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Message from Elaine Goldstine, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg May 2019:

by Elaine Goldstine, posted here May 6,2019

Dear Community Members, 

April was a very busy month for us at Federation. As you likely saw in the media, there were issues that affected our community, requiring us to provide statements and react to evolving and tense situations.
As the representative body of Winnipeg’s Jewish community, I wanted to explain how and why we respond the way we do.
There are some in our community who have the impression that we are not taking action on issues or events of importance. As an organization with many ties and relationships with the general community, it is important that we act diplomatically in order to achieve what we believe is in the best interest of our community. Sometimes, it is necessary to take action behind the scenes.
We are careful not to bully or antagonize – we rationally discuss, share and educate others, based in fact. We are a community with diverse ideas and a variety of perspectives on specific issues, and there are many who are passionate about their viewpoints.
It is important to understand that no decision or stance that we take publicly is done without conducting careful research, hearing alternative perspectives, and thoughtfully weighing all options. Some decisions are easier than others – for example, we will continue to take action against those who make public, on-record statements that are antisemitic who appear in our community.
A clear example of this happened recently, when we heard about the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg’s (SPCW) and the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute’s (CMWI) intention to have Linda Sarsour speak at an event. Behind the scenes, we had ongoing correspondence with the SPCW and CMWI and met with them to explain our perspective, and why her appearance was inappropriate.
On matters of police involvement or ongoing investigations, we are careful not to issue statements that are speculative. With regard to the recent incident involving Bermax Caffé, we were informed by the police that they would be making a statement. According to their official statement, we were able to update you on the results of the investigation.
As the voice of the Jewish community, we wanted to clarify our role and assure the community that its needs and best interests are at the forefront with each and every action we take.
Please join us on May 7 for our annual community Yom Hazikaron Ceremony as we remember fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror. It is in keeping with Jewish tradition that we pause to remember the fallen before launching into joyous celebration as we mark Israel’s 71st year as an independent state at our community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut event. On May 9, join us for Israeli food, activities, music, followed by a street party with dancing and fireworks. I am pleased to announce that our new Jewish community lion cub mascotLior (Hebrew for “my light”), will make its first appearance that evening. Congratulations to Lauren C., Rachelanne K., Samantha P., and Mira Ronit S., who are the joint winners of our mascot naming contest!
Join us as we celebrate the many contributions of volunteers in our community at the annual Kavod Evening, on Thursday, May 16 at Congregation Etz Chayim. We look forward to recognizing the dedication and commitment of all these amazing volunteers.  If you would like to congratulate one of this year's honourees, please consider sending them a tribute card.
I look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Elaine Goldstine
Chief Executive Officer
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