Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Helping Victims of Terror

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


April 8, 2022 | 7 Nissan 5782



This message has about 729 words and will take less than 3 minute to read.

As the situation in Ukraine becomes ever more desperate, we received two videos from the frontlines of the relief efforts, thanking our community for our support.

The first is from the CEO of our partner, the Joint Distribution Committee, Ariel Zwang. The second is from Rabbi Gritsevskaya and Rabbi Stamov of Midreshet Ukraine, thanking donors to our Ukraine Relief Fund and Congregation Beth Israel for our combined gift of $28,000 to support their efforts, which you can read about in this Canadian Jewish News article. While we continue to devote attention to Ukraine, that is not the only place where help is needed.

Over the past several days, terror attacks in Israel have escalated.

Our hearts go out to the 14 families in mourning this Shabbat, and we pray for a full and speedy recovery for those who were wounded. The names of those killed in yesterday’s attack in Tel Aviv were released today. May the memories of Tomer Morad z’l, Eitam Megini z’l, and Barak Lufen z’l, and all those who were killed, be for a blessing.

In the wake of a terror attack we know there will be people in dire circumstances who are simultaneously dealing with the emotional toll of the trauma.

That is where our partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel, comes in. Within the first 48 hours after a terror attack, victims receive a visit from a representative of the Jewish Agency, who provides more than $1,000 to help with immediate expenses. Over the following months, the Jewish Agency provides thousands of dollars' worth of other grants and services for things like counseling, job retraining, and summer respite camp for children.

When terror attacks happen, it is natural to feel not just outrage and sadness but frustration at being able to do anything. If you are giving tzedakah before Shabbat begins, please know that you can always support the Jewish Agency’s work through our Victims of Terror Fund, which remains open all the time.

Unfortunately, tragedy has struck all too often, and we will honour the memories of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror attacks on Yom Hazikaron. The memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at the Norman Rothstein Theatre and live streamed for those who cannot attend in person.

New this year: pre-registration is required for Yom Hazikaron.

Pre-registration is required whether you are attending in person or watching from home. Click here to register.

The next night, we will celebrate at Yom Ha’atzmaut with a live performance by Gilat Rapaport and the InJoy band.

They will play all your favourite Israeli classics, so it’s going to be a lot of fun! You’ll know all the songs and so will your kids. Kyle Berger, Lu Winters, and Adora Harel will bring the humour as MCs, the anthems will be sung by students from local day schools, and the Or Atid, VTT, and RJDS dance groups will be performing. This is the biggest community event of the year, and it’s always a huge celebration. After two years online, it’s time to celebrate Israel together in person. I’ll be there and I hope you will join me! Buy your tickets here.

Before we sign off, there are two big todah rabahs we want to say.

First, I want to thank Consul General Renato Mosca de Souza for inviting me to say a few words at the screening of Dear Ambassador, hosted by the Brazilian Consulate in Vancouver. The film shares the story of Luiz de Souza Dantas, Brazil’s ambassador during WWII, who saved 800 people from extermination. 

I also want to thank the 224 volunteer canvassers who take time out of their busy lives to help our Annual Campaign donors fulfil the mitzvah of tzedakah. It was great to celebrate them at our Canvasser Appreciation Event on Monday. The personal touch they bring is a big part of making our campaign a success for our community. Thank you!


Shabbat shalom.


Ezra S. Shanken
Chief Executive Officer

Canvasser Appreciation Event