Dear friends

As we welcome May and Jewish Heritage Month, we embrace this opportunity to highlight the beauty of our heritage and our local Jewish community. Over the month of May and beyond, we will be sharing the inspiring stories and amazing accomplishments, big or small, of our community members. 

When I think back over time, to the many ways that our community has overcome significant challenges with courage and resilience, it inspires me to continue to do my part in the supporting our Jewish community. Just as those before us have laid the groundwork for our vibrant Jewish community in Canada and in here in Ottawa, so must we continue to build and find opportunities to celebrate our unique Jewish heritage

Please join our initiative!

Submit a story here so that we can continued to inspired by our community.

I write this today, as my thoughts are with my four children who are studying in Canadian universities. They, together with their friends and all Jewish students at universities and many colleges, have now endured two semesters of protests, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist signage and rhetoric, which have morphed into encampments at various Canadian universities including here at the University of Ottawa. I know my children and their friends would rather be focused on their studies and other regular campus activities without having to navigate the very ugly hatred targeting Jews and Israel. I wish for them a future where tolerance and respect for differences are not just slogans, but are embodied ideals. 

Hillel Ottawa’s student leadership and staff along with Jewish faculty and the Jewish Federation, have been in communication with the University of Ottawa administration to ensure they are aware of how this encampment targeting Israel and Jews is unacceptable. I am sure you join me in letting the Jewish students and faculty know that they are not alone, that we see what is happening, that we appreciate all their efforts to have their voices and needs heard and respected. The Jewish Federation of Ottawa and CIJA, together with our partners, will continue to support Jewish students on campuses in any way that we can. 

Please join this action campaign in support of legislation aimed at addressing racism and hate on college and university campuses. This bill would make it mandatory for every post-secondary institution in Ontario to implement an anti-hate policy. 

Add your voice!

The “Yoms”

Over the next two weeks the Jewish people will commemorate and celebrate three pivotal events that resonate deeply with our culture, history, and heritage.

Firstly, Holocaust Remembrance Day honours the survivors of the Shoah, and the memory of the six million who perished in one of history’s darkest chapters. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of tolerance, understanding, and an unwavering stance against injustice. Join us for a community-wide commemoration this Sunday at 7 pm at the Soloway JCC. Registration is required. For details about this moving event, please visit here.

Next, we pay homage to the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism on Yom Hazikaron. Now more than ever, it is a time for reflection, gratitude, and solidarity with those who sacrificed their lives to defend the State of Israel and safeguard our people. Registration is also required. Please visit here.

Finaly we will mark Israel’s Independence Day, celebrating the establishment of the modern State of Israel. The transition from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha'Atzmaut encapsulates the essence of Israel's journey as a nation - from the pain of loss to the joy of independence. This is a testament to the resilience, strength, and spirit of the Israeli people, who have overcome countless challenges to build and preserve our ancestral homeland.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut will be marked in Ottawa by two events, including a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave West, on May 14 at 10 am, and a family-friendly party at the Soloway JCC

Find out more about all the Yoms here.

I hope you will join me in this month of remembrance, celebration, and heritage, in honouring our past, cherishing our heroes, and looking forward to a future filled with hope, unity, and peace.

Shabbat Shalom,

Sarah Beutel