I first started to write this message on October 3. It was a bright sunny day with a high of 15 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who are boomers). I wanted to thank the Edmonton Jewish community for the opportunity and responsibility to fulfill my family’s principles of Tzedakah.
For those of you who don’t know me, my roots in Alberta go back to my great-grandmother Rivkah Rubin, who was born into a prosperous Jewish family in Eastern Europe in 1860, but witnessed the tide of antisemitism growing by the early 1910s. A small group of her family gave up their privileged life and emigrated to the newly expanded province of Alberta settling in Edmonton in the 1920s, a city that allowed them to prosper and have the freedom to practice Judaism without fear of reprisal, restrictions or oppression.
I was born and raised in Toronto, but I moved to Edmonton 40 years ago. I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to become involved in various Jewish projects and organizations, as my ancestors did almost a century ago.
This is my second time co-chairing United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in Edmonton and, considering the events of October 7, there has never been a more important time to be a UJA donor.
Following that horrendous event, our Federation CEO Stacey Leavitt Wright immediately dialed the Edmonton Police Service to connect with their crisis unit to request that they protect and keep our Jewish community safe. She then arranged for herself and another Federation board member to stop into all the Edmonton synagogues that morning to bring our community updates.
For the past six weeks, Jewish Federations throughout North America have been working diligently with partner agencies on the ground in Israel and back home assessing where we, as North American Jews, can be of the most value at this most critical time in our history.
As many of you know, we have set an emergency fund up with all the communities in North America, including Edmonton. I’m proud to say that we, as Edmontonians, have stepped up with our hearts and wallets by generously donating to both the emergency fund and to our annual campaign. TODAH RABAH!
Our UJA campaign also enables us to continue delivering Holocaust education and to fight antisemitism, which is more important now more than ever.
Our community is coming to the end of our annual UJA campaign, and I am proud to say that we have accomplished a great deal. We are almost there! I ask you to please find it within your hearts to step up and contribute now, at this critical time, if you have not already done so.
AM YISRAEL CHAI.