Perspectives by Deborah Corber, CEO

Edition 2, December 5, 2014

Change is in the Air

Deborah Corber Something in the air of our Jewish community feels different. In a good way.

I’m thinking about the Montreal Mega Mission in May, which saw nearly 600 Jews travel to Israel together and form the kind of friendships that grow from a shared experience.

I’m thinking about the countless Jewish Montrealers who stepped up this past summer during the Gaza conflict to contribute to the Israel Relief Fund, to attend a packed solidarity rally in the Gelber Centre, and in some cases, to travel to Israel to show our extended family that we’re with them through thick and thin.
I’m thinking about the 50 volunteer leaders, donors and professionals who comprised the second largest delegation (after New York) to this year’s General Assembly of Federations from across North America.

I’m thinking about the surge in community connectivity that we’re experiencing through social media and across a range of digital platforms unknown to us only a decade ago.

I’m thinking about the busload of Jewish community volunteers, donors and professionals who spent the day driving to and from the National Assembly in Quebec City last week to attend a cocktail party (sponsored by CIJA) so that we could voice our concerns over Bill 10 to MNAs of all political parties.

I see a trend running through these and many other happenings. We’re showing up in ways and numbers that better reflect our diversity as a community: We’re younger and older, women and men, single and married, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, French-speaking and English-speaking (and several other languages, too!), observant and secular, Jewish and inter-faith families, affiliated and unaffiliated, left and right, Federation supporters, Federation agnostics and even some Federation detractors!

I saw it again last week as we celebrated the outstanding results of Federation CJA’s Campaign 2014, both in terms of dollars raised and new donors engaged. There we were, Montrealers of all ages, affiliations and orientations literally rocking the house Jewish style. As federations throughout North America struggle to remain relevant to peoples’ concerns and to raise the funds for today while building for tomorrow – those critical dollars that touch each and every one of us in countless ways – Campaign 2014 gave us so much to be grateful for and so much to celebrate.

Like I said, there’s something different in our community these days.  Despite the challenges we face, the air around us permeates with possibility. And I can’t wait to see what great things we can accomplish as we move forward, together.


  Of Note

JFNA - General Assembly GA is opportunity to connect with fellow Jews
Deborah Corber reflects on the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America - affectionately known as the GA – the premier event of the Jewish communal calendar year.

CJA 14 Philanthropic Feat for Federation CJA: Annual Campaign raises over $45 million
Held at majestic art space Arsenal, the 2014 Combined Jewish Appeal campaign closing featured a special performance from the Montreal Rhapsody Orchestra and a moving “impact gallery” which illustrated the philanthropic organization’s primary beneficiaries through life-sized art installations.

Question of Israel boycott divides Concordia campus
The smouldering question of whether or not to boycott Israel has proved to be too hot to handle on the Concordia University campus. Jeff Bicher, executive director of Hillel Montreal, a Federation CJA affiliated agency, comments. 

Jews from FranceIn Montreal, Jews from France see a future for themselves
New wave of French immigrants flee anti-Semitism, high unemployment, move to Quebec in recent years. Commentary from Federation CJA affiliated Agence Ometz.


CIJA - National AssemblyJewish community celebrated for 250 years of contributions at National Assembly
A large delegation of nearly a hundred Jewish Quebecers visited the National Assembly of Quebec November 19. The Executive Director of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA ) spoke of his pride at seeing the Jewish community take center stage at the heart of the National Assembly before inviting the Prime Minister to address the audience. (Article in French)

Quebec Health ReformQuebec reforms threaten Jewish health, social institutions: brief
The Quebec government’s proposed sweeping overhaul of the province’s health and social services will have a detrimental effect on Jewish institutions’ ability to raise funds and attract volunteers, according to a brief submitted to the parliamentary committee studying Bill 10..

SecurityCanadian orgs' security already high before attack, experts say
Events in the Middle East, particularly when they’re as bloody as the attack on worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue Nov. 18, almost always lead to fallout in Canada, at least on the security front… So said Adam Cohen, director of security for Federation CJA in Montreal and for the past eight months, national director of community security for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Israel Nationality LawPeres: 'Nationality Law' - attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence
As they remember Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, politicians and dignitaries lock horns over contentious bill.

Jewish Taylor - Levi Strauss - Ralph LorenFrom Levi Strauss to Ralph Lauren: The empire of the Jewish tailor
New exhibition at Tel Aviv's Beit Hatfutsot museum explores Jewish designers' contribution to world of fashion, featuring items from Marc Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel, Donna Karan, Alber Elbaz and many others.

Israel Power WomenPower Women in Israel
Organized by the Tel Aviv Chamber of Commerce and their community partners, the "Meet the Leaders" conference brought together interesting women who have made a career in Israel. (Article in French)


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