op/ed: The community needs to support its volunteers

By Colin Muscat

(AJNews) – Before I settled in Edmonton, I lived in a small town in rural Southern Alberta, for 5 years, where the Jewish population was officially 2.  During that time my wife and I had a baby boy, which increased the population to 3. We would drive to Edmonton for High Holidays and Pesach.  My son’s only other Jewish experience was reading the PJ library books his Bubbe would drive down from Edmonton once every other month.

Fast forward a few years and another child, Edmonton has once again become our home. We are both active volunteers with different Jewish Community organizations. We understand that for our community to survive and to thrive, we need to chip in. The volunteers in this community ensure that our institutions and organizations continue to run.  Having lived in a community with no Jewish life at all, we recognize how good we have it here.

Being a volunteer in these organizations is a lot of work and worry.  To be honest, more than we both had expected.  The time commitment is time away from our family, time away from each other, and from doing things for ourselves.  We both find it worthwhile and have a lot of respect for the contributions of other volunteers in this community.

We need to be better as a community to our volunteers.  Every decision made by a volunteer board is made with the best intentions and with the best interests of the community in mind.  Some decisions work out, some do not.  Some decisions you will agree with and others you may not.  We are a diverse community and it is impossible to please everyone, all of the time.

I am asking community members to remember that we are all on the same team and have the same goal – to ensure that our Jewish Community will continue to thrive into the future.  Consider the hours of personal time that volunteers are contributing for the betterment of our community.  Let’s keep discussion respectful and feedback constructive.  If there is something that you would like done differently, participate in the process rather than undermine itWe need to remember that without volunteers, this community could not function.

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