Our Edmonton Jewish community has much to be proud of

Dear friends,  

Occasionally over the past month, I have had a young Jewish male exclaim, “I have to tell my mother about this!” This came up in conversations about antisemitism in Israel/Diaspora relations or by the Shine a Light mosaic at the Edmonton Oilers hockey game (Sharks fans visiting Edmonton). I realized how there was something so quintessentially ‘Jewish’ about this instinct, as was the interaction Yoav Gallant, Israel’s former Minister of Defense, had with his mother Fruma when he was dismissed. “You have intelligence and courage and I love you very much,” Gallant’s mother told him, adding, “I hope that everything will be alright.” Followed by, “When something good happens, call me.”  

As a Jewish mother, I can tell you it is always a joy when my own children have that drive to share—the bad, the good, and the special Jewish moment that they have just experienced. I couldn’t help but think about this yesterday when I had the delight of attending the Talmud Torah celebration of learning. It took me back to the days when I walked through the halls, marveling at my own children’s artwork on the walls.  

Pride was clear throughout the building. Parents and children were beaming as they were sharing in the classwork. Teachers were proud to show the projects and plans. The bulletin boards were full of work rooted in Judaic content that was evidence of pride in production. May these future leaders remain proud of their Jewish identity, and may their parents continue to be proud of their efforts!  

We have launched a new online portal to streamline and secure the integrated bursary program. This makes me think as a community that we should take pride in how we can help the most in need access to school, camp, and teen programs.  

I am also proud that we continue to allocate money for co-programming and minor projects twice a year through our allocations process. This latest round will see us fund community soccer for kids in kindergarten to Grade 4 (shout out to Shoshi Aziza for launching and leading this with Beth Israel) and family services and kiddush at Beth Shalom. Other projects include enhancements to the community food forest at Talmud Torah partnered with Temple Beth Ora and Jewish National Fund, new books for Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta collections, instructional resources and siddurim for Kadima Foundation and Talmud Torah, collaboration on b’nei mitzvah gifts with Camp BB Riback, support to the Jewish Drop-in Centre choir and transportation for seniors, and meeting space upgrades for the beautiful new offices for Jewish Family Services, and Camp Gan Izzy run by Chabad.  

This weekend, we are hosting two activities in our offices. The first connects families with a PJ Library pre-Passover gathering and the second a teen led program about visiting Israel for their peers. If you haven’t yet signed up, we are proud to continue our partnership with the Calgary Federation to bring Yaron Deckel (via Zoom) on Sunday. He will lend analysis as the Jewish Agency for Israel regional director of events unfolding in Israel, followed by Q&A.  

I want to wish the entire community a “Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach.” (Have a kosher and joyous Passover). Our offices will be closed as of noon on Wednesday, April 5, reopening April 10. Because of the holiday, there will be no weekly newsletter on Friday. 

Shabbat shalom,