Everything we do as individuals and as a community will define who we are when this crisis is over. There is a choice to be made to ensure the vibrancy of our Jewish future.
1. Help the vulnerable navigate this crisis safely
No community member experiencing dire need because of the pandemic should be turned away from a Jewish social service agency due to a lack of resources. There is a serious increase in the need for basic living support – food and counselling – and the demands on our social service agencies are skyrocketing. Those who were vulnerable before, are in acute crisis and many who were just getting by are now out of their depth.
Tamir and Hillel Lodge must be given all resources necessary to protect their residents and clients. Extensive infection control protocols, which are not adequately funded by the government, are the new normal until a vaccine is found.
2. Continued access to participation in Jewish life for community members in financial crisis.
No community member – especially a child – should have to lose access to meaningful Jewish activity (be it Jewish education or summer camp) due to temporary job loss or financial devastation because the pandemic.
3. Reimagine the Jewish Superhighway
This crisis has taught us about partnership, cooperation, volunteerism, generosity, and bravery. We learned to hold the line – to buckle down and take care so those more vulnerable are protected. We need to apply these lessons and values to reimagine Ottawa’s Jewish community and our vision of a flourishing Jewish Superhighway, filled with meaningful Jewish journeys, where no one is left behind. We cannot abandon our dreams for our Jewish future.
To do this, we need to sustain funding for communal organizations like the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) and highly successful programs such as Microgrants and PJ Library.