Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Shine A Light

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


December 3, 2021 | 29 Kislev 5782



This message has about 563 words and will take less than 2 minute to read.

As we move into the last days of Hanukkah, the days grow darker but the lights of our menorahs grow brighter.
I want to thank everyone who has contributed to our BC Flood Relief Fund, which now stands at over $300,000.
Yesterday, our board chair, Candace Kwinter, and I were honoured to present a cheque for $36,000 to help transport much-needed goods to people in Merritt and offset the cost of rent for a new food bank there, as well as purchase blankets and air mattresses. Next, we are looking at opportunities for how we can assist Indigenous communities and those hit hard in the Nicola Valley. Watch this clip on CTV for more.
Together, we are bringing rays of hope to people in need, and helping community members celebrate.
From the sold-out Hanukkah party for 100 young adults that Axis and JNF Future produced and that Beth Israel and Temple Sholom sponsored to Schara Tzedecks’ Hanukkah In A Box program to the cards exchanged between children at the JCC and those in Khabarovsk, Russia and Northern Israel.
One new initiative is #ShineALight, a social media project to dispel the darkness of antisemitism.
It’s easy to participate. Just grab a flashlight or candle, snap a quick picture on your phone, and post it on social media with #ShineALight to show that we stand in solidarity this Hanukkah.
That leads us to an update on the work that Rabbi Bregman is doing.
He and his team, “The Other People”, presented to nearly 100 students at King David High School last week. The team, comprised of Gary Gaudin, Tariq Tab, Inderjeet Singh, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Terry Yung, Jahmira Lovemore, and Rabbi Bregman, answered questions about antisemitism, terrorism, racism, bigotry, being isolated, and residential schools. By all accounts it was a huge success, and we are delighted that they are off to such a strong start.
Why is the team called The Other People? Because each of them has, at one point or another, been “the other person”, the outsider, the one who was or is discriminated against. We’ve asked Rabbi Bregman to guest write an upcoming Shabbat Message, so you’ll hear more from him soon.
It was perfect that their first presentation was at a Jewish day school, as we all know the important role they play in the future health of our community. Local day schools had great success this week with their Day School Day of Giving, with each school reaching their fundraising target. Kol hakavod for working together to raise over $260,000!
I know there have been a lot of requests for you to help lately, but I want to remind you of how important your Annual Campaign gift is.
Over the last 21 months we have drawn upon all of our strengths, and so have our partners. While the omicron variant has shown us that we are not out of the woods yet, there are new opportunities ahead and we want to be able to seize upon them as a Federation and as a community. But we need you to get your gift in. If your canvasser has been calling or you’ve received a couple of emails from us, please don’t wait any longer.
The December 31st deadline is coming up for a 2021 tax receipt, so there’s an extra incentive for you to make your gift today, and I hope you will!

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.


Ezra S. Shanken

Chief Executive Officer