by Lisa Libin, Diana Kalef, and Adam Silver
(Calgary) – In the coming weeks, we will experience Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah. This calendar year, all of our fall chagim (holidays) are over on October 18. In addition, the new school year will be well underway. Many of us will be incredibly busy with family, work, and life while we balance our continued re-engagement in community events and programs.
It has been encouraging of late to see Jewish Calgary waking from its slumber, coming back to life. From Halpern Akiva Academy and The Calgary Jewish Academy to the Paperny Family JCC and our community’s synagogues and other organizations – we are seeing more enrolment, more participation, and the re-emergence of physical, face-to-face community. We are also seeing continuing efforts to provide hybrid and virtual opportunities, with organizations being even more accessible and leveraging the very best talent and expertise around the world.
Much of this amazing energy is powered, in part, by our community’s annual UJA campaign. For decades, generous and caring community members have contributed millions of dollars to ensure our children and grandchildren are educated and cared for, older adults have a place and programs to reduce their isolation, those with special needs are supported, Israel is celebrated, the memories and lessons of the Holocaust and the stories of our brave survivors are preserved, and the safety and security of Jewish Calgary remains strong, and so much more!
As we continue to aspire to be one of the best Jewish communities in the world, we are motivated to reflect on what that means in general, and what that means to each and every one of us.
This year’s UJA campaign theme is MY Jewish Calgary, and it is an ode to, and a recognition that we are all pillars of this community. In our Case for Giving, we ask the question – What does Jewish Calgary mean to you? The answer is simple for most of us – Jewish Calgary is the place where we grew up in a warm embrace of family and friends or where we were welcomed as newcomers; it is a safe place where we take care of our most vulnerable and ensure there are portals of entry for all ages, stages, and abilities; it is a community that has dayschools, camps and an open door to the ‘living room’ of our community where we can gather with others.
We hope you will join us in pondering the question – What does Jewish Calgary mean to you? When you picture your answer, we are certain you will realize just how amazing our community is, and we know you will choose to meaningfully support this year’s UJA campaign to secure the Jewish Calgary you envision.
The late Rabbi Jonathan Saks reminds us that we are all in this together and that we all matter; “The beauty of a kehillah, is that when it is driven by constructive purpose, it gathers together the distinct and separate contributions of many individuals, so that each can say, ‘I helped to make this.’”
From our families to yours, we wish you a sweet, healthy, and happy new year – Shana Tova U’Metuka!