Dear friends,

Every year to celebrate my work anniversary at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, I like to share a few thoughts about our incredible community.    

This is a time of great pain in the world. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has resulted in an unimaginable humanitarian crisis and poses a threat to world peace. The heavy toll of a two-year pandemic is extreme, and while lessening, still presents stresses and challenges. And antisemitism is no longer contained to the fringes of society but is frequently rearing its ugly head.   

In looking back over the last nine years of serving Jewish Ottawa, our community always shines when things seem the bleakest.  

This is true when the community displays solidarity when Israel is attacked; when 700+ people gathered in solidarity at the Soloway JCC less than 24 hours after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh; and the heroism displayed by volunteers, professionals, donors, and organizations throughout the pandemic. And it explains why almost 300 people, with very little prompting, have opened their hearts and wallets and made meaningful gifts to the Ukraine Crisis Fund. 
Our community shines 365 days of the year, 24 hours of the day, we just tend to notice it more at the toughest of moments. 
As with any complex job, there are components in which we excel and those where we struggle more. There are elements that inevitably bring us more joy than others. I love building the Jewish Superhighway – connecting more people to Jewish life. I relish strategic planning – the ability to dream and bring ideas like the Generations Trust for Jewish Education (a permanent endowment) to fruition. I get energized at the success of Federation’s Microgrants, when the first shinshinim arrived in Ottawa, whenever Federation launches a new pilot program like Jewish Jumpstart, and when volunteers take on important leadership roles in the community. I find it thrilling that the Foundation’s Life & Legacy program has now secured over $14.9M in expectancies for our community and that Temple Israel is the first team to reach its target of 18 Letters of Intent for the year.

Even after nine years on the job, I am like a little kid in a candy store when exciting and great things happen in and for our community!

And with experience, I now more fully understand and appreciate that it is the extraordinary, everyday accomplishments and work that allows us to rally and come together when it is most needed.

I am excited for all the great things we can accomplish together in my 10th year and secure in the knowledge that if and when it is needed, Federation and our community will shine as we rise to the challenge. 

Shabbat Shalom and thank you.