Shabbat Candlelighting 5:27 p.m.                                             Friday, November 5, 2010/28 Cheshvan 5771

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Annual Campaign Events Winding Down
This weekend has been bookended with our two remaining events for this year’s Annual Campaign. The Choices event of the Women’s Philanthropy division drew nearly 400 women together last night for an evening that both moved and entertained the crowd. Following a brief program highlighting the ways in which the beneficiary agencies of the Federation touch thousands of lives here and around the world, entertainer and impersonator Bonnie Kilroe gave an energetic and fun performance as Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Madonna and Lady Gaga. Our thanks to event co-chairs Marla Groberman, Megan Laskin, and Stacy Lederman, who took a chance to give Choices a new twist. A special thanks to our corporate sponsor, Pollock Clinics, for their support for the evening. Many participants brought bags of food and household supplies for the Jewish Food Bank, continuing a longstanding connection for that important service with this event.

This coming Monday night it is the Men’s Philanthropy division’s turn, as they feature Jewish mentalist Sidney Friedman at The Cellar. It is not too late to make your reservation to join us; come have a bite and a drink and experience Sidney's "music mind reading".

This week, the campaign passed the 70% mark on our way towards the $8 million goal. If you haven’t made your gift yet, there’s still time, click here or call our office at 604.257.5100.

Yaffa House 2 Open House

Last weekend, Yaffa House opened its second home, immediately adjacent to its first, in the south Vancouver neighbourhood. The additional house has added three new places for adults with mental health issues, with two more spaces opening up after further renovations. Jewish Federation is proud to be partnering with Yaffa House Society and Coast Mental Health in making resources available for expanded housing and support services for people with special needs in our community.

Jewish Educator Eva Grayzel Reaches Across Jewish Education Spectrum
Last week Jewish educator Eva Grayzel was here on the Lower Mainland providing a broad range of programs for our Jewish schools, facilitated by our Jewish Education Services program. Eva, who is performance artist, storyteller and motivational speaker, conducted outstanding professional development programs for groups of early childhood and supplementary school teachers, led a parent education workshop at the JCCGV and worked with high school students at TAG BC supplementary school.

The early childhood professional development program was particularly important as over 40 educators working in programs at the local day schools and at the JCCGV participated in our community’s first collaborative program for this target group. The program included a variety of workshop offerings, as well as opportunities to network and share best practices. Based on the positive feedback that we have received, we hope that this will become a regular offering in our professional development calendar.

Parashat Toledot
This week’s parasha tells of Isaac’s adult life, and the conflict between his two sons, Esau and Jacob. In the famous story, Esau trades away his birthright for a bowl of stew because he is very hungry. Commentators through the years have looked at many angles related to why Esau would make such a trade, and Jacob’s role in deceiving his brother. We know within our own community there are members who struggle with hunger as part of their everyday lives. Due to disability, change in marital status, or affected by economic downturn, they have to make impossible choices about how to deal with the basics – food, shelter and health.

The Jewish Food Bank, a partnership of the Jewish Family Service Agency and Jewish Women International, continues to work to ameliorate this situation for community members.

An old Talmudic saying “eyn kemach, eyn Torah” (without food there is no Torah) perfectly captures what we know sociologically. If people can’t address their most basic survival needs, they can’t tend to higher order needs of self-fulfillment and spirituality. Helping address those basic needs is one important way in which the Annual Campaign is touching the lives of people in our community.

Shabbat Shalom!

(An apology for my error last week in referring to Parashat Lech Lecha. Working from memory while in Israel, I cited the wrong weekly reading, as last week’s reading was Chayei Sarah.)

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