Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Celebrate Israel with our Community

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


March 18, 2022 | 15 Adar II 5782



This message has about 722 words and will take less than 3 minute to read.

I hope you had a happy Purim!
We joined community members across the Greater Vancouver area to celebrate Purim with parties in Langley, Coquitlam and Abbotsford. All of these cities have growing Jewish populations, and we’re proud to serve them through our Connect Me In program.
The Abbotsford celebration came together because during our response to the BC floods, our team reached out to every Jew we know in Abbotsford. As a result of this tremendous effort, we connected with this community in a way that we have never been able to before. It was very special to celebrate Purim with a potluck party open to everyone in the Fraser Valley. If you know anyone who lives in the area, please let me know so we can reach out to them.  

Over the next few weeks, we expect to have several big announcements.
We will start with our community’s biggest event of the year, which is also the first time many of us will be gathering (G-d willing) for a large in-person event.
Tickets are on sale now for Yom Ha’atzmaut!
This year’s celebration will include musical performances, community groups, and much more. It will take place on Wednesday, May 4th at 7:30 p.m. at The Vogue Theatre. It is reserved seating, so the earlier you purchase tickets, the more selection you’ll have (although every seat is great at The Vogue). Kol hakavod to the Yom Ha’atzmaut Committee, chaired by Pam Wolfman, for getting us all together this year!
Last week I announced our community song, Salaam, and I hope you have been practicing.
Get out your phone and send us a quick little video of you singing and dancing along to Salaam, so we can make a compilation to show at the event. It’s not just an Israeli classic, Salaam takes on a whole new meaning now that we pray for peace in Ukraine. You can learn the song here.
Click here to submit your video.
Update on Ukraine.
To date, we have raised over $800,000 which is an unprecedented response from our community. Thank you!

I want to let you know what your donations are doing.

  • 1,950 olim from Ukraine and 823 from Russia brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency
  • 7,120 people currently in the Jewish Agency’s transit facilities in five countries
  • 4,130 beds rented
  • 40,284 calls to emergency hotlines (primarily for food, medicine, and evacuation)

Since our key partners, JDC and the Jewish Agency have been on the ground in Ukraine for decades, they already had the infrastructure in place to scale up and respond quickly and effectively to maximize our impact and yours.

But it’s not just emergency relief that is needed. This is a massive humanitarian disaster, and it is only getting worse.

There is no doubt that we are going to be facing medium and long term needs in the entire region—including Jewish communities at risk in neighbouring countries and in Russia. Just take a look at this video from Sam Grundwerg, chairman of Keren Hayesod, who visited the Ukraine border. If you haven't yet had a chance to contribute, please donate here

The need is on our doorstep, too. We are convening a group of agencies along with a representative from the Rabbinical Association of Vancouver (RAV), Chabad and CIJA to discuss how our community can support Ukrainian women and children who choose to come to the Lower Mainland. There are only two ways that Ukrainian citizens are able to come to Canada: either as temporary visitors or to be reunited with family members.
If you have family in the Ukraine and are trying to bring them to Vancouver, please email us.

Let’s end on a high note with school staff going the extra mile.
Thanks to Air Canada’s generous sponsorship, staff at each of the five local day schools were invited to enter for a chance to win one of five free tickets anywhere in North America that Air Canada flies. They’ve gone the extra mile for students, and now we’ll send five lucky winners the extra mile with Air Canada. There will be a winner at each of the day schools, and we can’t wait to announce their names next week! 


Shabbat Shalom.


Ezra S. Shanken
Chief Executive Officer

Purim celebration in Langley