Inspiring our Jewish future

Photo: JFNA

Photo: JFNA

“I am determined to raise my children Jewishly, to give them Jewish experiences. But I could never have afforded to send them to Jewish school, camp, and to Israel without the support of our community.” Wendy, 40, attended Jewish elementary and high school and felt deeply enriched by the experience. She wanted her children to explore their Jewish identity and learn about Jewish history and culture while getting a great education. However, as a stay-at-home mother, she and her husband found the burden of sending three children to Jewish school extremely difficult. Thanks to Federation CJA’s tuition assistance allocation, and its support for summer camping and Israel experiences, Wendy’s children are growing up with a strong foundation of Jewish learning.

In 1917 – the year of the first Combined Jewish Appeal – Montreal’s first Jewish school system was created in order to preserve our culture and our learning. The network has grown over the years and the curriculum and teaching methods have kept pace with rapid societal change. The emphasis on turning out bilingual graduates who can work in French and English in Quebec has grown. What has remained constant is the fundamental mission of providing a strong Jewish education.

Today, the federation continues to ensure accessible and excellent Jewish schools in our community. Donors’ gifts subsidize tuition for more than 50% of the students in Jewish day schools, an annual allocation of $2.975 million. Without this vital assistance many children would find it impossible to attend. Studies have proven that Jewish day school students are most likely to be active participants in the Jewish community as adults so our investment today will pay dividends for decades to come.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of Camp B’nai Brith, our community summer camp. More than 80% of the children and teens who go to camp receive some level of subsidy. Jewish camping provides a cultural island in which Jewish life matters. Every study has shown that intensive camping has a significant and transformative impact on Jewish identity development.

As well, Israel experiences for our youth are proven to strengthen Jewish identity, love of Israel, and love of the Jewish people. They also demonstrate to Israelis that they have an extended family in the international Jewish community. Over the last ten years donors’ gifts have made it possible over 5,500 young Montrealers to visit Israel on Birthright.

Today, Federation CJA makes it possible for more than 6,000 of our youth to benefit each year from Jewish day school, summer camp, and to experience Israel. These experiences translate into a lifetime of involvement with our Jewish community. They are critical for building the Jewish Montreal of the future.

Federation CJA allocated close to $8.5 million for Jewish education and identity to the Bronfman Jewish Education Centre and Bronfman Israel Experience Centre, Camp B’nai Brith, the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centres, Hillel Montréal, Jewish Public Library, Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, and Segal Centre for Performing Arts.