Shabbat Candlelighting 7:37 p.m.                                             Friday, September 2, 2011/3 Elul 5771

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New Face for Jewish Advocacy
This week saw the formal announcement of the new name for the recently reorganized national advocacy structure of the Canadian Jewish community. While the acronym CIJA remains, it now stands for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The new CIJA is responsible for an integrated approach of the work previously carried out by the Canadian Jewish Congress, Canada-Israel Committee, Quebec-Israel Committee, University Outreach Committee, and Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy. The reorganization is an effort to create a more effective advocacy voice for the national community, and to better leverage the resources that were being deployed across five different organizations.

The change has not been without some degree of controversy, as reflected in recent articles in the Canadian Jewish News and the National Post. A thoughtful response to the National Post article appeared yesterday, written by Ed Morgan and Moishe Ronen. Both are past national presidents of Canadian Jewish Congress and Ronen is also a past national chair of the Canada-Israel Committee.

This change has been difficult, especially on volunteer leadership and staff of the various organizations. However, the advocacy challenges facing our national Jewish community are only growing, and the reality is our national community has limited resources available to address them. Locally we will be establishing a new local advocacy board, aligned with the new CIJA, which will be organized over the next several months.

Shalom BC Closing Operations
In light of strained financial resources in recent years, coupled with dramatic changes in demand for service and the ways in which people access information, the board of Shalom BC made a decision to close its operations in our community at the end of August. The decision follows several months of discussions between the Jewish Federation and Shalom BC leadership. Shalom BC was founded in 1989, as Shalom Vancouver, to provide information and referral services to our community.

In moving forward with this decision, the two organizations developed a framework for ensuring continued services in the areas of information and referral services and volunteer recruitment and placement. Also, the community’s Tickets to Inclusion program, which ensures access to community events for people with limited incomes, will be reorganized and relaunched soon.

Jewish Federation is deeply appreciative of the many Shalom BC volunteers and staff who provided years of dedicated service to our community. The closing of Shalom BC reflects changing times and trends, but Jewish Federation remains committed to ensuring its important functions.

Following is a joint statement from Shalom BC and Jewish Federation about the transition.

Jewish Community Centre Feeling the Love
Have you got a favourite reason why you love our Jewish Community Centre? The JCCGV has launched a contest to find out what community members love best about the organization. Check out the video.

Beach Barbecue Closes Out Summer
The BC Birthright Alumni Community (BCBAC) and Hillel Young Jewish Urbanites joined forces this past Sunday to host a barbecue at Locarno Beach. More than 120 young adults from across the Lower Mainland gathered together for a Tel Aviv-style BBQ that included Israeli food, music, matkot (paddle ball) and more. Participants caught up with old friends, schmoozed with new arrivals in town, and demonstrated that the Lower Mainland is a cool place to be young and Jewish.

The event marked the relaunch of BCBAC, which connects Birthright alumni with one another and the community. If you or someone you know is between the ages 20-39 and is interested in getting involved in the community, or has an idea for a new young adult program, please contact Noam Dolgin, NextGen program manager, at

Parashat Shoftim

This week’s parasha focuses almost entirely on the theme of justice, as the text addresses the limits of royal authority, the process for appointing judges and guidelines for their conduct. The coincidental timing of this parasha with the public launch of the new national advocacy structure provides a potent reminder to the national leadership to ensure that the social justice mission central to the historic mission of the Canadian Jewish Congress not be lost in the restructuring process. One of the fears articulated about the restructuring is that the constant flow of Israel-related issues will inevitably eclipse other important agendas. An important test of the new structure will be the degree to which it can respect the history of its predecessor organizations, and in particular strengthen the social justice agenda of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Shabbat Shalom!

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