It is remarkable to think how rapidly our lives have changed since last March. The 10 months that have passed since the global pandemic shifted from a story in the news to our everyday reality has highlighted and exacerbated many of the challenges that we faced prior to the onset of the pandemic. As newly elected co-presidents of Calgary Jewish Federation (CJF), the challenges before us were, and continue to be, significant. Membership drives and fundraising initiatives have been difficult for all of our community agencies, and we all dearly miss the opportunities to gather together in person, hug our friends and family, and celebrate together.


But in many ways, this major disruption to our lives gives us time to pause and feel grateful for what we do have. The spirit of generosity and community was evident as we made our canvassing calls for this year's UJA campaign. Our Jewish Together Fund inspired new and ongoing donors to step up to assist our community's agencies in the spirit of resilience and strength. Additionally, our agencies and organizations have been adapting to new programming realities with creativity and enthusiasm, using this time to reinvent and reimagine. Kol hakavod to the staff and lay leaders who continue to steward our community's organizations through these uncertain times.


One issue that has been top of mind for many in our community is the rising rhetoric among extremist groups and the growth of antisemitism. This is also an area of concern and focus for the leadership at CJF. Under the guidance of our Community Relations Committee and our Holocaust and Human Rights Education Committee, we continue to address these concerns in concert with our Federation partners throughout Canada, particularly with The Jewish Federation of Edmonton. Our actions include, but are not limited to:


  • Regular participation of CJF leadership in the National Community Security Working Group (CIJA - Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs).
  • Partnership with CIJA on a campaign to stop online hate.
  • Regular communication with local law enforcement, Calgary Police Services' Hate Crimes Coordinator, regional RCMP leadership, and national intelligence officers.
  • Weekly meetings with our Jewish community agencies to discuss any and all security concerns.
  • Ongoing communication with municipal leaders to increase awareness surrounding antisemitism.
  • Ongoing communication with all major provincial political parties to increase awareness of antisemitism and promote policy and education around antisemitism.
  • Ongoing outreach and work with local and regional allies in the fight against racism and discrimination against all marginalized communities.
  • Local and regional social media monitoring conducted by members of our committee.
  • Programming for our Jewish community, and the broader Calgary community, to increase awareness of antisemitism and steps to address the issues.


As you can see, we are busier than we would all like to be handling these concerns. With that said, while our community needs to remain informed and vigilant in the face of hatred, a critical way to win the battle against antisemitism is to live proud Jewish lives, and support our agencies and organizations and each other, as our community always has. Light candles for Shabbat, enjoy the wisdom of our rabbis during Zoom services, participate in JCC online classes, hold onto the optimism that our youth will soon return to camp, our seniors will resume their excursions around the city, and we'll be back sitting at Karen's Café enjoying an Israeli Platter!



Jared Shore and Jordan Balaban

Jared Shore

Jordan Balaban