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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

November 30, 2017 | 12 Kislev 5778 | Shabbat Candlelighting at 3:56 p.m.

This week’s email is a special message from our campaign chair, Alex Cristall.

“What I have given away is truly the only thing I can ever own.” – Rabbi Joseph Telushkin paraphrasing Isaac Abarbanel.

Acts of tzedakah and kindness are the only things that can never be taken away from us. That message, delivered by Rabbi Telushkin at FEDtalks, changed the way I think about tzedakah and has stayed with me throughout the campaign. To be honest, I expect it will guide the way I think about my commitment to the community for many years to come.

When Ezra offered to turn this space over to me to talk about the campaign, the message I most wanted to share was Rabbi Telushkin’s (click here to see the 3 minute segment). You could have heard a pin drop in the room when he spoke – except for when he made us laugh – and now we can share with you the full video.

To help our community, we need our community. Every single one of us.

You might be wondering why you’re receiving the Shabbat Message on a Thursday. We are in the final stages of reaching out for support, and today is the last official day our community is focused solely on the campaign.

Many of you have already made your gifts, and for that we are truly grateful.

If you have not, please give today. Every gift makes a difference, and we really do rely on every member of our community to give. When you do, you’ll address the full range of needs across our community.  

If you missed giving to the campaign last year, or if this is your first gift, I will add an additional $250 to your gift, no matter how much you give. Please don’t leave this $250 on the table.

At its heart, Jewish life is all about community. We come together in minyans to pray, around family tables for Shabbat dinners, and in larger groups to celebrate mitzvahs and show solidarity and resilience in the face of tragedy or threat.

But today, half our Jewish population lives outside of Vancouver – from Squamish to Maple Ridge to Surrey and beyond – with limited access to community life.

We can’t afford to lose them, which is why we now offer Jewish programs across the Lower Mainland through our Connect Me In initiative. We’re also helping our partners extend their reach, so they too can connect the Jewish populations of these cities.

Within the city of Vancouver, as the cost of living soars, the cost of living a Jewish life soars even higher, forcing many to make gut-wrenching decisions about maintaining community connections.

We can’t afford to lose them either, and your campaign gifts help keep the cost of Jewish programs low and provide subsidies that make community life more affordable for everyone. We want to make it easier to live a Jewish life.

Our partnership region in Northern Israel is an extension of our community, and the services we support there are life-changing. One example among many: we fund a program that brings together Israeli children with special needs and their able-bodied peers to build lasting friendships.

Wherever you live, whatever your means, each of us needs to be connected to our community, and to help make it stronger. Together, we can keep our community connected.

Shabbat shalom,

Alex Cristall
Chair, 2017 Federation Annual Campaign