a roundtable for her to hear from a cross section of the community around their experiences and impacts since October 7. She has been visiting communities across the country, listening while establishing priorities of data collection and education, with a focus on law enforcement and universities. We look forward to welcoming her back and hosting a broader community engagement. It was heartening to hear that Alberta was a breath of fresh air to her, as we are faring better than in many other areas of the country. It is a ‘secret sauce’ she wished she could bottle. (I wish I could bottle her energy!).
This weekend our Young Leadership Program will officially launch, and I look forward to meeting this cohort who heard the call and said “Hineni”. I will enter the weekend with an additional candle for those who remain hostage, also remembering the many families who received the news this week that their loved ones were declared deceased. May their memories be a blessing and may we only see the swift release of the remaining hostages.