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Elaine Goldstine, CEO

CEO Message April 2018 - Jewish Federation of Winnipeg

April 1, 2018

Dear Community Members,

On behalf of the Board and Staff of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, we wish you and all of your loved ones a Happy Pesach.

We are thrilled to share some wonderful news with you. We have raised $5,766,400, surpassing our goal for the 2017 CJA Campaign!

We want to thank you for your commitment to our community. It is because of your generosity that our partner agencies are able to carry on their important work for the benefit of us all.

Last month, we re-launched our Leave More Than Memories (LMTM) endowment campaign with the 80 for 80 Challenge. Federation is 80 years old as an organization and our goal is to have 80 individuals establish new funds, or to increase their existing fund by increments of $80. An endowment will sustain the community forever. You can open a fund for ONLY $100.

In March, the Federation, along with Jewish Child and Family Service and the Rady Jewish Community Centre, held a diversity and inclusion conferencewhich was sponsored by the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. Over 100 individuals participated. You may view a report here.

In April we will honour our Holocaust Survivors and pay respect to the over 6 million who were murdered during the Holocaust. The Annual Community Holocaust service takes place at Congregation Etz Chayim on Sunday, April 8th at 11 am. We welcome all members of the community and encourage March of the Living Alumni to attend as we mark the March’s 30th anniversary. Wear your Blue Jackets!  On Thursday, April 12th at noon we will hold the Public Yom HaShoah service at the Manitoba Legislature (inclement weather location inside the MB Legislature). Click here for the full Shoah week’s schedule of programs.

Operation Ezra continues its important? work in our community. The 9th family of Yazidi refugees was welcomed by a large crowd at the Winnipeg airport earlier this month and the 10th family is now due to arrive on Thursday, March 29th. This will bring the total number of refugees rescued by Operation Ezra to 55 individuals. The integration process is not easy, but the new arrivals are adjusting very well with children succeeding in school, adults enrolled in English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes and many of the new arrivals already working in a variety of jobs throughout the city. Our Winnipeg Jewish Community led project is also actively involved in assisting another 100+ Government of Canada sponsored Yazidi refugees. It is through the generosity of many donors and the active participation of dedicated ?volunteers, that so much has been? accomplished. To date, Operation Ezra remains the only multi faith community project of its kind in North America.

The Jewish Agency board passed a resolution calling on the Israeli Government to grant legal status to some 500 young African migrants who arrived in Israel years ago as unaccompanied minors and were integrated in the education system of youth villages operated by The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Education. The resolution also called on the Government to ensure a transparent asylum application process. 

Canada has been one of the only countries to take in some of the African asylum seekers due to its sponsorship agreement program.  The situation with the African migrants is not simple nor monolithic. The resolution therefore, focuses on the young Africans who arrived in Israel years ago and have been integrated into school and so on.

HOLD THE DATE: Gabi Ashkenazi will be in Winnipeg June 7th (7:30 pm at Congregation Shaarey Zedek) to speak to the community. Mr. Ashkenazi is the Former Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who retired in 2011 after an illustrious military career that spanned nearly 40 years. He is also former CEO of Israel’s Ministry of Defense and serves as the Chairman of the Rashi Philanthropic Foundation. The Rashi Philanthropic Foundation, under Mr. Ashkenazi’s leadership, became a leader in advancing and nurturing the talents of youth in Israel’s periphery in order expand the pool of candidates to serve in the IDF’s elite technological units, particularly in the Intelligence Corps, and eventually to lead the high-tech industry in Israel.

In response to the Community Conversations of last year, new committees are forming for action planning. The first group in Education and Engagement is looking for volunteers. Click here to get involved. Watch for more committees forming in April through June that will need volunteers to work on strengthening our community by reducing isolation of seniors, developing continuity across youth programs and filling gaps, improving inclusion for the benefit of all, and more!

Last December, we coordinated a holiday blood drive in partnership with Canadian Blood Services (CBS). It was truly a community initiative. As a result of our community's efforts, the Manitoba CBS was able to meet its December quota to service the needs of the community. On February 22nd, the Federation, on behalf of the Jewish community, was honoured at the  CBS Partners for Life breakfast for this initiative. We hope to make this an annual event. 

Thank you to all volunteers.

Please join us for these upcoming events and programs:

Wishing you a Happy Pesach!

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.