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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

September 20, 2017 | 29 Elul Av 5777 | Holiday Candlelighting at 6:56 p.m.

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All month we’ve been reflecting back on the year that was and taking stock. Deborah Lyons, Canada’s ambassador to Israel has been doing the same, and I would like to share her Rosh Hashanah message with you to give you a look back at the Canada-Israel relationship this year.

With the change in the weather it really feels like a time of transition, and that was certainly the case for the community members who moved into the new units at the Diamond Residences in the Storey’s Complex in Richmond, and those who are about to move in. Thanks to the generosity of the Diamond Foundation, Tikva Housing Society now owns 18 (Chai!) units that are being rented at below market rates to people in our community for whom stable, safe housing was previously unpredictable and unaffordable, at best. Click here for photos.

It’s hard to think of a more meaningful way to start the New Year than in a safe, stable home of one’s own. One elderly resident hadn’t had her own place for years. She has just moved into a beautiful, brand new studio unit. When they told her this would be her home, it was a really emotional moment, with many tears of joy. There are four other Jewish seniors who just moved into units, each with an equally powerful story of their own.

One of the most wonderful aspects of these units is that some have three bedrooms, which are just incredibly hard to find and typically command very high prices. What a difference this makes for families, some of which are headed by a single parent. It really means the world to them to be able to give their children a space of their own. For some children, this is the first time they’ve ever had that. Now multiply that good feeling by 22, because that is how many children will make their homes here with their families.

I’ve written here quite often about how hard it is for families in regional communities to make Jewish connections. For one family who just moved in, the move to Richmond means they will be finally be able to attend Shabbat services and be close to a Jewish community and their family. What a beautiful way to end one year and start another.

Tikva Housing partnered with four other non-profit agencies and the City of Richmond to build these units, and they worked with community agencies such as Jewish Family Services Agency (JFSA) to find community members who needed them. Kol hakavod to Tikva Housing for spearheading this important project – and to you, because your donations help make their work possible.

The campaign provides a steady, reliable source of funding to dozens of organizations that help thousands of people. To keep the campaign strong, we need everyone to play their part. If you’ve already made your gift, I thank you. If you have not yet done so, click here and donate today. For those of you who have never made a gift or missed last year’s campaign, this is the year to give. When you do, an extra $250 will be donated to the campaign. How can you pass that up?

At Rosh Hashanah it is customary to offer apologies to those we have wronged. Try as we might, we don’t always get it right. That goes both for our actions and our apologies. In that spirit, I would like to apologize to you for the things that we have done that were not quite right. This New Year I hope you will recommit yourself to working with us on the things we do get right.

And on that note, I invite you to join us and other Jewish community organizations on Sunday as we participate in the Walk for Reconciliation. It’s a wonderful way to begin the New Year.

Shana tova u’metukah and Shabbat shalom.

Ezra S. Shanken
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver