Every other week, 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 touching message from Danya Vered.
Dear Friends,

We have come a long way in this pandemic, and we have a long way to go still. I mark the passage of time by the way my toddler reacts to our work-from-home schedules. 

In the beginning of lockdown, she was just over a year old, had limited screen time, and was fascinated by the introduction of new faces through endless video conferences. She would wave and giggle and say hi over and over again. She complied with our changing work habits and schedules, as we adapted to working remotely during a pandemic without daycare. 

As the weeks passed, her vocabulary grew and so did her agency. She began to speak up during video conference calls, refusing to sit quietly while we tried to jam as much work as possible into our extended days.
Now, 10 months into the pandemic, the days are growing shorter and the workdays continue to feel longer. Our daughter forcefully states, “no more work” and “no more laptops” to me and my husband, pulling us away from our carefully crafted schedules and insisting on very engaged playtime. 

And so, we play. We focus on the moment, whether that includes destroying building blocks in our living room or running in circles in the empty pool at the park. If a work call comes in, our colleagues can join in our play. But they know our daughter is in charge. 
We must remember that this is not a new normal but our normal right now. And it is going to change again and again before we are through this. We are all living through a pandemic and, while our work must get done, we also must take the time – as individuals, as families, as a community – to play, to nourish the other parts of our lives that we have put on hold while in pandemic-mode. Namely, connections with each other, in a meaningful and safe way. 

It is why my husband and I continue to prioritize our volunteer work in the community. It expands our bubble from family, work, and getting through the day to focus on the human element that connects us all. My late father, of blessed memory, used to say that you should stretch yourself beyond what you think you can handle because the impact you will have on others will go beyond what you imagine. The time we put in together now – the time for ourselves, the time for our community – will enable our meaningful connections to flourish as we emerge from the pandemic. 

We have wonderful people at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and its agencies and partners who are thinking critically and creatively about you and me; about how we can secure the resilience of our community in the here and now and thrive moving forward together. Let’s join them in the big and the small gestures that keep our sense of community vibrant and ensure Jewish tomorrows for us all. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Danya Vered
Member of the Board of Directors
P.S. Let's add some brightness to our lives! There are numerous upcoming Chanukah events for all ages and interests, including a daily Community Virtual Chanukah Candle Lighting co-hosted by Federation and the Soloway JCC. Visit here for more info and to register.

Also check out:

And stay tuned for a full listing of community events coming soon.

Chag Sameach, everyone!