Summer in Edmonton is more than smoke and mosquitoes. While some Jewish communities speak of the ‘down time’, Jewish Edmonton keeps ongoing! For those who ask, what does the Jewish Federation do? Here is a taste of some of what is going on as we move through the summer months.
This past week saw engagement and activities across the generational continuum. Kudos to Svetlana Pavlenko and her merry band of volunteers for the Jewish Senior Citizen’s Centre successful Bagel Loop. Last night, Genesis Edmonton held a Poutine Palooza at the Veggie Delights food truck in the 124 Street Market. If you know a young adult in the 25 to 35-year-old cohort who regretted not attending, have them watch out for future events. They can check on our Instagram profile, or sign up for The Bridge. Each event has attracted someone new who is looking to be involved with their Jewish peers. Co-Chairs Davina Eisenstat and Rayna Lew will always welcome more! There is a parent survey for the Jewish Youth Volunteer Connect (Grades 6-9 cohort) so our Federation can develop opportunities for this age group.
The JCC Maccabi teens are in Haifa and just wrapped up an incredible week of athleticism and friendship. They will begin touring around Israel while trying to stay cool and hydrated. Chloe Soibelman chaperoned Team Alberta, including teens from Calgary. They also welcomed two hockey players, one being an outstanding female goalie, from our P2G partnership region. Shout out to our partnership director in Israel, Meytal Novidomsky, who helped us pull this together. Meytal recently concluded the Educator Conference, bringing coast to coast and etzbah hagalil educators to collaborate and learn together. It made us happy to facilitate the sending of Bianna Kuksin from Talmud Torah School and we are eager to hear from her about it.
At the end of the summer, we will welcome a music quartet from the Clore Centre for Performing Arts who will perform at the United Jewish Appeal Campaign Launch. Save the date and mark your calendars for September 10 at the Citadel Theatre.
I want to give a shout out and ‘Yahoo’ to our partners in advocacy, the Calgary Jewish Federation, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) for a very successful Stampede Breakfast. With a small bus load of Edmonton volunteers, we engaged with elected officials and community guests to represent Jewish Alberta. We were told by many that this is one event they do not want to miss.
If you think having a Jewish Alberta voice is important in setting government policy, then we encourage you to come out to Ottawa this October. CIJA is organizing the Face it, Fight it conference, which is addressing antisemitism. Speakers, workshops and advocacy sessions will take place at Parliament Hill for this premier event. You can register now to attend.
The Israel Pavilion has been in operation at the Heritage Festival for over 28 years. This is one of the best opportunities of how you can support Israel locally by attending. The festival has moved to a new location this year. Our Federation has added features that surely will entice you to visit. We have an archaeological dig and virtual reality station showcasing Israeli tech and innovation. We will expand the marketplace with more goods direct from Israel. Plus, we are welcoming a new food vendor (Vish) with new menu items while continuing with the classics. Show your support by making a point of visiting the pavilion with friends and family. If you can spare a few hours, please sign up to volunteer. You will get a free meal and t-shirt for your efforts!
Jay Cairns, our Heritage Festival coordinator, and I will meet with festival organizers, Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Event Commanders and our CIJA national security director, Gerry Almendrades this week. We will deliberate and strategize for the new site in terms of logistics and security planning. Gerry will be returning for the festival to oversee security for the pavilion. While Gerry is in town, we will hold the quarterly Jewish Community Liaison Committee with EPS representatives and our security leads for each facility, where we discuss and plan areas of concern and upcoming events for the community.
Finally, we have heard from 74 of you that require Israeli Consular services. If you want to be informed when a visit to Alberta is forthcoming, please fill out our form. I have scheduled a meeting with consular officials in Toronto for the end of July on this and other matters.
Wishing all of you a Shabbat shalom,