Twice a month, 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 personal message from Jake Shabinsky.
Dear friends,

It has been just over a year since I was elected to serve on the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Board of Directors as Campus Chair and what a year it has been. As the sole new board member elected in 2020, I have had a front-row seat as the Board and incredibly resilient Federation staff have navigated the tremendous challenges of the past year. In the Campus Committee Chair role, I work closely with Andrea Freedman and Leslie Kaufman “behind the scenes,” providing input on SJCC Campus operations including the maintenance, management, and security of the campus property. 

As a fourth-generation Ottawan, I consider it an honour to serve and give back to this wonderful community that has shaped who I am today and where my wife Jessica and I have chosen to raise our family. 
Family photo: Jake, Jessica, Joshua (left) and Isaac (right).

Last Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Va’etchanan that includes the first section of the Shema prayer. This Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Eikev that includes the second paragraph of the Shema prayer. It is asked, why is the first paragraph of the Shema worded in the singular while the second paragraph is worded in the plural? The explanation given is that we need to focus on ourselves as individuals (singular) and on the community at large (plural). The first paragraph of the Shema speaks to the individual specifically. However, the second paragraph of the Shema speaks to the whole community and emphasizes the importance of community.

This past Wednesday marked the Shloshim for our dear Rabbi Reuven Bulka z”l, a tireless leader who truly focused on both – care for each and every individual and care for the entire community. Much has been written about Rabbi Bulka’s profound community impact but I will be forever grateful to him for his compassion and guidance when I needed it most. (Visit here to read the special edition of the Ottawa Jewish E-Bulletin honouring Rabbi Bulka.)

Please take a moment to perform an act of kindness in the merit of Rabbi Bulka z”l (Visit the Rabbi Bulka Kindness Project at

Wishing you, individually and collectively, a Shabbat Shalom and a safe and relaxing long weekend!

Jake Shabinsky