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The relationships that we hold, whether they be with donors or with partner organizations, are central to our ability to work effectively on behalf of the community. As our community evolves and our work evolves alongside it, I have built relationships with representatives of organizations outside of our community. Many of our community’s priorities, such as affordability, are not unique to us, and so it is beneficial to talk and work with others who are doing similar work.
One such organization is Family Services of Greater Vancouver, and their CEO, Karin Kirkpatrick, and I discussed common challenges and goals this week, including caring for the most vulnerable.
Speaking of common goals, Tel-Hai College in our partnership region of the Upper Galilee shares our vision of stronger, more resilient communities in Northern Israel. Together, we have partnered to deliver Galil-Up, a leadership program that develops the next generation of professionals and volunteers who will raise up the Galilee region over the next decades.
The first cohort has already graduated from Galil-Up, and the second cohort of 31 promising young leaders has convened. Each participant is a high-performing young leader with the potential to change the trajectory of the Upper Galilee.
Strengthening the communities of the Galilee is a central facet of Tel-Hai’s mission, and the college draws a diverse student body from within the region and around the world. Tel-Hai, its faculty, and its students play important roles in the strategic and economic development of the Galilee, making them the ideal partner to operate Galil-Up.
Training and empowering local young leaders to develop and implement a vision for the community in which they live is going to be a game-changer for the long term. Ultimately, graduates will be poised to take on positions with local municipalities and organizations, where they will be able to influence the growth, development, and future success of our partnership region. Equally important is the genuine sense of investment in and commitment to the Galilee that the program nurtures in participants. It is our hope that each of them will play a role in making the future brighter for successive generations.
Candace Kwinter, chair of our Israel and Overseas Affairs Committee, tells us that “the participants are very excited and grateful to be accepted into the program and are looking forward to getting to know each other.” Next week, they will go through a two-day workshop on leadership and team building, followed by a tour of the different municipalities and meetings with representatives of Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.
Back in our local community, we commend the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Richmond for proclaiming January 27, 2020, International Holocaust Remembrance Day in their respective municipalities. Mike Sachs called the Richmond proclamation “a historic step for our collective Jewish Community in the desired direction of Holocaust education and awareness.” We applaud Mayor Stewart, Mayor Buchanan, and Mayor Brodie for their leadership.
There are a number of commemorative events taking place this week, not only to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but also the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. You can find those that involve our partner, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, here, and more in last week’s Shabbat Message.
We want to say a very special thank-you to the survivors who are preparing to share their experiences next week or who have already done so. We are truly grateful to you for playing an instrumental role in ensuring the world never forgets. Thank you, too, to the organizations that ensure as many people as possible hear what they have to say.
We also want to acknowledge the commitment made by 41 local teens who are on a Shabbaton this weekend as part of their preparation for going on March of the Living this spring. Mature beyond their years, they have made the choice to become the next generation of witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust.
From raising up the Galilee for generations to come, to supporting Holocaust education, to helping young people have life-changing experiences on March of the Living, your Annual Campaign gift is making a difference across the community and around the world. If you haven’t yet made your gift, the Annual Campaign is still open and you can still make a difference today.
Ezra S. Shanken
Chief Executive Officer