by Adam Silver
(Calgary) – Preparation, dedication, and final outcomes. Many things in our community seem to appear out of thin air, or are often so entrenched of our community fabric, we just assume they have always been and will always be. The truth
is that Jewish Calgary is built on the unwavering dedication and talents of many, many volunteers who, mostly behind the scenes, give countless hours and significant social capital. Programs, services, and the fundraising successes in our community are only possible due to the value we place on those things in ensuring a Jewish future, and the hard and strategic work that goes into bringing them from concept to reality. This dedication is supported and underpinned by an equally committed pool of Jewish communal professionals.
In Judaism, we embrace the key concept of preparation. Not in the sense of contingency, but more so in terms of cultivation and the mindful approach to signature days and events. For example, leading into the Yamim Noraim, the High Holidays, we prepare ourselves for the entire preceding month of Elul by sounding the shofar to awaken us from our slumber, and we reflect on all that has occurred over the year, so that we are able to acknowledge our transgressions and ask for forgiveness. In another example, as young adults prepare to join the adult community as B’nai Mitzvah, they learn about their Torah portion, conduct social action projects, consider their place in the Jewish and broader world, and embrace the” “responsibilities of the mitzvot, commandments. Even in our daily prayer services, we begin each day with Pesukei D’Zimra, prayers that serve as a warm-up for the full Shacharit (morning) service.
Lately, I have been thinking about the concept of preparation along two lines. The first line includes the unseen work, the mistakes made and corrected, and the grace with which the final product, event, or service is shared. The second line is our inclination to be intentional and mindful in our efforts, our way of approaching a task, a special day, or a desired outcome with focus and energy. When these two lines of preparation intersect, we arguably experience the most successful, most gratifying outcomes. We cultivate the conditions for success by investing the necessary work to accomplish the goal, and we do so with an appreciation for not only the outcome, but the process and journey along the way.
Jewish Calgary continued to benefit from the preparation and dedication of many volunteers and Jewish communal professionals throughout this last year, ultimately ensuring the strength, safety, and future of our community. I have been blessed to work with and be supported by an outstanding volunteer board of directors, and a remarkable extended staff team. In particular, I would like to express deep gratitude to Jared Shore and Jordan Balaban who, as co-presidents of the board, provided infinite hours and exceptional talent for the betterment of our community. As they complete their term as co-presidents, I am confident we will continue to benefit from their leadership, as well as all of the foundational groundwork they put into place during their tenure. On behalf of our community, I wish to thank you and acknowledge the incredible partnership you both provided during two very challenging and unique years. You have shared a mantra of being prepared, being dedicated, and striving for excellence. You have also been present in the moment and focused on the process of the journey.
As we approach the summer, I would like to acknowledge all of our community’s volunteers and professionals for the critical and generous work they do. It is because of them that Jewish Calgary has a bright and bold future. Todah Rabah – Thank You!
Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable summer,
CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation