Farewell and thanks from CIJA National Co-Chairs
This month has brought much to think about. Many in our community are doing everything they can to help refugees fleeing Ukraine. Some are supporting family and friends in Israel as they brace for another wave of terrorism. Others are caring for loved ones struggling with the latest increase in COVID cases.
Despite these challenges, this month has also brought welcome, even extraordinary, news for the Jewish community of Canada.
In last week’s federal budget, funding was allocated to key CIJA advocacy goals. The Vancouver Jewish Community Centre obtained long-awaited redevelopment funding, and the Montreal Holocaust Museum now has the federal support needed for its relocation and expansion, helping it educate thousands more school children every year about the Holocaust and the dangers of human rights abuses.
The federal government has also committed to combat antisemitism in other ways, by making Holocaust denial a crime in Canada and funding the office of the Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism. These significant wins are proof that, when we work together as a community, we can advance CIJA’s mission to preserve and protect the quality of Jewish life in Canada through advocacy. All these deliverables have long been priorities at CIJA – because you told us they were important to you.
Working for and with you has been a great honour. Last week was one of mixed emotions as we handed over the gavel as Co-Chairs of CIJA’s National Board of Directors. We are grateful to our fellow Board members who served with such distinction and proud of the extraordinary staff who have dedicated their careers to ensuring that Canada remains one of the best countries in the world in which to be Jewish.
We pass the leadership of CIJA to our inspiring new Chair-elect, Gail Adelson-Markovitz from Montreal, who will lead a freshman Board full of big ideas, new perspectives, and diverse talents and who are ready, willing, and able to take on new challenges. Although we are officially departing CIJA, we will continue to support its work, and we leave content, knowing the organization is in such capable hands.
The end of this week is a beginning: the first day of Passover. As we gather around the Seder table, some of us will see children – or grandchildren – newly arrived or grown since our last Passover Seder together.
To help bring some of our advocacy issues into perspective, CIJA has created ‘Four More Questions,’ a complement to the traditional Seder, to explore issues affecting Jews in Canada today. We encourage you to consider these as you celebrate with family.
As we sign off for the final time in our capacity as National Co-Chairs of CIJA, we wish you and your families a happy, peaceful Passover and thank you profoundly for your interest, support, and for everything you do for the Jewish community of Canada.
Chag Pesach sameach,
Joel & Jeff
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