by Lisa Libin and Adam Silver
As we all head into Shabbat, we wanted to send another update leading into the weekend and into next week.
We are thankful that today went without incident. We are grateful to Calgary Police Service (CPS) for being present and on-site at all open Jewish institutions including The Calgary Jewish Academy (CJA), Halpern Akiva Academy, and Paperny Family JCC.
We know today was particularly difficult and nerve-wracking for most everyone. We want to thank all of you who have reached out and offered support. It has been appreciated more than we can express in words.
We also want to thank the tireless leadership, teachers and support staff at CJA and Halpern Akiva Academy and the Paperny Family JCC who ensured our students felt safe, supported parents, and provided a “normal” environment for our children today.
Some additional updates include:
- Lisa Libin and Adam Silver were onsite first thing this morning checking in on drop-offs at CJA, Halpern Akiva Academy, Henry Wise Wood, and West Island College to ensure the schools with the most Jewish students and staff were supported during this difficult day. Other schools were also engaged over the last few days, ensuring enhanced security measures and protocols were in place.
- CPS was onsite at CJA, Halpern Akiva Academy, and Paperny Family JCC in the early morning hours and throughout today to ensure all felt safe at these buildings.
- CPS will be present at synagogues for Shabbat services tonight and tomorrow, depending on service schedules. They will be back at CJA and Halpern Akiva Academy starting at drop-off Monday morning. They will maintain their enhanced patrols in neighbourhoods with Jewish institutions.
- Calgary Jewish Federation held a gathering for BBYO and Hillel students last night, led by registered psychologist and community member, Joel Zimmerman. Students were able to have open conversations about how they were feeling and support one another. To continue to support our high school and university students, these sessions will be taking place at least once a week until further notice.
- We have reached out to presidents at both Mount Royal University (MRU) and University of Calgary to reiterate the importance around keeping our students safe, particularly as MRU comes back from Reading Week next week, and as word of student protests circulate online.
- Yesterday, we met with Member of Parliament, Shuv Majumdar, who has offered his ongoing support and assistance here in Calgary but also abroad. If you are aware of any Canadians still stuck in Israel, please let us know as MP Mujumdar has committed to assisting with travel arrangements.
- We continue to stay in close touch with non-Jewish public and private schools to ensure our students are supported and feel safe as we head into next week.
- We have also heard from community members about issues in the workplace – mostly comments and micro-aggressions. Please report all issues to our email with the subject: “Workplace Issue” and we will follow up with you. If your experience feels like a hate crime, please engage the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
As we approach Shabbat, we know everyone is experiencing worry and sadness. As a community, we need to rely on and support one another. For those looking to help with current and future needs in Israel, we have set-up an Israel Emergency Fund in partnership with Federations across Canada.
Despite today being over, it is still a long road ahead as the war in Israel continues to evolve. We need to remain vigilant not just today, but every day. We cannot say enough that if you see something, say something.
It is also an unfortunate reality that social media will be rampant, and we need to be aware that this will impact us and our children. As Israel begins to fight back, posts and messages of hate will be prominent. We know this will be draining and difficult, and we are here to support our community. Please be sure to verify through credible sources any information you consume or plan to share out.
We hope you can all take some time with family and loved ones during this Shabbat. We all need it.
Lisa Libin is President and Adam Silver is CEO of Calgary Jewish Federation.