Relocating to a new community, whether it’s in another country or across the region, comes with the promise of new beginnings. It can also be a difficult time adjusting to an unfamiliar culture, especially if you don’t speak the local language or have a strong support network. That’s where BeyachadBC comes in.
Beyachad (“together” in Hebrew) BC is an exciting new program designed to help Jewish newcomers in Metro Vancouver adapt to Canadian life and connect with community.
More than 80 newcomer families and individuals, spanning generations, were on hand on January 20, 2021 for the program’s official launch and inaugural event on Zoom. After a warm welcome from members of the Jewish Federation team and other Jewish communal professionals, participants had the opportunity to learn about the range of important community services available to them, such as schools and camps, and recreation and social service programs.
The agenda then shifted to social connection as newcomers broke into chat rooms organized by language, where they met with BeyachadBC committee members and staff, former newcomers, and fellow Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese or English speakers.
By all accounts, it was a wonderful start to the program, with the number of Zoom squares increasing steadily throughout the evening as people heard about the event through social media. Participants not only had the chance to gain more knowledge about their new home and where they can turn to for help, but to also forge a new sense of community belonging.
Spearheaded by Jewish Federation and developed in collaboration with numerous grassroots and communal organizations, BeyachadBC’s primary objective is to help Jewish newcomers of all backgrounds become full and active participants in the community, while also empowering them to stay connected with their own unique cultural practices and traditions. The initiative builds on the work of previous services for Jewish newcomers, such as Jewish Federation’s Gesher programs and Shalom BC.
Recognizing the challenges and isolation that can accompany this type of major move, regardless of one’s personal circumstances, the goal is to ease the transition through access to social and professional opportunities, community resources, and Jewish communal life.
Here are some of the ways the program will assist individuals and families:
- Organize events and activities to connect within and across language, cultural groups and generations;
- Provide opportunities to connect with the wider Jewish community;
- Help individuals build a new professional network;
- Find services and supports tailored to individuals’ needs and cultural practices; and
- Facilitate access to resources required to settle into Canadian life.
By Community, For Community
Jewish Federation is proud to partner with the following community organizations for this important initiative: ALEPH in the Tri-Cities; Connect Me In; Israelim beVancouver ve haSviva; Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver; Jewish Family Services; Mamatefet; and WE – Women Empowerment.
If you are a newcomer or know someone who is new to the community, you can find more information here.