Dear friends,

The Jewish world changed forever on September 27, 1791. In 1791, the French Revolution, with its emphasis on secularism and enlightenment, reached the Jewish community and the Jews of France were finally granted full citizenship. For the first time, French Jews were able to participate fully in civil society and were granted the privilege of choosing how and if they wanted to engage Jewishly.

Now, we know that emancipation happened slowly and unevenly, but since that day in September, for much of our history, with the horrifying exception of pogroms and the Shoah marking the darkest days of humanity, Jews have had choices. Obviously, choice is a wonderful thing, but it does come with unintended consequences, including the choice by some not to participate in Jewish life. 

This is why the Jewish Superhighway, with its plethora of pathways to choose from, is so important. When I was a graduate student, they taught us to start where the client is. When you look at the latest three microgrants awarded by the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, they are all focused on doing exactly that - geographically dispersed and designed to make Jewish participation easy. Microgrants support Jewish engagement opportunities that go directly to where people are or can easily gather.
Every September, Federation launches our Annual Campaign. A heartfelt thank you to the 572 community members who have already made the choice to contribute $1.75M. Thank you as well to the 180+ volunteer canvassers, our Campaign co-chairs Josh Engel and Karen Palayew, and the Federation staff team who are working so hard to raise the funds necessary to power our community. If you have not already made a gift, please consider going online here and choose to make a difference. Your gift will ensure that the most vulnerable, from those with food insecurity to mental health struggles, will be protected; that access to Jewish life and education remain possible so everyone can enjoy a meaningful Jewish journey.
We are grateful to the Kershman/Wasserlauf family for chairing this year’s mid-Campaign event Raise Your Voice for CommUNITY! Please choose to join us on October 27 at 7:30 pm for this virtual Campaign event where we will hear from our chairs, then the entertainment duo behind Choir! Choir! Choir! will entertain us with equal parts singing, comedy, and community-building; everyone will have a ball and feel great!

You will get the opportunity to sing along and BE the choir! Register here and find out more about Choir! Choir! Choir! here.
To conclude, here is a short personal story. I recently discovered pickleball. For those unfamiliar, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America and is a cross between tennis, badminton, ping pong and the quintessential Israeli beach game, Matkot. It is fun, good exercise, easy to learn, and relatively inexpensive because of an abundance of public courts. As pandemic fatigue continues to exact a toll on everyone, even the most resilient, the choice to prioritize self-care is increasingly important. For each of us, self-care means something different. For me, it was the challenge of improving at a new sport, in this case, pickleball, which helps me to better focus on my work so I can do my part to contribute to a vibrant Jewish Superhighway. 

Shabbat Shalom,