Shabbat Candlelighting 7:04 p.m.                                                Friday, September 17, 2010/9 Tishrei 5770

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Reflections on a Very Busy JCCGV
As our offices are located in the Jewish Community Centre building, I often get a chance to witness the vibrancy and busy life of this building. In a Jewish community where there isn’t really a geographically bounded Jewish neighbourhood, the JCCGV really functions as our virtual neighbourhood. So here are some quick snapshots from the past week and a bit:

• Need a Good Book? Try the Waldman Library - Last week as I was scrambling through a short work week due to Labour Day and Rosh Hashanah, I had a quick visit from the ever cheerful librarian of the JCCGV’s Isaac Waldman Jewish Library. She dropped off two books for my wife and me to try. I’ve gotten through one already – Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History, the compelling non-fiction account of how Lansky fell in love with Yiddish literature and ended up salvaging 1.5 million Yiddish volumes before they were lost forever as a Yiddish-speaking generation passed from the scene. I’m now working on A. B. Yehoshua’s Friendly Fire, a work of fiction by one of Israel’s most renowned authors. They are both great reads and examples of the gems you can find, whether you are looking for fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature, Jewish movies or music, and more.

• JCCGV as a Community Resource – As I left the building that Wednesday I saw the final preparations by volunteers from Congregation Or Shalom, which rents space each year for their High Holiday services–an example of the almost daily use of the centre by different organizations throughout our community to host programs and services for which they would otherwise not have space. Our ability to rent space here, along with a number of other community organizations, makes this building an important hub of community activity.

• JCCGV as a Place of Learning – Almost daily I am entering or leaving the building as parents are arriving or departing with their pre-school age children. JCCGV’s pre-school, one of four Jewish pre-schools in our community, provides a high quality Jewish early childhood experience to 275 children and their families. In the middle of the day I’m more likely to bump into King David High School and Pacific Torah Institute students who are here for physical education classes, lunch or just hanging out.

Of course, there is so much more – patrons of the fitness centre and pool, theatre-goers and visitors to the art gallery. Visitors from other communities who come to our offices invariably remark about how wonderfully active our JCC is, and that is what makes our JCC such a great example of the many ways your Annual Campaign contribution is touching the lives of thousands of community members.

Last Chance to Purchase Tickets for “An Evening with Alan Dershowitz”

If you don’t have tickets yet, I encourage you to act now to ensure that you can be among the 1,500 community members we anticipate will be together for our An Evening with Alan Dershowitz, our opening night event. With our offices now closing early this afternoon for the Yom Kippur holiday, tickets will be on sale by phone until 3:00 p.m. today, and on Monday until 2:00 p.m. You can also purchase online on our website - this is actually the best way to ensure you’ve got tickets. After 2:00 p.m. Monday, if still available, tickets will also be sold at the door at The Centre for Performing Arts.

Al Cheit Schechatanu

During the Yamim Noraim (the Days of Awe) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is customary to ask forgiveness for transgressions committed against our fellow human beings. In that spirit, as we approach the final hours before Yom Kippur, on behalf of our leadership, volunteers and staff, may I ask your forgiveness.

In our zeal to achieve our goals we may have taken support for granted and offended generous members of our community. If we have, please forgive us.

As we have worked to mobilize support for Israel we may have overlooked or dismissed those who have a multitude of views about Israel. If we have, please forgive us.

As we have worked to build and enhance our Jewish community we may have omitted or cast aside the feelings and needs of some. If we have, please forgive us.

As we have reached out to our community we may have been too exclusive, and not inclusive enough. If we have, please forgive us.

This year, may we bring renewed commitment to the sacred work of building community, of engaging community members in the richness of our tradition and culture, of bringing greater support to the many needs of Jews here and around the world, and of nurturing a profound and steadfast love for the State of Israel.

Our thanks to the many agencies, organizations and synagogues that comprise the fabric of our amazing Jewish community, and to the many volunteers and staff who toil endlessly to sustain this community day after day.

And a heartfelt thanks to you, our donors, for your generous support.

Shanah Tovah, Shabbat Shalom, V’gmar Chatimah Tova!

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