Jewish Federations – and the service agencies and community institutions they support – are the central pillar of Jewish life in Canada. Every day, we receive reports about dedicated professionals, volunteers, and lay leaders who are delivering essential services to many in our community who need help.
Across the country, Federations are reaching out to local households to check in, to see how people are coping, and to ensure that their needs are being met. Tens of thousands of phone calls have already been made.
In addition to the direct outreach, there are other important efforts underway.
With the large geographic region to consider, the Atlantic Jewish Council (AJC ) has focused on sharing a variety of helpful on-line programs so community members can engage and connect.
In Montreal, Federation CJA has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to deliver groceries, medication, and other household necessities to those unable to leave homes; and have distributed more than $1M to agencies and community partners on the front lines of this pandemic.
Jewish Federation of Ottawa has created a Facebook group that connects people who need help with those who can provide it. The number of connections made has been both astonishing and gratifying.
Hamilton Jewish Federation is providing kosher meals for vulnerable seniors and families.
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has mobilized more than 1,000 volunteers to make 17,000 phone calls, and have provided 2,500 vulnerable households with much-needed food and supplies.
Winnipeg Federation has raised almost $30,000 in their special community relief fund. The committee is assessing applications from Jewish organizations, including those on the front lines.
Jewish Federation of Edmonton is providing resources and updates to their community and has launched The Virtual Edmonton Jewish Film Festival, a unique, free initiative to keep community members connected with Jewish culture.
As closures were implemented, Calgary Jewish Federation immediately convened local synagogues, JCCs, day schools, and other agencies at weekly virtual meetings as a forum to share issues, questions, and support.
And the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver has invested $500,000 in emergency funding to support high-priority areas including food security, housing, services for seniors, and Jewish education.
This is nowhere near an exhaustive inventory of what the Federation system is doing to help. There is so much more – with new efforts launched daily. Visit your local Federation’s website to learn more.
Thank you! to Jewish community agencies doing so much to care for our most vulnerable.
And Thank you! to the women and men on the front line providing support, comfort, and hope.
Like you, we have been shaken by this pandemic, but knowing that we are part of a nation-wide system doing so much to help is deeply reassuring.
As for CIJA, since the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency, we’ve focused on securing aid for our community from all levels of government. We are proud of the results.
Most recently, on Monday, CIJA CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel, alongside other distinguished leaders, provided testimony to the Canadian House of Commons Finance Committee to outline further concrete steps that government can take to support the charitable and non-profit sectors as they continue to help vulnerable Canadians during this crisis.
While we have concentrated on advocacy, Jewish Federations have provided critical services to those most in need. In order to allow them to re-direct urgently needed funds to front line agencies, Federations have asked CIJA to reduce our spending. So, last week CIJA cut back in all areas, including making the painful decision to temporarily reduce staffing.
We are fully committed to continuing effective advocacy on our community’s behalf during this crisis – and to returning to our usual strength and scope as soon as possible.
Because the scale of this situation is enormous, the demands on Federations are unprecedented. If you are able, we urge you to support your local Federation COVID-19 Emergency Campaign. Your gift will help those most at risk.
We sincerely hope that you, your families, and your friends are safe and well.
|Joel Reitman||Jeffrey Rosenthal|
|Co-Chair, CIJA Board||Co-Chair, CIJA Board|