Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Collaboration and Impact

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


June 23, 2023 | 4 Tammuz 5783



This message has about 650 words and will take about 2.5 minute to read.

On Tuesday we will be celebrating volunteer leaders and the amazing Shelley Rivkin at our AGM, and I hope you will add it to your calendar and join us. Many of you have also asked whether there is a way you can honour Shelley and the impact she has made in our community.


I’m very pleased to announce the Shelley Rivkin Fund for Women’s Professional Development at the Jewish Community Foundation.


Established in Shelley's honour, the purpose of the fund is to support professional development opportunities for midcareer women employed by local Jewish community organizations. Its primary objective is to empower and prepare these women for leadership roles within their respective organizations and the wider Jewish community.


This is an area that is extremely meaningful to Shelley and I encourage you to support the good work that will be accomplished through it by making a contribution.


We are going to shine a light on several areas of impact today, starting with housing


Over the last few months, we partnered with Tikva Housing Society, Jewish Family Services and the JCC Inclusion Program to organize three events for Tikva’s tenants living in the Ben and Esther Dayson Residences, the Diamond Residences, and Dogwood Gardens.


Recognizing that when community members need a hand from one organization they often need a hand from several, we hosted social gatherings to support residents in learning how to access a broad array of resources. Over 50 people joined us, shared snacks, schmoozed, and, most of all, built community connections.


Our community's population of seniors is growing and their needs are evolving.


During the pandemic, we brought together all the community organizations that work with seniors and they are continuing to work together as the Seniors Services Committee.


This week, they visited Abbeyfield, which describes itself as “an affordable, small-scale family-style home with a live-in house coordinator, providing full room and board for seniors who no longer want to live alone but do want to remain as independent as possible.” There is no one-size-fits-all option for seniors, with every person and situation being unique, so it’s great to see them exploring and learning about the different models available.


As our community continues to grow into new geographic areas, our community engagement team is busy bringing partners and people together.


From a lunch and learn with Rabbi Stein in Whistler to a community meet-up in South Delta and tonight’s Axis and Beth Israel Young Adults Shabbat dinner, this week alone we and our partners have helped dozens of people build connections and community.


It's important for our community to have representation internationally....


While our community makes up a small percentage of the diaspora, we have our own identity as British Columbian Jews. I was honoured to represent our community at President Herzog’s new initiative for a worldwide Jewish dialogue, Voices of the People. The aim of this initiative is to bring together different parts of the Jewish people to promote discussion and dialogue to address issues facing the Jewish people around the world.


...And in Israel.


Last weekend, I had attended the Coast to Coast Partnership2gether meetings in Ottawa with our director of Israel and Global department, If’at Eilon Heiber, Ted Zacks and David Fox. Our group was hosted by Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Ronen Hoffman and his wife at their lovely home for dinner.


One of the fascinating new initiatives coming out of the region is a Regional Knowledge Centre, which acts as a hub for communities to share information, and work together to problem solve and enhance the overall quality of life in the Upper Galilee. We know the power of collaboration first hand and we’re thrilled to see the impact its making for our partnership region.


Collaboration and impact will be a big part of what we focus on at our AGM on Tuesday. Our work is your work, and I hope you will join us and celebrate our shared success here, in Israel, and around the world.

Shabbat Shalom,


Ezra S. Shanken

CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

Tikva Housing Society, Jewish Federation, JFS, and the JCC Inclusion Program organized events for Tikva’s tenants

Lunch and learn with Rabbi Stein in Whistler

Representatives from 5 municipalities in our partnership region in Israel and 6 CTC communities