Dear Friends,
Democracy is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to participate and when we work together to fulfill the sacred mandate of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Moreover, non-partisan civic engagement in service of our enduring values is an essential way that we stay active in our communities. On behalf of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, I applaud all those in our community (individuals and organizations) who were engaged in our most recent municipal election as well as those who exercised their right to vote. 

While diversity of thought and opinions are both recognized and appreciated, the Jewish Federation movement is strongest when we act cohesively and collaboratively to help our community plan its strategy for meaningful, Jewish, nonpartisan civic engagement. We also all know individual Jews who play prominent roles in public life or as community organizers, public policy experts, legislators and government officials. At the same time, many Jewish organizations are deeply engaged in policy debates and discussions at local, provincial, national and international levels. 
As a convener, your Jewish Federation of Ottawa continues to invite discussion and healthy debate as we work hand-in-hand with our advocacy partner, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Our success in facilitating rich conversation remains the most effective advocacy strategy, as opposed to trading in sound bites, or sometimes using hyperbole about the challenges facing our communities. In fact, the Jewish community’s deep involvement in public life is respected and many other communities and stakeholders recognize the Federation as an important and authentic voice in several public squares.

Local government issues often affect our lives in the most intimate and powerful ways. Anyone who has traveled in places without well-functioning local governments has seen the evidence. In other words, when civic government is running as it should, it is often invisible. When it is not, it can make ordinary life difficult, or even impossible. Ottawa is an example, for the most part, of a well-run city. 

Of course, we have our concerns and certainly there are serious issues affecting residents, including but not limited to: housing affordability; widening inequality; food security; strengthening communal infrastructure; health services; as well as combatting the increase in incidents of antisemitism.

As we welcome Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, the new city council and school board trustees, Federation will continue to advocate on the numerous issues vital to ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant Jewish community. We will continue to work with everyone, including those with whom we might have opposing views, in the hope that we can find common ground. Yasher Koach to this new slate of city leaders. We wish them success and wisdom in their mission to guide and enhance our city. 

Shabbat Shalom,

P.S. I am delighted to share the success of last week’s matching campaign. More than 200 people donated, with more than 100 donors increasing their gifts! We well surpassed our $10K goal and achieved the hoped-for match! THANK YOU to all who took part, and of course, our gratitude to our generous anonymous donor who launched the campaign.  

To understand how your gift supports Jewish Ottawa, visit here for an impact report and here to see specific examples of gifts in action