December 2, 2022 | 8 Kislev 5783
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This week was an exciting one, as we saw our first major snowfall of the year across the region. It is a beautiful sight to behold but is also a cause of traffic hold-ups and frustrations. Lots of thanks to the staff and community members who kept the doors open and programs running, including at schools.
Speaking of schools, we are fortunate to have a rich tapestry of Jewish education and childcare programs in our community.
Early childhood education programs that incorporate Jewish values and traditions are an important part of that. Culturally relevant programming enables students to be authentic in who they are and promotes the self-efficacy they need to succeed. Vancouver Talmud Torah and the JCC both offer fantastic daycare and preschool programs, and they’ve recently been joined by Richmond Jewish Day School (RJDS).
Last September, RJDS opened their early childhood program, which also includes infant care. They are now able to provide high-quality, affordable childcare in an inclusive, licensed facility that honours Jewish culture and traditions. If you aren’t familiar with the school, it is one of more than 20 different cultural institutions located along what is often called “The Highway to Heaven”. The diversity of their neighbourhood reflects that of our city, our province, and our country and we are proud to have them represent our community.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister, along with Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, joined the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, and BC Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen, to highlight the government’s plan to make childcare more affordable for families in British Columbia. I was very privileged to attend, accompanied by Geoffrey Druker (chair of CIJA’s Local Partnership Council), Michael Lipton (RJDS Board chair), Shannon Gorski (JFS and JFGV Board member), and our marketing and communications manager, Sara Bandel.
As if this weren’t exciting enough, they chose Richmond Jewish Day School as the venue for this announcement!
Prioritizing early learning and childcare, especially at a time when so many families are grappling with the high cost of living and inflation, shows that both the federal and provincial governments recognize the long-lasting benefits of this investment. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to affordable childcare. I also want to say thank you to Sabrina Bohjani, head of school, and Michael Lipton, RJDS board chair, for making this program a reality.
The diverse and expanding landscape of Jewish education in Vancouver is a testament to our community’s investment not just in Jewish continuity but how we bring our Jewish authenticity to our broader community across the region, the province, the country, and beyond.
A wonderful example of this is the work of our interfaith liaison, Rabbi Bregman, specifically through “The Other People.”
The Other People are seven individuals committed to breaking down stereotypes. These Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Asian/Buddhist, Indigenous, Black, and Jewish community leaders are working together to overcome racism, bigotry, and implicit bias.
Next Thursday, December 8th, you are invited to Temple Sholom to come and hear about their experiences of speaking to over 1,000 BC high school students and learn about the impact of their recent trip to Dubai and Israel.
I hope these stories and events from our community warm your heart during this chilly time.
It is truly because of you that we are able to continue this important work with our partners, which is why I want to thank everyone who has made a donation to our annual campaign, and a big thank you to PearTree for matching your Giving Tuesday gifts this past week. If you didn’t have a chance to donate on Giving Tuesday, it’s not too late! You can still make Amazing Happen by making your donation here.
And now, I am off to the Brazilian Shabbat at Beth Israel, which we are proud to support through our newcomers’ partnership, BeyachadBC. If you are new to Canada and to our community, BeyachadBC is a great way to get connected!
Ezra S. Shanken
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver