Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Child poverty in our community

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


February 3, 2023 | 12 Shevat 5783



This message has about 577 words and will take less than 2 minute to read.

It might surprise you to know that approximately one in six children in the Lower Mainland Jewish community live in low-income homes. That is why child and youth poverty is the focus of the Affordability Summit that we and our partners are co-hosting on March 2nd.

The last affordability summit we co-hosted identified food security as a significant issue for people with low incomes. It led to the formation of the Food Security Task Force, jointly led by Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services. Their work led to a new community perspective on addressing food security and the establishment of The Kitchen. We are keen to see where this summit leads, as it is the starting place for potential new impacts in an important area.

Register here and join us to identify gaps, best practices, and new resources to support families through Jewish community services. I want to thank Shelley Rivkin, our VP local and global engagement for spearheading this and bringing partners together.

Over the past week there have been a number of terror attacks in Israel.

In response, our partner, the Jewish Agency, jumped into action right away, as they always do. Through the Victims of Terror Fund they work alongside Israeli authorities to offer immediate, urgently needed assistance to victims and their families.

Jewish Federations of North America continues to monitor the situation on the ground closely and will update as needed. In the meantime, if you want to do something to help, you can always contribute to the Victims of Terror Fund. We always keep it open.

Speaking of Israel, there is currently intense debate about potential reforms to the judicial system.

This is especially true on matters related to the relative power of the Knesset vs the Supreme Court. Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, in a public address last week, expressed deep concern over how the issue was dividing Israeli society.

President Herzog said he had spent the last few weeks trying to mediate between the sides, and while he admitted that he was not sure his mediation efforts would succeed, he has said that he is not willing to give up and that he hoped that the sides would reach a middle ground.
In response, CIJA is hosting a virtual town hall.

Jewish Federations across Canada, including ours, have asked our advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), to organize a community-wide event regarding these emerging policies of the new Israeli government. CIJA has planned a virtual town hall called Coalition: A look at Israel's New Government as part of their “Unity, not Uniformity” series.

Join us on Thursday, February 9th at 9:00 a.m. on Zoom for what promises to be an engaging and illuminating conversation. It will also be livestreamed through Facebook. You can register here.

February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and Black History Month.

We want to leave you with two invitations. The first is to celebrate JDAIM through an art exhibit that explores the theme of community longing and belonging thanks to the JCC’s award-winning Inclusion Services program.

The second is to listen to the voices of some of the Black Jews who’ve opened our eyes to their experiences and the role each of us plays in making our community welcoming and inclusive:

Ma Nishtana's ELI Talks

Michael Twitty on being
Jewish in the kitchen

Complicated history of
Black &Jewish communities


Shabbat Shalom.

Ezra S. Shanken
CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver