I was honoured last night to join Talmud Torah for their performance of Trickster Theatre, a project supported through the Edmonton Jewish Community Charitable Foundation. This came together because of the achievements of parent volunteers (spearheaded by Christinah Reboh), teachers, and staff. The kids were a delight (as always), and the joy of being collectively in the gym was palpable. While I miss the days of kvelling over my own children, it is with great warmth that I could take part (as well as the school-wide Shabbat service last Friday).
Trickster focused the production on exploration of Jewish values, a process that had the students explore and create a skit to show Jewish values of G’milut Chasadim (kindness), Kehillah (community), Sameach B’Cheiko (be content), Lashon Ha’Ra (kind speech), K’vod HaB’riot (honour humanity), and Tikkun Olam (repair the world).
Values guide us as a community and as an organization. The strategic plan of the Jewish Federation established our Jewish values as Tikkun Olam, Ahavat Chesed (loving kindness) and Yisrael Aravim z’eh l’zeh (all the people of Israel care for each other). To understand some of the work from the strategic plan in play, I encourage you to read the latest edition of Hakol.
Our community has showed these most recently in our contributions to the earthquake relief efforts for Turkey and Syria through the Jewish Federations of Canada - United Israel Appeal mailbox, and locally with your items for the Jasper Place Wellness Centre. The emerging generation delivered these items to bolster the unhoused. Our community made significant donations to assist people in Ukraine, and can continue to do so as the war drags on. Jewish Federations of North America is reporting that $85 million from all Federations has gone to help with this aid. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine war next Friday, Jewish Federations are joining with our partners at the Joint Distribution Committee to mark a Shabbat for Ukrainian Jews.
With our business values of accountability, transparency, and collaboration, we endeavor to work with all partner agencies, lay leaders, rabbis, and professionals to seek synergies and ways that we can proceed to strengthen our local community together. We appreciated the time of Rabbi Gila Caine, Rabbi Dovid Pinson, Rabbi Steven Schwarzman, and Rabbi Guy Tal who met with upcoming b’nai mitzvah families at our office last Sunday. Plans are underway for community-wide celebrations for Yom Haatzmaut, celebrating Israel at 75 years.
Our collaborations extend outside of our community as well, as evidenced by the Edmonton Police Service visit with our board and community reps this week. They updated us on hate crimes, and initiatives that further support Jewish Edmonton. It’s wonderful to see the bilateral relationship we have developed ensures better communication between the two organizations and security for our community.
This security is even more important as we are reminded by incidents that still can take us by surprise. It’s with a heavy heart to learn that two Jews in Los Angeles were shot dead Thursday as they were leaving morning prayer services. May their lives be a blessing.
I wish all of you a peaceful Shabbat and hope that you can take a moment on this long weekend to contemplate the values that resonate most for you.