We are made stronger as a whole when every part of our community is thriving. Many of us rely on resources that are maintained by Orthodox community members and organizations, and which are crucial to day-to-day life and lifecycle events, including the mikveh, the chevra kadisha, and more.
However, the high cost of living, in particular housing located near the orthodox synagogues, in addition to the cost of living an observant lifestyle, has had an impact on the Orthodox community. This has been a significant factor in the decisions of many Orthodox families to leave the Lower Mainland.
In response, Jewish Federation has worked collaboratively with the Orthodox community to launch a new initiative called Torah West, which has been generously funded by the Diamond Family Foundation and other community donors. The goal is to revitalize and grow the Orthodox community through active recruitment and support of new families to the region and to support existing families through the strengthening of community resources.
Modeled after the innovative and hugely successful “Grow Winnipeg” initiative, which actively recruited 1800 Jewish adults and children from Argentina and other parts of South America over 15 years, to grow and revitalize their community. Today 70% of those who came to Winnipeg through this initiative have stayed.
“Torah West seeks to put Vancouver on the map not just for those who are already here, but for those looking for a life change. A destination where Torah-observant families can find peers and infrastructure to support their lifestyle. A place that will attract Orthodox educators and other professionals and their families to contribute to the growth of our community. A place where Orthodox young adults will want to stay and bring up their families.” said Jonathon Leipsic, co-chair of the Torah West steering committee.
The successful candidate will be a Federation employee. Their role will be to aid Orthodox families looking to emigrate or relocate from other countries to the Lower Mainland, by liaising with the appropriate government and not-for-profit agencies to facilitate the immigration process, identifying potential employment opportunities and supporting these families when they arrive and settle in metro Vancouver. While the focus will be on orthodox individuals and families, the manager will aid any Jewish individual wanting to move to our community.
A diverse community is a strong community. The success of Torah West will provide growth and sustainability not just for our Orthodox community, but for the Greater Vancouver Jewish community as a whole.