As we are about to embark on another new year, a new Annual Community Campaign, and, for me, six incredible years in Hamilton, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Hamilton Jewish community for your unconditional support and for strengthening and sustaining Jewish life in our city. Your generosity makes it possible for the Hamilton Jewish Federation to provide support in virtually every type of Jewish moment. In times of crisis and in times of calm, we’re building community and changing lives.
This past year has not been without its challenges. Like many in our community, we are alarmed by rising political tensions in Israel and what it means for Israelis, as well as Jews worldwide. It’s been important for us to remind the community that Jewish Federations’ commitment to strengthening the ties between Israel and North American Jewry is an eternal one, and the bonds that unite our two communities are unbreakable. Our love and commitment to the Jewish State and people of Israel transcends any policy or government action. With the incredible turnout at our community’s celebration of Israel’s 75th birthday last spring, it’s clear to us, that many of you feel the same.
Other memorable moments Federation facilitated over the last year include the Hamiton Jewish Film Festival, the Marvin Caplan Jewish Book Festival, Pride Shabbat to name a few. Federation’s JWelcome Home Hamilton initiative is also having a significant impact. This initiative brought 44 young Jewish families to Hamilton between 2020 and 2022, and an additional 13 families in 2023. Federation’s inaugural #nomoreantisemitism conference held last fall in downtown Hamilton inspired countless important and meaningful conversations about the disturbing rise in global antisemitism. It also served to put Hamilton on the global stage, raise awareness and inspire action against hatred and discrimination here in Hamilton.
Then there was the moment we understood that last year’s Annual Community Campaign exceeded all our expectations, raising more than $2 million, to make it possible for us and our agency partners are able to provide a safety net for our most vulnerable, a lively cultural life, education and camp experiences for our children.
The goal of the Hamilton Jewish Federation is to touch the lives of every member of our community and to connect them with each other, and with fellow Jews around the world. Together with our network of beneficiary agencies, Federation provides a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens and support services which vitally enrich their quality of life. We work to strengthen our community for now and for generations to come.
Our overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), are on the ground when crisis strikes. They were there the day war broke out in Ukraine—assessing, adapting, and responding to the urgent needs on the ground, helping millions of people who were forced to flee their homes, communities, and countries to recover, resettle, and rebuild broken lives.
Your gift to this year’s Annual Community Campaign will ensure that we can continue to meet the urgent, ongoing humanitarian and social service needs of Jews locally and globally, to strengthen our community’s relationship with Israel, to grow Jewish education and identity, and to counter antisemitism. Fueled by donors like you, the Annual Campaign helps create countless impactful moments here in Hamilton and for people around the world. Moments to feel proud, moments to celebrate, moments to learn, to help and to get involved. Moments that keep our community going, moments that connect us to tradition and inspire the next generation.
At Federation we are committed to creating moments that build and sustain our flourishing Jewish community. We work to protect our Jewish community from violent antisemitism, securing our synagogues, day schools, and other Jewish institutions. We combat all forms of antisemitic and anti-Israel activity wherever they appear. And we raise our voices and advocate on City Hall and Parliament Hill for critical legislation and funding to protect ourselves and every group targeted by hate.
With your support, we can have an impact on countless more moments. Your renewed commitment to Hamilton Jewish Federation ensures that individuals and families who need us now more than ever can get the vital help they need in the moments they need it most.
Make this moment a special one.
Shana tova u’metukah to you and yours.