Shabbat Message - August 7, 2020


This message has 825 words and will take about 4 minutes to read.


We are excited to announce the speakers for our upcoming Annual Campaign kickoff on September 8th! We are shaking up the format and the pace to bring you the inspiring community event you’ve come to know and love, while keeping it tight and polished for online viewing. We’re starting early­–at 5:00 p.m.–so that you can join us and still get the kids fed and in bed on time.

Here's a bit about our presenters:
Sarah Hurwitz
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chief Speechwriter and Author of Here All Along
Let’s start with her impressive White House background. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Sarah was a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then served as the chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. She also worked on policy issues affecting young women and girls as a senior advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls.
Incredibly impressive, for sure, but there’s more to her story.
After a bad breakup at age 36, Sarah rediscovered her Jewish roots when she followed a whim and signed up for an introductory class on Judaism. Thus began a transformation of her life, which culminated in authoring the book, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life  In Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).
Nigel Savage
Founder, President and CEO of Hazon, the Jewish Lab for Sustainability
So, what makes a former fund manager at NM Rothschild in London and co-head of UK Equities at Govett switch gears and refocus his life on sustainability with a Jewish twist? Well, hang onto your hat, because in a few short weeks we’re about to find out.
Hazon is building a movement that strengthens Jewish life and contributes to a more environmentally sustainable world. They affect change through immersive experiences and by inspiring individuals and communities to commit to making changes, with a particular focus on food systems.
When we find a fresh, innovative Jewish voice, like Nigel, we know we need to bring him to our community (even if it is virtually). We initially approached him a few years ago, and we are thrilled that the timing is finally on our side, because you are going to love hearing from him.
Pre-register here and we’ll send you the link the day before the event.


"The Ben and Esther Dayson Residences in River District"

September is right around the corner, and that means moving day for 32 families who are getting ready to move into new two-, three-, and four-bedroom townhouses at the Ben and Esther Dayson Residences in River District, thanks to our partner, Tikva Housing. Federation staff were privileged to recently join Shirley Barnett and Philip Dayson from The Ben & Esther Dayson Charitable Foundation for a tour, along with our board chair, Alex Cristall, and Tikva’s Board Chair, Shelley Karrel and Managing Director, Alice Sundberg. The townhouses are gorgeous and the huge common room is going to be a great place for physically-distanced holiday celebrations. We are very proud to support Tikva Housing’s work, and we are looking forward to updating you again after the families have settled in to their homes.
COVID-19 has affected every corner of our community, and as community organizations continued to pivot, there were times when we all needed extra guidance. Dr. Patricia Daly, Vice President, Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, was always there for us. Behind the scenes, she provided valuable support to so many organizations that you almost certainly benefited from her advice and wisdom without realizing it. We want to extend a huge todah rabah to Dr. Daly, and what better way to celebrate her than in a creative way for everyone to see? Thank you, Dr. Daly!

"Thank you, Dr. Daly!"

We also want to say mazel tov to Dr. Mel Krajden, medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control's Public Health Laboratory, who was awarded the Order of British Columbia this week. You can read about some of his work combating COVID-19 here

Looking for a new way to help our community? This is the year to volunteer your time. We need canvassers to reach out to community members and help them give to support our community. You can contact people you know or people you don’t know–whatever you are comfortable with. And you can start by contacting just two people. More than any other year, every gift matters. If you can spare a bit of time to help, please email us at We really need you.
When we were called on this week, we were there to represent our community. The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada tasked his Parliamentary Secretary, Arif Virani, with undertaking consultations to inform the development of legal remedies for victims of online hate. I was proud to take part in a roundtable of Jewish organizations to discuss this topic.
On a related note, our advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, has been pressing the government to develop metrics to track discrimination in Canada so that they and we can develop a country-wide understanding of the challenges. In response, the government created this survey. It only takes a few minutes and it is essential that our community’s lived experiences are captured, so we hope you will participate.
Shabbat Shalom.


Ezra S. Shanken
Chief Executive Officer