A call to action to the Sephardic community

By Gerard Abitbol
Chair, Sepharade Campaign - Combined Jewish Appeal 2011

We are fortunate to have a thriving and united Sephardic community as part of our Montreal Jewish community. We are over 21,000 people strong, keeping alive our unique traditions, culture and values. We are a dynamic part of Jewish Montreal and we have much to be proud of. But there is so much more that we are capable of.

If only people could see the difference that Combined Jewish Appeal makes, if they could meet the thousands of people whose lives are better because of Federation CJA. When people learn that almost 91 cents of every single dollar raised goes directly to helping those in need, when they learn that this is amongst the highest ratio in the world for any non-profit organization, then we would increase the number of people donating.

If only people would give their time and come serve a meal at Le Café. Then they would meet families who directly benefit from Federation CJA. They would see children and seniors who need their help to get through a tough time. Their hearts would go out to these families and they would have a greater understanding of the needs that exist in our community. Seeing Le Café and the hundreds of meals that are served there every single Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, people would know how far a dollar can be stretched and they would realize the true impact of even a $100 gift – 30 meals to those who desperately need our help.

If only people saw the statistics for our community. They would then realize that over the past few years, the number of Jews living below the poverty line has remained the same, but the number of people in this community who are able to donate has been shrinking. They would see that seniors are the fastest growing segment of our community and we will have to provide additional support to care for this population. If people saw these numbers, analyzed them and interpreted them, they would know the immense challenges that face us for our future.

If only people would take the time to learn about Federation CJA and what it really does for the community. There is probably not one person in this community who has not been touched by Federation, directly or indirectly. If we each took a minute and looked back at our own lives and our community affiliations, we would realize that Federation has probably made a profound impact there, too. Whether it was going to Jewish camp, going on a free trip to Israel, getting help finding a job or feeling supported on campus, Federation CJA and its agencies are here for every single member of our community. We have all benefited from it.

I am grateful to all the people who give of themselves, who give of their time and their money to make this community as outstanding as it is. We have a distinguished history and a remarkable place in Jewish North America. We need more people to get involved to sustain this going forward. We need more people participating, coming on a Mission to Montreal, seeing what’s happening in the community and how Federation CJA helps strengthen us all.

Isn’t being Jewish also about being for one another? If only we all could be, imagine how much more we would be capable of doing for our community.

We welcome your feedback and invite your comments.

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