A message from Lisa Miller, Jewish Federation of Edmonton Board Member

By Lisa Miller

(Edmonton) – Having lived in Edmonton my entire life, I recall wonderful memories in community centres that go back to the old Talmud Torah site and the Hillcrest Jewish Community Centre (JCC). It’s where friendships were formed, newcomers welcomed, and was teeming with activities and programs.

I have always believed in the importance of youth and teen programming, which is why I joined the board nine years ago. We decided to close the JCC with the promise to the community that we would find a new home and come back to the community to approve any new option.

The Jewish Federation of Edmonton has invested the proceeds, which has Canada Revenue Agency’s approval for the sole purpose of a new JCC. Previous rounds of consultations and negotiations culminated in an option at Talmud Torah that did not come to fruition. For the volunteers and leaders who spent copious hours on this process, it was decided to take a step back—and then COVID-19 was upon us. We continuously hear the clarion call for a new community space, a central address for “Jewish Edmonton” that meets the needs of a secular gathering space. While hearing from the community to develop our 2022-25 strategic plan, it was also a prominent issue.

I am proud of the diligent process the Facilities and Space Committee took in seeking a solution and recommendation to the board. The former Boy Scouts building on 109 Avenue and 142 Street is an exciting opportunity for our community. It is down to studs, so we have an open slate to work with when we enter the design phase. A bright and airy multipurpose room can easily be used for programming from movie nights, teen conventions, speaker series, drop-in play time and more. Jewish teens and young adults are facing increasing antisemitism, and having a space to strengthen their identity and connection is becoming increasingly important.

A space to welcome newcomers, connect the community and to even possibly have a Holocaust museum and resource centre are all possible with this new building. While the next phase will involve a design team and tendered process, we first have to decide that we want to have a community centre. Please come out on December 6 to have your say and to place your vote on this building.

Editor’s note: The Annual General Meeting and General Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton will be held on Wednesday December 6 at 7 pm at Beth Shalom Synagogue. Among other things on the agenda is a vote to approve and acquire land and a building for the purpose of a Jewish Community Centre. 

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