Dear friends,

We are writing an early Shabbat greeting as tomorrow is a holiday. 

Firstly, I want to express a heartfelt Mazal Tov and profound gratitude to Evelyn Silverman for her unwavering dedication over the past two years as a co-chair of our Annual Campaign. Alongside Gary Viner, she has tirelessly championed Jewish Ottawa and helped raise an extraordinary $5M for the Campaign, as well as an additional $3.5M for the Emergency Fund for the People of Israel. The positive impact of Evelyn’s endeavours will resonate for years to come, and for this, we are profoundly thankful.

We are proud to go from strength to strength, as Evelyn passes the torch to long-time community leader Leila Ages who takes on the role of co-chair alongside Gary for the 2025 Annual Campaign. These exceptional individuals inspire all of us; they exemplify the essence of community stewardship, selflessly dedicating their time and efforts towards the advancement of our community and the preservation of our Jewish values.

Indeed, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa owes much of its success to the unwavering support and dedication of our volunteers. They are the lifeblood of our organization, the driving force behind our communal endeavours, fortifying us and propelling us towards greater heights.

In recognition of the invaluable contributions of community volunteers, the Federation annually bestows Community Service Awards upon our esteemed volunteers during the Annual General Meeting. This year, we are privileged to present three awards: 

  • Rabbi Reuven Bulka Shem Tov Community Volunteer Award
  • Freiman Family Young Leadership Award and the Lawrence Greenberg Young Leadership Development Award
  • The Jewish Communal Professional Leadership Award

Do you know someone deserving of such recognition? We encourage you to nominate them for a Community Award! The awards celebrate the exemplary service of individuals who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to Jewish Ottawa.

PJ Library Pay-it-Forward …

Federation is proud of creating a Jewish Superhighway that ensures meaningful Jewish experiences for all. One of the first access points of contact for young families is PJ Library. In fact, since the program’s inception in Ottawa, 88,895 free Jewish-themed books have been mailed to Ottawa children! Currently, 700 children in Ottawa receive a free, Jewish-themed book each month. The books are in addition to the impactful programs that enable families to meet one another, and that bring Jewish holidays, traditions, and values to life. 

Most recently, our talented Federation Young Adults & Families Manager, Michael Reznick, organized an initiative to connect families through Purim Mishloach Manot. More than 40 families from Gatineau to Barrhaven, and from Vanier to Stittsville exchanged Purim gift bags impacting more than 70 children, and fostering a beautiful sense of community and belonging. 

One of the highlights of the PJ Library program is its accessibility. There is no subscription cost to participating families, ensuring that enriching Jewish experiences and books are available to all. While Federation takes pride in welcoming every family, our ability to sustain this program relies on the generosity of local donors. Thanks to last year's contributions, we were able to welcome 174 new children into the PJ Library family. 

If you are one of the thousands who have benefitted from and know the value and joy these books bring to our children, we would appreciate your support. For only $8 a month, you can join the Pay-it-Forward initiative and help bring Jewish values, traditions and storytelling to more families. (Visit this link and select the “monthly donor” option.)

Sharing Hope and Support for the Hostages & their Families 

On October 7, 2023, Hamas took hundreds of Israelis and others hostage. Many remain in captivity. For this reason, Federation has joined a project to show the hostages and their families our solidarity and support. We have created notebooks, one for each hostage still held in captivity, where community members are invited to add messages of support and hope. The books will be circulated in the community to allow as many people as possible to sign. Once ready, they will be delivered to the families in Israel with the help of the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa. 

The notebooks will be available to be signed at the Soloway JCC next week. For more information, please get in touch with me at

Wishing all of our friends celebrating Easter this weekend, a happy and meaningful holiday. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Sarah Beutel

Interim CEO

Upcoming events

Join Jewish Federations and the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on Tuesday, April 2 at 1:30 pm ET to explore the impact of the ongoing war in Israel on the country's economy. Delve into the dramatic shifts in economic priorities prompted by the October 7 terrorist attack and subsequent conflict, as securing resources for the war effort and civilians' immediate needs, supporting essential industries, and maintaining basic infrastructure have become paramount. Speakers include Prof. Karnit Flug, former Governor of the Bank of Israel and IDI’s Vice President of Research. Register here.

Irena’s Vow: In partnership with Ben Gurion University Canada, the Shoah Committee of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa is pleased to invite you to a special pre-screening of Irena’s Vow, on April 3 at 7 pm, at 3090 Carling Ave., Cineplex Cinemas Ottawa. The film follows the remarkable journey of 19-year-old Irene Gut Opdyke, a Polish nurse who bravely sheltered 12 Jewish workers in a German commandant’s home during the Second World War. Get tickets here.

Join us on April 7 at 2 pm on Zoom for "In the Wake of War: Israeli Women's Heroic Journey Toward Healing a Nation," featuring Orit Sulitzeanu, the executive director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel). Israeli women have emerged as beacons of hope and agents of change in times of crisis. The event will explore the overlooked narratives of these women amid the tumult of war and widespread sexual violence of the terror attack. 

Register here.