I have, over the last few years, written a number of these messages. I always try to find something uplifting to speak about. This message will be published only 41 days after October 7. I will try to be uplifting, nonetheless.
As is common, there are aspects of our faith associated with the number 41. Yeshayahu, Chapter 41, Verse 6, says: “They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” And that is the uplifting theme of this message; we have done that, and we are doing it.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Z”L said: “Religion creates community, community creates altruism, and altruism turns us away from self and toward the common good. . . . There is something about the tenor of relationships within a community that makes it the best tutorial in citizenship and good neighbourliness.”
A few things to note: the Jewish community of Ottawa represents between .21% and .25% of the Jewish population of the U.S. and Canada (depending on whose number we use). Yet in the Federation Emergency Appeal for the People of Israel, Jewish Ottawa punches about our weight, contributing .55% of the $600M total so far, more than double our share by population. Our gratitude and congratulations to our community, on our help to our Israeli cousins, is boundless.
Yet I must mention that in addition to the Emergency Appeal, we need people to make contributions to the Annual Campaign. It is this Campaign that allows all of us to help our immediate neighbours, and to look after the vulnerable in our community. Please make your pledge as soon as possible.