Amidst difficult times it’s important to opt-in to your Jewish community

by Adam Silver

(AJNews) – This summer has been anything but ordinary. COVID-19 and its impacts continue to challenge us to work and play differently; to find and keep a positive outlook in very uncertain times. While there is cautious optimism for a slow and steady return to some semblance of normalcy, we all recognize that we cannot predict the future. Therefore, we must continue to be flexible and realistic with our expectations. We are operating in a world without a prescribed playbook, one in which we must collectively and collaboratively navigate challenges and find opportunities in those challenges.

From the outset, our community’s agencies and their volunteer and professional leadership responded with innovation, strength, and compassion. They immediately came together to collaborate, share information and best practices, and have continued demonstrating care for one another, as well as our community. Now that we have seemingly reached a levelling period during which the initial shock of the pandemic has worn off, the ongoing drain from the   remaining uncertainty and existing challenges continues to sap our energy and causes us to triple-think every decision we make.

While I understand that these times have been, and continue to be, difficult for many of us, I hope one decision we all make is to OPT-IN to Jewish Calgary. In the face of adversity, there is no better time for us to step up and be a dugma (shining example) to our children, grandchildren, friends, and others in our community. Opting-in means not only financially, but equally as participants.  I have firsthand experience with the amazing efforts being made by our synagogues, schools, and agencies. They are providing quality, Jewish programming and services, working to keep us all connected – even if it means sending greetings through our phones and computer monitors.

These organizations recognize that what they’re able to offer is different than what our community is accustomed to. Yet, for months now, our agencies and leaders have worked tirelessly to provide points of Jewish contact while working equally diligently to ensure our community is viable for the future. This has not been an easy balance or task, and will certainly remain a priority challenge for months, if not years, to come.

Our community cannot abandon these agencies, nor can we abandon hope for a bright and meaningful future. Jewish Calgary has been the envy of many others for decades and should remain a glowing example of what a small but mighty Jewish community can be. I implore all of us to be patient, grateful, generous, and active with, and in, our community.

Keep  your synagogue membership, maintain your enrolment in our schools, give to the causes that desperately rely on your support, lean on the services and programs that keep you  connected  and  whole, join virtual  programming and sessions  despite  your  Zoom  fatigue, and most importantly, dream with me of a bright and meaningful future for Jewish Calgary. The seeds we continue to sow and care for today are the only things that will ensure there is Jewish life in Calgary in the future. For all of us: our children, grandchildren, and those who will follow, it is our communal responsibility and privilege to OPT-IN. Wishing you an enjoyable and safe rest of the summer.


Adam Silver is CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation.

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