Shabbat Candlelighting 8:16 p.m.                                                Friday, August 13, 2010/3 Elul 5770

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Vancouver Hillel Does Us Proud
Kudos to the Vancouver Hillel Foundation, which took the lead in ensuring a positive Jewish presence at this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade on August 1st. Sparked by news of an anti-Israel group marching in the parade, Hillel focused on conveying a positive message about inclusiveness in the Jewish community and Israel and generally promoted a message of peace. They were met largely with enthusiasm and support from the tens of thousands of spectators and other marchers. In particular, student leaders, Hillel staff, and others from across our community focused on Israel as the only country in the Middle East in which LGBTQ have equal rights. Click here to watch a video documenting the Hillel presence at the parade. The Hillel contingent drew participants from across the spectrum of the community. Along with Canadian Jewish Congress - Pacific Region, Temple Sholom and other community organizations, Federation was pleased to support Hillel as they exercised community leadership at this important event.

Jewish Food Bank Preparing for the Fall
The Jewish Food Bank is working to secure donations of school supplies in anticipation of the start of school in a few weeks. There are almost 60 school-age children among the families currently served by the food bank, and these families are hard-pressed to ensure their children are outfitted with basic supplies needed to succeed in school. They hope to provide each child with a backpack filled with age-appropriate supplies. If you can help with donations of items or cash to help with the purchase of needed supplies, contact Shelley Ail at 604.272.7252 or

Also, the Food Bank is trying to address long-term issues around storage and refrigeration, which would allow them to stretch their funds further. If you are a business owner who can help with this, it would be a huge mitzvah! Please contact Shelley Ail.

Federation Annual Campaign Building Steam
Notwithstanding the beautiful weather this summer, our Annual Campaign leadership has been busy at work preparing for our Annual Campaign. With an $8 million goal set for 2010, plans are well underway for our canvassing and marketing activities and various events.

At this point, we are focused on securing gifts from campaign leadership to set the pace, and they are responding in an extraordinary way. With close to $500,000 raised, we are showing a 35% average increase. Results like this are indicating a particularly encouraging trend as we prepare to kick-off this year’s campaign.

Tickets for An Evening with Alan Dershowitz on September 20th are now on sale online, or by calling Jewish Federation at 604.638.7281. When you purchase your tickets you’ll have a chance to let us know what you’d like to hear Alan Dershowitz speak about, as the evening is structured for him to address topics selected by the participants.

The Shofar is Calling Us to Action
A few days ago the Hebrew month of Elul began, and with it the daily blowing of the shofar during the morning service. We will continue to hear the sound of the shofar until the close of the Yom Kippur holiday. The daily practice of blowing the shofar in advance of the High Holidays prepares the way for the period of repentance.

In our early history the shofar was not only used in the context of worship, but also to communicate warnings of danger, and to call the people to action. In our time, it serves that purpose still. The world within which we live often feels like a precarious place. Terrorism, long a constant challenge for Israelis, is becoming ever more frequently used as a political tool around the world. Environmental disasters, both natural and man-made, loom large. Peoples' confidence in political structures is waning. The economic turmoil of the past two years still breeds great uncertainty.

In the face of all this we can draw strength from each other, by coming together in community. When we gather together, when we take responsibility for caring for one another through the Federation Annual Campaign and other community efforts, when we join together to celebrate our simchas and mourn our losses, when we raise our voices to advocate for our needs, we draw strength from one another. This year, when you hear the shofar, look around you to see your community together with you, and know you are not alone in this challenging world. Together, we can make it better.

Shabbat Shalom!

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