Twice a month, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa will be sharing a Shabbat greeting from a member of our Board of Directors. This Friday, we are pleased to share this personal message from Stacy Goldstein.
Dear Friends,

My husband’s grandmother, Helen Saipe, is 106 years old. She was born in Ottawa in 1914, just a few weeks after the start of the First World War, and lived here her whole life. Grandma was four years old when the Spanish Flu hit Canada, and I think about her often during our current pandemic. What was it like for her to live through that as a young child? 

As the months of lockdowns go on and on, I look at my kids, including my four-year-old daughter, and wonder how this challenging time will impact them in the long term. I imagine them retelling their pandemic experiences to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What will their memories be? 

Perhaps they will remember being cut off from their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents for such a painfully long time.

Perhaps my kids will recall the constant feeling of instability, never knowing if they would have school the next week, or even the next day.

Perhaps they will recount how badly they missed their friends from school and shul, without playdates or shul activities to bring them together. 

One small catchphrase that Grandma says frequently is “Anyhow.” It’s her go-to conclusion on any topic, good or bad. “Anyhow,” no matter what is happening, she accepts it and moves on. 
I hope that my kids will take a page from Grandma’s playbook and move past this with optimism and resilience because even in this challenging time, there are so many good memories to cling to.

So, what do I hope is included in their recollection? A few things:

I hope they remember how, with nobody else to play with, they actually played with their siblings, making up imaginary worlds, building forts, or just playing cards.

I hope they remember that, in the absence of having our usual crowd of Shabbat guests, they learned to appreciate how meaningful and cozy a small family Shabbat could be. 

I hope they remember the amazing teachers at Torah Day School of Ottawa and at the Ottawa Jewish Community School, who shifted to online learning multiple times and enabled their students to keep learning and thriving even through periods of lockdown.
I hope they remember how the uplifting sounds of Torah learning coming through three different online classrooms permeated our home and brought us so much strength during the pandemic.

And I hope they remember the kindness of the volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Ottawa who delivered my kids’ school devices to them when their classes went into quarantine. 

Finally, I hope we all remember that the community has been there for us during this unique time, and when the pandemic finally ends, the Jewish community of Ottawa will be even stronger, and more cohesive because of it.

Anyhow… 

Shabbat Shalom,

Stacy Goldstein
THANK YOU!

This past week was National Volunteer Week and the theme was The Value of One, The Power of Many, which reflects on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness of each individual and the magic that happens when we work together.

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa expresses our sincere gratitude to our volunteers. Thank you for your countless acts of service - we are deeply grateful! Please watch the Thank You video.
P.S. Federation is proud to be one of the 25 Jewish organizations participating in JET Ottawa's Clean Speech Ottawa, the groundbreaking community education and awareness campaign that aims to unite us in the practice of Jewish mindful speech and to build a more positive, respectful, and peaceful world. It begins May 1, so please sign up today at www.cleanspeech.com/ottawa and find out how the power of words can upgrade your life.