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Elaine Goldstine

Adam Levine


Sept 1, 2017

Dear Community Members,

With apologies to William Shakespeare, in light of the events around the world and in the US, this summer is our summer of discontent. The horrific events in Charlottesville, Barcelona, Winnipeg, and elsewhere show that divisiveness is a malignant force in any civilized society.

One of the best ways to conquer divisiveness is with inclusiveness. Inclusiveness requires recognition and respect for all. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg through the agencies it supports, the partnerships it participates in, like "Operation Ezra", and the programs it engages in, facilitates diversity, empowerment, and all that is good in the Jewish and general community. Commitment means committing to continue to build a community that respects all, includes all and never forgets its roots.

Programs like the visit by Israel Ambassador Nimrod Barkan brought together both community leaders and politicians from provincial and federal parties. They were briefed on such topics as the situation in the Middle East and innovation in Israel.

In addition to all of our important work to strengthen the local Jewish community, your contribution to Winnipeg Federation supports the work of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), our national advocacy partner.

CIJA works to improve the quality of Jewish life in Canada by advancing the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community. CIJA combats antisemitism and all forms of discrimination, advocates for social justice policies, and builds support for the people of Israel. CIJA’s strategic focus is on building relationships with leaders in government, media, academia, civil society and other faith and ethnic communities, to ensure we have allies in these vital causes. Here in Winnipeg, CIJA’s local partner council is ably chaired by Joel Lazer, and plays a central role in connecting national advocacy work to local issues and initiatives.

Here are five ways CIJA is strengthening our community through advocacy.

  1. CIJA gives students the skills and confidence they need to build support for Israel – and fight boycotts of Israel – on campus. This includes program funding and training for Winnipeg students, in partnership with our local Hillel.
  2. Every year, CIJA brings hundreds of non-Jewish leaders on missions to Israel – including MPs, political officials, journalists, university presidents, and student leaders from across Canada. This has included a number of key local leaders, including Manitoba MPs James Bezan, Kevin Lamoureux, and Ted Falk, MLAs Cindy Lamoureux and Heather Stefanson, and non-Jewish student leaders based at local universities.
  3. CIJA works to expose and fight antisemitism in Canada, including by mobilizing non-Jewish leaders to speak out and using legal tools – such as court challenges and criminal complaints – to stop antisemites from peddling hate.
  4. CIJA mobilizes thousands of community members to take action in response to breaking issues – including acts of antisemitism, assaults on Israel, or social justice priorities – through its top-of-the-line “action alert” email system, which enables our community to quickly send a strong, united message to Canada’s elected officials.
  5. CIJA makes our community safer by conducting dozens of on-site security audits of Jewish facilities, such as synagogues, day schools, and JCCs, providing expert advice on how to improve security measures and assisting Jewish institutions as they respond to security incidents. In addition to providing security audits of several local institutions, CIJA provided help for Winnipeg Federation in our successful application for a federal security grant. Thanks in part to CIJA’s support, the Asper Jewish Community Campus will receive $100,000 in federal government funding for essential security upgrades that will make our community safer.

Now more than ever as we enter into the Combined Jewish Appeal Annual Campaign, we need your support to continue the good works of our agencies to build a better community for us all. Help us turn the summer of discontent into a season of contentment and commitment and lets replace ALT.

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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.