A message from Adam Silver, CEO Calgary Jewish Federation

Calgary Jewish Federation CEO Adam Silver

by Adam Silver 

(Calgary) – As we approach the end of 2023, many of us set our sights on 2024 even with a few weeks remaining in the year. On the one hand, we try to draw out the last few weeks of December, and on the other, we aim to turn our calendars to January 1, 2024, so that we reboot, course correct, and start anew. Often, in line with a new start, many of us will work on a list of resolutions for the new year – habits or activities we promise to change, refrain from, or begin despite having not engaged in them previously, or at least not consistently.

For some of us, the fall is a time during which we not only celebrate our Jewish new year and reboot in the form of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, but we note that we have limited time in the secular year to fulfill last year’s resolutions. During the last third of 2023 in particular, we experienced the horrific acts of Hamas on October 7, a point in history which became the focus of much of, if not all of, our energy, worry, and actions. Since that day, we have experienced spikes in antisemitic verbal and physical attacks worldwide. We have experienced situations in which friends and allies have been eerily quiet, have turned their backs on us, or have even joined in the attacks on Jews and on Israel. We have, no doubt, felt the vitriol and hate of those whom we don’t know, those who wait for the demise of the Jewish people, and those who actively seek to do us harm.

During these dark days, I have continued to see members of our community hide various parts of their Jewish identities. It is, in fact, understandable that out of fear people might remove their mezuzot, hide their Magen David necklaces, and kept their Chanukiot away from their window this Chanukah to protect themselves or not draw attention to their families. I have also seen many members of our community place mezuzot in places previously void of them like their offices, proudly wear symbolic jewelry more frequently and overtly, don dog tags and ribbons to support the safe return of the hostages, and simply show up – consistently and often.

Remaining sensitive to members of our community who are unsettled, fearful, and in need of support, I would like to suggest that our resolutions for 2024 should focus on doing MORE of what we are doing, and less on changing current or beginning new habits. That is, in the face of fear and concern in a very dark world right now, I hope we will promise ourselves to continue to participate in Jewish Calgary even more this year, not less. I hope we will live proud Jewish lives, attend programs and events, and consistently gather in record numbers as a community. It would be easy for us to note all of our missteps and things we wish to change for the coming year. Instead, I hope we will find the courage and pride to stand in the face of growing antisemitism and sickening rhetoric, and leverage the response we have found over the last few months to stand tall, stand proud, and stand together. I hope you will join me in 2024 to focus less on what we shouldn’t be doing, and more on continuing to do what has been in us all along.

Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable end to 2023 and a meaningful and committed start to 2024.


Adam Silver is CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation.

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