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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

September 8, 2017 | 17 Elul Av 5777 | Shabbat Candlelighting at 7:21 p.m.

This message has 721 words and will take about 4 minutes to read.

It was the first full week of the campaign, and it was packed full of energy. We met with a number of our canvassers, and let me just say that they are the heart and soul of this campaign. Nearly 300 community members volunteer as canvassers, and they are the ones out there making calls and securing commitments.

It used to be that we used our phones to call someone and make plans to meet. Now we barely even use our phone to make calls. We use them for a zillion messaging apps rather than calling and talking to someone. We probably make less room in our busy lives to meet people in person than we did a generation ago.

It’s not always easy to make a phone call and talk about community needs, and it can be even more challenging to get an in-person meeting. But our canvassers take the time out of their busy schedules to do this because they know that thousands of community members are relying on them and on the donors they connect with.

When they reach out to you, please answer the call, and I mean that literally and figuratively. If you can meet with them, even better. Because that’s where you can actually have a meaningful conversation about community, tell them what’s important to you, and find a way to make a real difference.

Canvassers aren’t in it for themselves. They genuinely want to help you do a mitzvah.

That mitzvah, of course, is giving tzedakah, and it’s what Rabbi Joseph Telushkin will present on at FEDtalks. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Rabbi Telushkin on FEDtalks this year. He is as down to earth and kind as he is learned. He has a wonderful warmth about him, and I have a feeling that his presentation will be polished and hamish at the same time. He’s also got a great sense of humour. In fact, he’s even written a book about Jewish humour and you can get a sense of his style of humour in this video.

Rabbi Telushkin is one of the most widely respected Jewish figures of our time, and Talk Magazine named him one of the top 50 speakers in the US. What a perfect combination for FEDtalks. We have a handful of tickets left on the first floor of the Chan Centre, so now is the time to click and buy if you haven’t already. In addition to the inspiring program that evening, it’s a great way to connect with community as summer draws to a close and we begin to think about the New Year.    

One of our other FEDtalks speakers, Eric Fingerhut, CEO of Hillel International, will surely address one of the big issues they’ve been front and centre on – BDS. With students just back to school on campuses across the country, and with our event taking place on a university campus, it’s a timely part of the conversation.

Our advocacy partner the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, is front and centre on BDS, too. Just this week, they launched an initiative that calls out Roger Waters, the rock musician obsessed with boycotting Israelis, and who is about to start a cross-Canada tour. Waters promotes vile discrimination against millions of people simply because of their citizenship. We must speak out against his bigoted campaign. Watch their video exposing Waters and then click here add your name to send Roger Waters a clear message: Antisemitism, bigotry, and hatred are not welcome in Canada.

Your campaign gift supports the important work of dozens of partner agencies, including Hillel and CIJA. It also supports outreach programs like PJ Library that offer ways for families across the Lower Mainland to connect. I enjoy bringing you news in this message of our programs outside of Vancouver, and I’m happy to say that PJ Library has two wonderful family programs coming up. The first is Rosh Hashanah at the Farm in partnership with Beth Tikvah in Richmond this Sunday. The second is Sticky Shabbat at the Honeybee Centre in Surrey on September 15th with our Connect Me In initiative and the Jewish Community Centre. Both are wonderful ways to build community connections and engage your children in Jewish traditions in new and fun ways.

Shabbat Shalom.

Ezra S. Shanken
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver