Dear friends,

It would be easy to be discouraged by the antisemitism experienced in our nation’s capital this week from swastikas to the passing of an antisemitic motion at the University of Ottawa challenging the security and ability of students to live their full, authentic, and true Jewish lives.

Instead with Chanukah just around the corner, I choose to focus on the light.  

I choose to focus on the fact that our students, though deeply saddened and troubled that “their” student government effectively created a hostile environment, continue to fight for their rights and for what is right. They speak with eloquence, passion and from a place of confidence based on strong knowledge. Equally impressive is that Hillel Ottawa, Chabad Student Network, Israel on Campus, and StandWithUs Canada are all working together. They are being supported by Federation, CIJA, and several incredible senior community members. Significant efforts are being made to ensure that Jewish students can study and enjoy university life in an appropriate and safe environment. Read the student's excellent statement here

While it is deeply troubling that these events are taking place during Holocaust Education Month, we can still be inspired and reminded how anyone can make a difference even during the darkest of times. As an example, on November 20th @ 7 PM, join Federation’s Shoah Committee in watching Passage to Sweden followed by a live Q&A with filmmaker Suzannah Warlick, and film narrator Chana Sharfstein. It is the compelling story of the events that occurred in Scandinavia and Budapest during the Second World War. Defying the occupying German forces, and protecting fellow citizens, spontaneous and dramatic rescue operations were conducted to save thousands of Jewish lives. 

For Chanukah, Federation’s microgrants are once again helping to spread light, with almost $9,000 in new funding dispersed for exciting programs organized by individual community members and community organizations. Our Chanukah list of mircrogrants may yet increase, but as of today, here are the latest projects receiving funding.
And it was a great day for the community on Tuesday when it was announced that Creative Kosher Catering (CKC) would once again be under Ottawa Vaad HaKashrut (OVH) supervision, beginning in mid-January. As David Smith said “The legacy of CKC is about service to the community, and we are pleased to be able to serve the entire community going forward. We are here for Jewish Ottawa, as we have been for over 50 years; and we look forward to making many more delicious memories together.” It is exciting that the kosher consumer now has even more excellent options in this city, and the full list of options can be found here.
To cap off a hectic week, Tamir celebrated a milestone anniversary last night 36 years of helping and elevating! The celebration was another reminder of the power individuals have to shape the world and make it better. Tamir was the vision of two wonderful community members, Lily and Jerry Penso, who worked tirelessly and successfully to bring it to fruition. 

Growing up, my mom taught at Peter Hall, a school for special needs in Montreal. When I was young and had a PD day at school, she used to bring me with her. My mom explained that she needed my “help” in the classroom, and I never questioned how she managed without my “help” the rest of the year. As an adult, I now understand that it was really about what I would gain from the experience and how my life would be enriched by learning from and getting to know her students. And this is what Tamir does for the community with compassion and excellence. They provide an invaluable service to the people they help, and at the same time, assist us all on a journey to become a more inclusive community and society, and in the process, better people. Thank you, Tamir. We look forward to the next 36 years! Please enjoy this special video that was part of yesterday’s celebration - The Tamir Anthem: When We Sing Together.

Shabbat Shalom,
P.S. View the Chanukah community listing here.