Its hard to believe 5780 is here!
5779 was a year of transition, transformation and reflection for Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA. We welcomed Nikki Holland as President & CEO, Jeremy Grafstein as Chief Finance and Operating Officer and Arie Levy as Interim Director General in Israel. In June, I assumed the role of chair of the board.
Despite these transitions in top leadership, JFC-UIA continued to transform lives by sending over 3,000 Canadians to Israel, developing and delivering award winning leadership training and providing support to Jewish communities across Canada.
And all the while, our team - in collaboration with our community partners - was busy carrying out a strategic review of our organization and the role it plays in the larger Jewish community. The resulting strategic plan will serve as the framework to enhance the organization over the next five years.
Internationally, the world has been focused on Israel as they struggle to form a new government, after holding two elections within four months with no clear winner.
Across Israel, our Canada - Israel community partnerships continued to strengthen Israeli communities across the nation and fortify Canada’s relationship with Israel, and vice-versa. We ensured that NGOs across Israel received the critical funding necessary to impact their communities. We supported the people of Israel as they dealt with ongoing rocket attacks and other terrorist activities that upset their lives on a continual basis.
Earlier this month, we assisted in bringing Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Steven Lowy, World Chairman at Keren Hayesod, to Canada for a multi-city tour where they met community members and federation professionals.
Over the last month, Federations across Canada launched their annual campaigns at community events. The funds raised will ensure that federations can continue to serve their constituents with essential community programming and also support the larger Jewish community and Israel.
Since June, Nikki and I have been meeting peers and colleagues from communities across the country to learn further about their successes, challenges and goals. It’s been enjoyable and inspiring. I am eager to continue in this exploration, so that together with our partners and stakeholders, we can create meaningful opportunities for community engagement.
Every year at this time, while we celebrate the advent of the Jewish new year, we are invited to take a holistic and critical look at how we lived our lives over the past year, in the spirit of celebration for our achievements and honest compassion for our transgressions. We are encouraged to explore where we went right, where we could have done better, and where we went wrong. On Yom Kippur, we are expected to fully and completely forgive ourselves.
But it doesn’t end there. On Yom Kippur, we also beg forgiveness for any and all transgressions of the Jewish people in its entirety. This practice is just one of many Jewish customs and values that demonstrate that we are indeed one people, one large extended family that stretches across the globe, that is responsible for one another.
From my family to yours, I wish you peace, happiness and good health in 5780. On behalf of the JFC-UIA team in Israel and Canada, Shana Tova.
Michael Frankel, Chair
Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA
Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA