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Fresh starts are a wonderful thing. They are full of opportunity and possibility. As Jews living in the modern world, we get more than our fair share of them – from Rosh Hashanah and Tu b’Shvat, to January 1st, to the start of the school year each September.
Back-to-school has been the focus for parents, students and teachers this week, and the community is abuzz. On a personal note, Rachel and I now have all three of our boys in the JCC daycare, just as I was in daycare at the JCC where my dad worked when I was their age. It’s like we’ve come full circle, and we love having all the Shanken “men” under one roof.
Even if you don’t have children in school or young adults in university, you’ve surely noticed the increased traffic on your morning commute. It’s always a sure sign that school is back in session.
For many of us, and for the generations before us, providing our children with a Jewish education was always an option, because there was always a school, synagogue or other organization that offered it.
But the way I see it, the fact that we have so many high-quality options to give our children a Jewish education is nothing short of a miracle engineered by community.
From day schools, supplementary schools, and Jewish educational programs, to the educators, clergy, donors, and parent volunteers, to organizations like ours and others— everyone comes together to make these opportunities possible. The result is a beautiful tapestry of choices that appeal to a broad cross-section of families in our diverse community. We would like to thank everyone who has helped make Jewish schools and educational programs a reality.
We would also like to announce a new program coming up. In 2018 we surveyed parents whose Jewish children attend public school. Many of them expressed interest in having a Jewish after-school program in a public school setting.
In response, we’re about to launch JSprouts, a Jewish after-school program for children in kindergarten through grade three that will be offered once a week. Each session will be facilitated by Hannah Yerington, our community outreach worker, with participation from Jewish educators and rabbis from across our community. The focus will be on arts and crafts, cooking, and music, with sessions designed around Jewish holidays.
While the program officially begins in January, you can try it out for free starting next month. All of the free sessions this fall run 4:30-5:30 p.m. with arrival starting at 4:00 p.m.
To sign your child up, enter your contact information at jewishvancouver.com/jsprouts-free. You will receive a follow-up communication with detailed instructions on how to register for the sessions you want. If you have questions, please email Hannah at email@example.com. Here’s the information about the free sessions this fall:
- Little Mountain Neighbourhood House: October 15, November 19 and December 17
- Croatian Cultural Centre: October 16, November 20 and December 18
Look for more information next week in our newsletter e.Yachad. Sign up for the newsletter here, if you don’t already receive it.
When you support Jewish education and the organizations that make Jewish educational programs possible, you’re perpetuating the value of l’dor v’dor. The continuity of our values from one generation to the next doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through concerted efforts to make the world a better place because our children are in it.
Students aspire to do great things, and their accomplishments nurture their sense of self. This includes their Jewish identity. So whatever they do, and wherever they go, they will carry their Judaism with them – just as you and I do.
If you don’t yet have plans on Monday night, come "do Jewish" with us. FEDtalks tickets are sold-out online, but we have a few left at the office. Just email Giselle Hausman or call her at 604.638.7281. There’s nothing like celebrating community with hundreds of community members all around you. And, of course, it’s our official kick off to the Annual Campaign. It’s always a great night.
If you really can’t be there in person, we understand – but you aren’t entirely off the hook! You can watch the event live on the Jewish Federation or the Axis Vancouver Facebook pages. Take in as much, or as little of the event as you want.
Last Friday, we asked you to “answer the call” – your canvasser’s call. Have they called you yet? If not, they will soon. When they do, please make the best gift you can. If you’ve already made your gift, we thank you. If you haven't, now is a great time. Click here to make a secure donation on our website.
Ezra S. Shanken
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver