Unity for Israel shines through different ways

Klal Yisrael-the unity of the Jewish people. While we may agree to disagree (or maybe even disagree on this too), let me share with you my past week, and how I experienced this at home and with our national partners and Israeli counterparts. Last weekend, I travelled to Ottawa with our local P2G representatives, Chair Erin Wright and National Subcommittee Chair Rebecca Asbell. We met up with CEOs, mayors, and volunteers from across Canada and our partner region, the Etzbah HaGalil, in northern Israel.  

They updated us on the many projects that are supported through our United Jewish Appeal campaign. This included mental health counselling in the high school affected by the deaths of teens from Kibbutz Kfar Blum, who were in a car crash earlier this fall. We back science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs in schools across the region that feed into and strengthen the burgeoning in the agritech. We continue to support the beloved Terry Fox Run, creating connections for 1,500 children from across the north, including Druze and Arab youth, learning about our Canadian hero and raising money for cancer research in Israel.  

Together with Yesud Hamala Mayor Ilan Orr, journalist Ziv Aloni, and Ottawa Reform Rabbi Daniel Mickelberg, I was honoured to be part of a panel discussing the complexities of Zionism in 2023. While everyone in the room is a committed Zionist, unity in this purpose was not uniformity about the issues in Israel or how we, as leaders, should respond to them. It was a spirited discussion among us that created deeper understandings of the realities we all face..  

Outgoing Ambassador Ronen Hoffman generously hosted us for a closing dinner. He treated us to an impromptu sing along, accompanied by his accordion. Singing familiar songs and closing with Hatikvah was a special treat that served to further our bonds in Klal Yisrael.  

I am looking forward to sharing my love of Israel at the Heritage Festival once again this year, and hope that you will consider volunteering as well. You can assist the pavilion in different ways, including making bracelets, discussing culture, or helping in the kitchen. Please sign up as soon as possible so we can organize volunteer schedules. If you want to further sponsor the pavilion to ensure we have a powerful presence at this event, please contact me.   

This week I was fortunate to visit with Talmud Torah families and leadership at their annual general meeting and at the Grade 1 Siddur Celebration. It is heartwarming to see the inclusion of different families at our community school. The passionate volunteers are spearheading efforts to further strengthen the Talmud Torah Society.. Watching 30 children sing with pride and joy and their families kvelling was a genuine moment where the formations of identity and community get woven together.  

Tonight is Pride Shabbat where we take a day to celebrate and acknowledge the intersection of members of the Queer community within Jewish Edmonton. We will welcome allies and elected officials while ensuring that every Jewish Edmontonian is welcomed into Klal Yisrael.  

Shabbat Shalom,