Shabbat Candlelighting 3:58 p.m.                                             Friday, December 17, 2010/10 Tevet 5771

This message has 1,083 words, and will take about 3-4 minutes to read.

Last Chance for Year-End Tax Savings on Charitable Donations
With two weeks left to the calendar year, this is your last chance to benefit from a charitable tax receipt on your 2010 taxes. Now is the time to make and/or pay your 2010 pledge, and depending on your situation, it may be advantageous to make advance payments towards 2011 commitments. With the exception of statutory holidays on December 27th -28th, the Federation office is open through December 31st to process Annual Campaign and Jewish Community Foundation donations. Of course, the internet is open 24/7 and you can go online to make your campaign gift at any time that’s convenient for you. If you’re paying by credit card please do so by December 29th at the latest to ensure you receive a 2010 tax receipt.

It is a particularly good time to look at your investment portfolio to determine if it makes sense to use appreciated stocks to make your charitable gift. By donating appreciated stock you increase your tax savings, as you not only receive the tax receipt for the value of the shares, but you also avoid paying capital gains tax on the appreciated value from your time of purchase. For more information on donating securities, contact Dorothy Malkin at 604.257.5100 or after December 24th Emilia Yau.

We’ve now passed last year’s campaign achievement of $7.3 million. Reaching our $8 million goal depends on the many community members now making their year-end decisions on charitable gifts. This year, we’ve worked to demonstrate the extraordinary reach of the Federation Annual Campaign – it touches the lives of virtually everyone throughout our Jewish community. And it touches you too. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

A Final Thank You to our Sponsors
The breadth of corporate sponsorship for Federation and our Annual Campaign grew this year, and we are grateful for this support, as it helps us defray our fundraising costs and devote more of your contributions to the important social and educational services you support. We encourage you to support the companies that support our community through their sponsorship of Jewish Federation and the Annual Campaign. Thank you again to the following corporate sponsors, whose generous support of our community merits special attention and appreciation:

Jewish Independent – Media Sponsor
Executive Hotel Vintage Park – Event Sponsor, Yom Ha’atzmaut
Pollock Clinics – Event Sponsor, Choices
BMO Harris Private Banking – Event Sponsor, Opening Night
Bull, Housser & Tupper – Event Sponsor, Men’s Night Out
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre - Campaign Sponsor
New: Wolrige Mahon – Event Sponsor, Men’s Night Out
New: The BMW Store & Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Vancouver – Campaign Sponsor

Advocacy Reorganization Process
A number of our Federation leadership were in Montreal last weekend for the semi-annual board meeting of United Israel Appeal Federations Canada (UIAFC) – the umbrella organization of the Canadian Federations. Collectively, the Canadian Federations provide more than $8 million in funding annually to support the advocacy work of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), Canada-Israel Committee (CIC), University Outreach Committee (UOC), Hillel Canada, and more. Facing increasing financial pressures during the past two years as a result of the recession, and with ongoing concerns about duplication of structure and effort, the advocacy network has been engaged over the past year in a reorganization process aimed at streamlining its structure in order to devote more resources to programming. A roadmap for the reorganization was presented to UIAFC and endorsed. More detailed planning and implementation will follow over the next 3-6 months.

While many individuals involved in one of the advocacy organizations have expressed concerns about the loss of individual identity and profile of their particular organization, there actually is broad agreement across the system that it is long past time that the national community moves in this direction. Key issues still require further planning, most notably the name under which the merged organization will operate, and how it will connect effectively with the communities in large and small population centres across Canada.

Local leadership from the Canadian Jewish Congress, Canada-Israel Committee and Jewish Federation have started discussions over the past few months about how our community can best be organized to relate to whatever new national structure evolves from the process. Our hope is to emerge stronger in our ability to deliver the range of advocacy services now provided in our community, including incorporating greater focus on provincial and municipal level issues. With a significant percentage of BC’s Jewish population living outside the Lower Mainland, my hope is that we will also be able to do a better job supporting smaller communities across the province.

Parashat Vayechi
With this week’s reading we come to the end of the book of Genesis, the narrative of creation and the early beginnings of the Israelite people as a nomadic tribe. Vayechi closes this phase of our collective story with the deaths of both Jacob and Joseph. At Jacob’s request, his body is returned to the land of Canaan, to the burial cave of Machpelah which Abraham had purchased. Joseph too, at the time of his death, makes the request to be returned from Egypt. He says, “When God has taken notice of you, you shall carry up my bones from here” (Genesis 50:25). Here, then is the bridge to the Exodus story. Joseph dies after a lifetime of service to Egypt at the highest levels. He lives and dies as a prince in Egypt. But, as he dies he still acknowledges himself as a stranger there, and he foreshadows the future slavery of the Israelites. Accepted and favoured within Egyptian society during his time, Joseph predicts a time when the Israelites will cry out for God to notice them in their bondage. His ultimate wish, for his bones to be carried home, is fulfilled by Moses and Joshua.

Our nomadic ancestors recognized the Land of Israel as their home, and their dying wish was to be buried there. Our connection with the land is rooted in this narrative, dating back to the earliest days of our collective history. There are today, of course, many degrees of attachment among Jews to the Land of Israel, and to the political entity that is today’s modern state of Israel. There are divergent visions and beliefs about what Israel should be, where the borders should lie, the religious or democratic nature of the state, and its relationship to its neighbours and the minorities who live within its borders. Those divergent visions and beliefs have divided Jews amongst themselves, and this is a danger to our strength and connection as a people.

Hopefully, by remembering our collective historical roots and the degree to which they bind us as Jews to one another, we can find ways to address our differences with civility and humility.

Shabbat Shalom!

This is an official email sent to you from the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. Federation respects and upholds an individual’s right to privacy and to protection of his or her personal information. We use personal data for providing up-to-date information on our objectives, services, to process donations.