by Jordan Balaban and Jared Shore
(Calgary) – In a world that has handed us so many unexpected turns over the past two years, there are still some things that we can count on. As the saying goes, “There are two certainties in life: death and taxes.” And while that saying remains true, as a Calgary Jewish Community we are fortunate to add another certainty to our list, the annual UJA Campaign. While that is said somewhat in jest, we are fortunate that year after year we reap the benefits of the amazing and generous community that our Jewish Calgary matriarchs and patriarchs built for us over the last several generations.
Some things about the UJA Campaign and the work that Federation does have remained the same for many years. It is the annual campaign that supports inclusion of all members of our community, working to eliminate barriers to participate in a Jewish life at school, and camp, whether that be through our Integrated Bursary Program for families in need, or our own Kesher Inclusion programs. Our other programs continue to foster and nurture a Jewish identity throughout the life cycle, from Shalom Baby to PJ Library®, from Hillel to seniors programming at the JCC.
We continue to advocate for Jewish Calgary with government, law enforcement, and post-secondary institutions, both as a local community and as part of a national and international body, with The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), respectively. Through the work of our Holocaust and Human Rights Committee and our Community Relations Committee, we remain a valued and respected voice in our broader Calgary community, as friends, allies, educators, and advocates.
And while much of what our campaign is about remains constant, it has become a challenge of all Jewish organizations to meet the changing needs of our communities. At Federation we strive to understand our donors and demonstrate appreciation for all they have contributed to the community, both in time and dollars. The volunteer time and hard-earned dollars that are dedicated to our community, are valued by our staff and board, and the entire Calgary Jewish community reaps the benefits of your contribution.
This year we have shifted gears from having campaign chairs, to a campaign that reflects where so much of our campaign goes – our partner organizations. Our schools, our camps, the JCC, Jewish Family Service Calgary, Kollel; they reflect the diversity of our community, develop the youth of our community, honour and reflect the history of our community, and represent the future of our community. Additionally, it has been the cooperation and coordination of Jewish Calgary and our partner organizations that has helped steer the community through the rough waters of the past 20 months. This strength needs to be celebrated, but also not taken for granted. We remain in challenging times.
For years, our partner organizations have been there to educate our children, tend to our vulnerable, guide us through ritual, act as our community living room, and foster our spiritual growth. Through COVID, our agencies worked to survive incredible challenges, both financially and programmatically. Jewish Calgary, this is our opportunity to give back to the agencies, as they have given so much to us.
When you receive your canvassing email or call, we encourage you to ask about where your money goes. Feel good about your contribution rather than seeing it strictly as an obligation. We assure you that as you learn more about what Calgary Jewish Federation and our partner agencies do, your contribution to this year’s UJA Campaign will be one that feels fulfilling in all ways.
Jordan Balaban and Jared Shore are Co-Presidents of the Calgary Jewish Federation.