5780 has been a challenging year for everyone around the world. It has tested our limits, personally and professionally, as every citizen across the globe was suddenly forced to adjust to the new reality of social distancing, remote working and self-isolation from our friends and extended family.
As we begin to slowly emerge from a global lockdown, we are looking forward to a new beginning. Every new year brings with it new hope and the promise of a new beginning. This year, we are also hoping to an end to the state of the world as we know it at the moment, an end to the pandemic, to the recession, to isolation and social distancing.
Yet we are also celebrating the positive that came out of this alternate state of reality. Personally, we reached out virtually to our loved one on a more regular basis, on Zoom and FaceTime and old-fashioned phone calls. While a zoom call is not at all comparable to a hug or a Shabbat meal around the dining table, today’s technology has allowed us to be there for one another, to feel close to our loved ones from afar.
Professionally, organizations adjusted to the new way of doing business. At Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA, the adjustment has not been without difficulty. We had to restructure our staff and operations in response to the pandemic. But through collaboration and technology, we successfully engaged our national community through webinars and meetings. We stayed connected to our cousins in Israel and to each other as a national community. We are a strong people. When we emerge from this crisis, we will be even stronger. We must remember to lean on each other in future as we have the past 6 months.
One very positive outcome of the pandemic was the production of A Federation Celebration : A Canadian Rosha Hashanah, which brought 11 federations together for the first time to produce a moving and entertaining 40 minute film that celebrated the work of Jewish Federations in good times and bad and the ongoing support of community members like you.
Our hope for 5781 is that we continue to support and appreciate each other, our friends, family and colleagues, and especially those people in our world who we may not know very well but on whom we rely to make our world a better place, like our children’s teachers, health care professionals and all other front line workers.
The high holidays will be different this year, without family gatherings or synagogue for some, but our community is creative and resilient, and we will find ways to be together, whether it’s at a shofar blowing in the park or Kol Nidre on Zoom. Am Echad knows no geographical boundaries.
Wishing you a sweet and healthy 5781.
Michael Frankel Chair
Nikki Holland President & CEO
Arié Levy Interim Director General