Calgary Community Update: Friday December 8

by Lisa Libin and Adam Silver

(Calgary) – We have had quite a week! The amount of energy and support we are seeing in the community is truly inspiring. We continue to raise awareness of and stand in solidarity with Israel, the hostages, and all those impacted by the current conflict. We are standing up to hate and antisemitism, while not letting it blot out our active Jewish lives. We are continuing to shine the light in the current unbearable darkness.

Some key highlights from the last few weeks:

  • A full house participated in a session debrief of Antisemitism: Face It, Fight It with conference participants sharing their experiences and providing tools. Roundtable discussions provided an opportunity for community members to discuss their experiences.
  • Several Calgary and Edmonton Federation and CIJA staff and board members participated in a productive advocacy day at the Alberta Legislature capped off by a concluding wine and cheese event. Meetings were held with the Ministers of Advanced Education, Education, Public Safety, and Seniors, Community and Social Services, as well as the Critics for Anti-Racism and Diversity, and Education. We are pleased that since those meetings, Public Safety introduced enhancements to the Alberta Security Infrastructure Program grant, enabling our community agencies to receive higher levels of support for security. We have several follow-up meetings scheduled with the other Ministers to continue advancing our priorities.
  • Engagement with all levels of law enforcement continues, including direct contact with Hate Crimes, Diversity, and the Chief of Police.
  • Leading up to Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s decision to withdraw from participating in this year’s Community Menorah Candle Lighting, we immediately jumped into action in partnership with Rabbi Menachem Matusof and his team. Following the mayor’s decision, we continued to work with Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta to promote the event, recruit politicians and the broader community, and provide support and assistance. We sent a formal response to the mayor’s office and are waiting for her reply. We also addressed media inquiries and safety concerns. We were very pleased that our community and allies attended the event in record numbers of more than 1,200 people.

Our community continues to shine in the face of darkness. We will confront the hate and challenges together, and celebrate Chanukah together. Please be proud and attend as many Chanukah events as you can this weekend and coming week!

As we light our menorahs, let’s think of the thousands of Israelis who will not be celebrating Chanukah together – those murdered, kidnapped, wounded, or displaced. We continue to wish comfort and light to their families and keep them in our minds and hearts.

Wishing you and yours a Chag Chanukah Sameach.

Lisa Libin is President and Adam Silver is CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation.

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