Now is the time to do more

November 2023
Steven Shulman

All of us have heard that the war between Israel and Hamas is a fight for Israel’s survival. That’s not just a statement about Israel’s ability to secure families in their own homes; it’s a statement about the need to ensure that Israel’s civil society will recover and grow stronger. 

The question is, what can we do? 

Expressions of solidarity in the form of organizing and attending community rallies, supporting advocacy efforts, reaching out to our Israeli friends and family—all these are important steps.

We all have friends and coworkers who are not Jewish and, like most Canadians, are of goodwill. Reach out. We can’t assume our neighbours understand the situation, trauma suffered by Israelis, and their need for security, as well as the shared values between the Canadian people and the Israeli people. As proud Canadian Jews, you are the most effective potential bridge to understanding.

Support your Hamilton Jewish Federation campaign. The community’s need for Federation’s leadership is greater today than ever. There is urgency on security and advocacy, as well as the critical need for the Federation to lead in the Jewish community’s resilience, working with synagogues, schools, and all organizations. That takes money. Now is the time to increase or make your first generous gift.

Israel and the Jewish people have not faced such an emergency since 1948. If ever there were a time to reach into your pockets and accounts, as deeply as possible, this is it. The people of Israel need your help, now, and the most effective way to do so is by supporting Hamilton Jewish Federation‘s Israel Emergency Campaign. 

So far, Hamilton has been very generous, raising more than $1.1 million. Hamilton is doing its part in Canadian federations’ efforts, which so far total more than $125 million. These dollars have been raised in communities large, medium, and small. The amount raised, and growing, is a recognition of incomparable need, trust in federations, and reflects the deep bond Canadian Jews have with the people of Israel.

Canadian charities law prohibits funding any military outside of Canada. 

So what do your Hamilton Jewish Federation donations support? The people of Israel and civil society are in desperate need. Your funds support The Jewish Agency‘s Victims of Terror Fund. With more than 1,200 murdered, thousands wounded, and thousands more family members affected, Hamilton’s funds provide immediate and ongoing financial needs and professional supports to access all available services. 

Together, our funds are helping special populations like families of hostages, seniors living in the confrontation zone, and new immigrants. They are traumatized and require respite, extra services, and care. 

There are now more than 250,000 evacuees living in temporary residences from the south and the north who we are helping with essentials. We are also providing emergency medical equipment in hospitals, ambulances, and other mobile units. And, critically, we are ensuring trauma relief on a broad scale.

This list could change overnight, and Hamilton Federation, working with Jewish Federations Canada-UIA (JFC-UIA)  will be able to respond to ensure the most effective use of funds. That’s because JFC-UIA is providing a constant assessment of needs on the ground with our team in Israel.

Cadence is critical. This emergency will not be over in the next month or two, when most of the fundraising will be done. Federation’s approach is to ensure that funds are provided for immediate emergency needs now; in the medium term when the Israeli people, communities, and society transition toward normalcy; and for the longer-term recovery ensuring that the people of Israel and their communities build back better.

Every Israeli has been directly affected. My colleagues exemplify that story. Eddy Azran, Toronto Federation’s representative in Sderot, fought off Hamas terrorists on his kibbutz close to the Gaza border. Meytal Novidomsky, responsible for Canada’s Coast to Coast federations’ partnership in the north, has been evacuated from her home because of Hezbollah’s rockets. A daughter of Sarah Mali, JFC-UIA’s Israel Director General, has a best friend who was married for fewer than three months on Oct. 7. Her husband was murdered, leaving a 20-year-old widow. The list goes on.

Jews are under attack. Jews here and in Israel are responding. Now is the time to do more than we have ever done before. We will do it together. 

Am Yisrael Chai.