Federation CJA West Island: Bringing community together

FEDERATION CJA - WEST ISLAND | BANLIEUE OUEST

Services and programs available on the West Island
1825
Prime Time
Ometz services
Yom Ha’atzmaut
Camp B’nai Brith
YM-YWHA-Jewish Community Centres
Bronfman Israel Experience Centre
Hillel at John Abbott
West Island Jewish Family Learning Centre
Tikun Olam Volunteers (TOV)

By Kathy Lempert, Chair, West Island Executive Committee & Maia Cooper, Director, Federation CJA West Island

Bringing the Jewish community of the West Island together is the objective of Federation CJA West Island. We opened our branch in the Westpark district of Dollard-des-Ormeaux in 2006 because we recognized the need for more services and a thirst for more Jewish-themed activities within one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in North America.

Every week, we receive calls from people who can’t afford to feed their families, pay their rent, send their children to Jewish day school, or provide a summer camp experience to their children. The people we help every day are our neighbours, our relatives, our friends. They are people who come to community in the hope that they are not alone. And what they discover is that they are, in fact, not alone at all. As a Jewish people, we are one, and we are for one another.

We harnessed all the strengths of Federation CJA’s resources, consulted with West Islanders to learn what they were seeking in a community network, and moved to provide it for them. Today, we serve as a catalyst, offering a full slate of programs and wide array of services directly to West Islanders from a location close to where they live. This has encouraged more people to become involved in our community, to connect with their Jewish identity, and to reinforce their sense of belonging to something that is genuinely special.

Our approach is to respect each individual’s personal approach to their Jewish identity and to support their efforts to connect with our community.

Along with our family of agencies, we are also reaching out to more seasoned West Islanders, people who moved to the area decades ago, raised their families, and have retired here. Furthermore, there is a growing number people aged 50+, who are moving to the West Island to be closer to their children and grandchildren. For them, there is an exciting initiative called Prime Time, which serves seniors of all ages and walks of life. Interestingly, the West Island population between the ages of 65 and 74 has increased by 126% since 2001, many of whom are still extremely active. Those who are less active now have access to resources that have long been available at our traditional location in Montreal.

Our building at 96 Roger Pilon has become a hub for Jewish life on the West Island. From here, we partner with other institutions and provide a warm welcome to all.


1825

Photo : Rina Friedman

It’s a myth that young people are apathetic. For the past five years, 1825 has been creating opportunities for young adults in the West Island between the ages of, yes, 18 and 25. Through hands-on volunteer opportunities and creative programs and activities, young Jews are engaged in the community. Every year, a menu of fun and inspiring programs connect West Island youth with each other and with their roots, and they get to do so “right in their own backyard.” Recent events include Shabbat Dinners, Hockey Nights, Chocolate Seders and Mind Readers. For information about events happening in 2011, contact Stu Guttman at 514.624.5005, ext. 225 or stuart.guttman@federationcja.org


Prime Time

Photo : Rina Friedman

Photo : Rina Friedman

Prime Time, a West Island initiative of the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors (CJCS) is the perfect place for boomers to have fun, develop new skills, explore ideas and meet new people. Committed to enhancing the quality of life of the 50+ community, Prime Time is a volunteer-based program that offers a wide choice of courses, services and solutions. In both the evening and daytime hours, it offers a variety of programs such as bridge, mah-jongg, bowling, a stimulating lecture series, and Judaic arts and crafts activities. Prime Time also offers a variety of clubs and social groups, among them: Flying Solo: a group of active 55+ singles looking to meet new people by participating in exciting activities. Prime Time also has programming for the elder senior, such as a weekly drop-in centre, Chanukah parties, and trips to Cummings Centre on Westbury. For more information on what Prime Time has to offer, please contact Ellen Tock at 514.624.5005, ext. 230 or ellen.tock@cummingscentre.org.


Ometz services

Ometz

Ometz, the Jewish community’s social service agency, offers a wide range of services at its office in the Federation CJA West Island facility, as well as in a number of other West Island locations. Information, referral, counselling and family mediation, as well as employment and immigration consultations are available. School support services to families and children are provided to Hebrew Foundation School as well as a number of day care centres. For more information contact Brenda Rodier at 514.290.2122 or Brenda.rodier@ometz.ca.


Yom Ha’atzmaut

Photo : Howard Kay

Photo : Howard Kay

Federation CJA West Island annually hosts a family-oriented outdoor celebration on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day. Israeli music and food are featured, children enjoy face-painting and games, and the community comes together in a carnival-like atmosphere to mark the day the Jewish people realized their long-awaited dream of a state to call their own. An agency showcase is an opportunity for our family of agencies to meet with members of the community and inform them about the services available to them on the West Island. It is a great opportunity for everyone in community to come together to celebrate, learn and have fun at the same time.

This year, Yom Ha’atzmaut will be celebrated on the afternoon and evening of Tuesday, May 10.


Camp B’nai Brith

Photo : CBB

Photo : CBB

Jewish overnight camping is a popular option for West Island parents and their children. For over 90 years, Camp B’nai Brith has been the ideal place for children to learn new skills, become more independent, gain self esteem, and meet new friends in a warm Jewish environment. A unique “Ambassadors program” has families of CBB campers inviting you to join them for an informal evening to meet one of the directors and learn more about this wonderful camp. Whether your children have gone to camp before, or this will be their first camp adventure, Camp B’nai Brith offers a unique and exciting experience. Information sessions are being held at Federation CJA West Island and by CBB families in your neighbourhood. For a schedule of the dates and locations, please call 514.735.3669.


YM-YWHA-Jewish Community Centres

Photo : Courtesy of West Island JCC

Photo : Courtesy of West Island JCC

The Jewish Community Centre at 13100 Gouin Blvd is an integral part of Jewish life on the West Island and touches the lives of every member of the community with its range of educational, physical, cultural and recreational activities. There are early childhood and parent and tot programs, summer day camps, after-school activities, Jewish heritage programming, special Jewish holiday events for families, and fitness classes for children, youth and adults. Its innovative Public Spaces program brings celebrations of Jewish culture to non-traditional locations, from presenting Chanukah book readings for children at the West Island Chapters store to celebrating Jewish holidays with food sampling at the local Loblaw’s outlet, and Israeli dancing in local parks. For further information, call 514.624.6750 or visit www.ymywha.com.


Bronfman Israel Experience Centre

BIEC

The Bronfman Israel Experience Centre (BIEC) helps to connect our youth and young adults to their Jewish identity through meaningful and engaging Israel experience programs and informal Jewish education. BIEC is responsible for Taglit Birthright Israel, a free 10-day tour of Israel during which thousands of young Jewish individuals hike the mountains, swim in the sea, visit the Western Wall, and party in Tel Aviv. The March of the Living, an educational journey that delves into the tragic past of the Jewish people in Poland and rejoices in the Jewish present and future in Israel, is another popular BIEC program for high-school students and young adults. Beyond the Israel experiences, BIEC is a resource for outreach initiatives which include, but are not limited to, an extensive leadership development program, Hebrew classes, sports programs, arts and culture, and many others. West Island participants receive the interviews and preparatory sessions at the Federation’s West Island facility. For more information contact Mandy Gillman at 514.345.6449, ext. 3221 or mandy.gillman@bjec.org.


Hillel at John Abbott

College John Abbott

Hillel offers its Jewish students a wide range of programming opportunities on campus. It is a place where one can get involved in a range of activities, from leadership development to Israel advocacy, social action to social events. Hillel offers students a way to connect with one another, not only on the John Abbott campus, but with other Hillels on other campuses as well. For more information contact Tara Kaufman at 514.738.2655 or tara@hillel.ca, or visit www.hillel.ca.


West Island Jewish Family Learning Centre

Photo : Avi Charszan

Photo : Avi Charszan

The West Island Jewish Family Learning Centre offers young families Jewish programming in an unconventional fashion. For example, an on-going series presents the Ten Commandments in a distinctly modern way: “Thou shalt not kill” was set in the context of an interactive murder mystery evening. Shabbat dinners have brought families together and built a genuine feeling of community for many people who had not previously been involved in communal Jewish activities. The atmosphere of these Family Learning Centre get-togethers encourages people who might feel inhibited by their lack of Jewish knowledge to join in. For many, it serves as their first formal introduction to adult and family Jewish learning. Through this virtual centre, lasting friendships and stronger connections to Jewish values and culture are forged. Upcoming events include the launch event of 2011, “The Israel/Havdallah Experience” on January 29, followed by “Til Death Do Us Part” in April (about the “Thou shall not commit adultery” commandment), and “The Key to Honouring Your Father and Mother” in May. See the community calendar at www.federationcja.org for these and other West Island events. This program is presented in collaboration with GEN J and the Bronfman Jewish Education Centre (BJEC). For more information, contact Cheryl Bender at 514.624.5005, ext. 229 or cheryl@genj.ca.


Tikun Olam Volunteers (TOV)

Photo : Avi Charszan

Photo : Avi Charszan

Tikun Olam Volunteers is a hands-on volunteering experience that began with Women’s Philanthropy and has been embraced by the entire Federation, including the West Island. The idea behind TOV is that volunteers get a first-hand opportunity to help those who depend on Federation CJA and its family of agencies to improve the quality of their lives. TOV offers people short-term volunteer experiences that engage them with their community in a meaningful way. For more information contact 514.624.5005.

Explore the brand new Federation CJA West Island web page for in-depth details about the West Island Jewish community. An up-to-date calendar keeps you informed about exciting programs and upcoming events. Visit www.federationcja.org/westisland.