Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Hanukkah lights across the region

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


December 23, 2022 | 29 Kislev 5783



This message has about 591 words and will take less than 2.5 minute to read.

Did you know that Hanukkah comes not just at the darkest time of the year, but at the darkest phase of the moon? This year, even the night sky will light up as the Ursids meteor shower reaches its peak tonight. Although whether the clouds will part for us to see it is another matter altogether. 


The holiday also reminds us of darker times, when we were denied the freedom of religion that we enjoy today in this democratic nation, and so we are very proud that Candace Kwinter, our board chair, is co-chair of the upcoming conference, Democracy In Action.


You are invited to join the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Jewish Federations across Canada at Democracy in Action.


On October 16-17, 2023 the conference will assemble hundreds of representatives in Ottawa from Jewish communities and organizations across Canada to explore challenges facing Canadian Jewry and ways that, as a diverse yet united national community, we can address them. We want to make sure there is a strong contingent representing our community, so I hope you will sign up for updates here.  


Young and old(er) gathered to celebrate Hanukkah. 


It was fantastic to see the JCC seniors get together again for their annual luncheon. Pre-pandemic, many of our staff volunteered at this annual luncheon, and we were so happy to set, serve and clear once again now that the seniors are able to celebrate in person. Your Annual Campaign gift supports the Adult 55+ program at the JCC, which gives older adults the opportunity to establish and grow important connections to community and to each other.  


Karaoke was a no-go during the pandemic restrictions, so 120 young Jewish adults took full advantage of being able to get back on stage at their annual Hanukkah party. We would like to say thank you to the organizations that partnered with us for this event and to the Axis committee for leading the way.


Hanukkah lights are shining from Whistler to Langley. 


We are very proud to support Hanukkah celebrations across our community through our Connect Me In program. Jews in Whistler gathered in the public library and in the main square to light their Hanukkiahs together. In Langley, Kulam Ba’Valley partnered with us and Chabad of the Fraser Valley to host a Hanukkah party attended by 50 families and the mayor! We also supported a celebration in Burnaby and other communities.


It is all part of our commitment to support Jewish community life across the region through our Connect Me In program.


We would also like to shine a light on Bowen Island's Jewish community, who are rallying against Holocaust denial by sharing their culture and traditions with the rest of the island through their now annual giant driftwood menorah lighting


Here in Vancouver, we even lit the candles with the VPD.  


Thank you to Deputy Chief Howard Chow, Chief Adam Palmer, and Inspector Terry Yung for hosting us at Vancouver Police Department headquarters, where we enjoyed latkes and sufganiyot together. My family and I were joined by Rabbi Bregman, Jason Murray, Geoffrey Druker and Jewish members of the VPD including board director Allan Black. We had a fantastic time!


Light is also a reminder that there is darkness. 


Hanukkah candles illuminate all that we have to be thankful for: family and friends, warm homes, and food on our tables. But there are many in our community who have inadequate housing or have to choose which bills they can pay and which they can’t. Our partners are here to help them—and your Annual Campaign gift makes that help possible. In fact, it makes Amazing Happen.


With just a week left to get your 2022 tax receipt, I hope you will make a secure gift online today. If you have already made a pledge but haven’t yet provided payment, you can pay your pledge online or call our office at 604.257.5100 before 3:00 today. 


Shabbat shalom and chag Hanukkah sameach. 

Ezra S. Shanken
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver