Last week, three people shared their stories with our United Jewish Appeal (UJA) canvassers about how your donations have assisted them. A new mom reconnected to our community through Shalom Baby, a recipient of bursary support for Talmud Torah, and a newly arrived refugee from Ukraine who was helped by Jewish Family Services. They talked about how they were affected, how important community and volunteering is, and other inspiring messages. Your UJA campaign gifts made all of this possible.
The UJA campaign launches this Sunday night. You can still come and shmooze with your community members, enjoy delicious snacks, and listen to world-class musicians from our partner region in the Etzbah HaGalil. This is the time to lean into the community, to strengthen our ties and connections to one another and to Israel. You can buy tickets now.
This has been a momentous week, with children returning to school and university. With a UJA gift, we can aid the most vulnerable at Talmud Torah with a bursary; teens have a strong non-denominational cohort through BBYO; and Hillel students have support on campus. Hillel returned to ‘tabling’ this week (outreach on campus) and has planned a welcome back barbeque for Monday night. If you know a post secondary student in Edmonton, they can connect with our new Hillel director, Jacob Oshry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to our support of emerging leaders, University of Alberta student Josie Coutain-Segall will be a panelist at the Face It, Fight It conference in Ottawa this October. She moderated the Ben Freeman event last winter. We hope you will join a contingent from Edmonton, as we will return home better equipped to fight Jew-hate in our daily life. We are all vital players in the fight against antisemitism. This is your opportunity to add your voice at this extraordinary conference of proud and engaged Jews and our allies.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a delightful inaugural membership luncheon at the Jewish Drop-in Centre. The centre is one of many agencies we support through the UJA campaign. I could not help but share in the pride in the room when Lt. Governor, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, spoke so glowingly about the caliber of the offerings at the centre. She focused on getting to know one another and was impressed that the centre welcomes people of all cultures. As she so eloquently stated, “Diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act.”
It has always been said that no other gift touches more Jewish lives than one to the annual UJA campaign. Our Lt. Governor told us that her new coat of arms will have the word “Ubuntu” at the bottom, “I am, Because We Are”. A fitting phrase for us as a community, ensuring that together, we are stronger.
On a final note, a comment on recent events in Alberta-inclusion is a value that we cherish at the Jewish Federation, which is why we were concerned with recent comments made by Red Deer School Trustee Monique LaGrange. On Twitter, we lauded the recent statement made by the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association president, stating “@Jewish Edmonton has been monitoring the situation involving Trustee Monique LaGrange following her comments comparing Pride to Nazis. We welcome the ACSTA’s vote to remove her as a director. Association President Harry Salm's words resonate with us, as we believe everyone is made in God's image, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender expression, religion, race, or creed.
Shabbat shalom and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,