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Sukkot is a time when we connect with the elements and the world around us. This year that has included a few days of rain, so it might not be a surprise that there is a special connection between Sukkot and the theme of water.
It rained on us a little bit yesterday when King David High School hosted our entire staff team in their sukkah. Todah rabah to Rabbi Berger for helping us complete the mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah and for giving everyone a chance to shake the lulav and etrog. To the students who made the babka: it was delicious!
Little kids and families were having a great time at Sukkot events across the Lower Mainland, too. Our PJ Library program partnered with the JCC for a celebration, and our Connect Me In initiative had a great turnout at the first in their series of Jewish Toddlers Circle Times on the North Shore, where they read the PJ Library book, Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast. Similar Connect Me In programs will be taking place once a month on the North Shore.
When we spend time in a sukkah its temporary nature gives us an added appreciation for the safe, stable homes many of us enjoy and perhaps even take for granted too often.
Cue some great news from our partner, Tikva Housing. They were recently selected by the City of Vancouver to manage 37 new affordable rental units in partnership with YWCA Metro Vancouver and the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia. It is a testament to the trust and respect that Tikva has built with stakeholders across the Lower Mainland, and to the very generous support of the Diamond family, that these new units will soon benefit our community. These new studios and one-bedroom units at Yew and King Edward will increase Tikva’s ability to provide affordable housing for a broader range of individuals and families in our community.
Tikva is a perfect example not just of the effective partnerships we have developed with other community organizations, but of the impact of Jewish Federation’s ability to plan strategically to address community needs. We are very proud to have been there from the start with Tikva. Our strategic planning role and our ability 15 years ago to look ahead and to see the need for affordable housing was an important factor in Tikva’s creation.
You can be proud, too, because your Annual Campaign gift supports their work and the work of more than 35 other partner organizations. These partnerships are of crucial importance, because when someone in our community needs help they need it from multiple organizations. A single parent who applies for housing from Tikva may also need employment counselling and emergency grocery vouchers from Jewish Family Services, tuition assistance for their children’s Jewish education, a subsidy for programs at the JCC, and more.
As we left the sukkah yesterday and headed back to the office to keep working on the Annual Campaign, Rabbi Berger said, “We’re counting on you.”
It’s no exaggeration. Thousands of people who rely on the programs and services delivered by our partners – including the students Rabbi Berger teaches at King David – are counting on us to make this campaign a success.
They are counting on you, too.
It takes everyone in our community to take care of our community. If you haven’t yet made your gift, you can donate here. If you have a canvasser who has been calling or emailing you, please make that extra effort to connect with them and get your gift in.
By the time you read next week’s message the federal election results will be in, and we want to thank everyone who packed Temple Sholom last Thursday as CBC’s Stephen Quinn moderated a pre-election townhall during which Vancouver – Granville riding candidates addressed questions submitted by members of the public. Kol hakavod to the co-organizers: Temple Sholom, Canadian Memorial United Church, St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church, St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, Unitarian Church of Vancouver, Congregation Beth Israel, the Jewish Seniors Alliance, and our advocacy agent the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Todah rabah to the team at Temple Sholom for hosting, and to the organizing partners for providing an opportunity for engagement in the election process.
We would also like to thank everyone who helped make Project Isaiah a success, including the 100 volunteers who sorted and packed. Our partner, Jewish Family Services collected 1,600 bags of food that will be distributed through the Jewish Food Bank. Our staff team was proud to have contributed. Kol hakavod to all involved!
Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.
Ezra S. Shanken
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver
P.S. Help us plan ahead to meet the needs of our ageing population by filling out this short survey. We need everyone’s input not just our older community members.