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February/March Update

Dear Friends,
 
I hope that despite the severe weather, which has been particularly hard on Ottawa, you have all been having a great winter.  In the meantime, our Kehillah has been busy with programming and activities and is actively planning for a wonderful Purim celebration, bound to please all, on March 20th.  Please sign up here to attend and also to volunteer if you are able.  
 
Rick and I were very fortunate this year to miss most of the snow, as we have been visiting our son and his family in California. I am particularly sorry however to have missed Tamir Shabbat this past weekend, as this is a group that is near and dear to my heart. I am so proud of  our congregation when I witness how we have embraced and welcomed  these individuals to be part of and to actively participate in our weekly services and rituals. 
 
I had a younger brother Gerald, z"l, who was developmentally delayed and who unfortunately passed away many years ago. My parents would have been so happy to see the work that Tamir does, the outcomes it achieves and to witness how accepted and integrated their participants are in Jewish activities within KBI and the community. Sadly, this was very lacking when my brother was growing up.  Yashur koach to Lily and Jerry Penso for their foresight and vision in creating this wonderful organization. 
 
Yashur koach also to Rabbi Zuker and Madelaine Werier for their hard work in getting JOIN- Jewish Ottawa Inclusion Network off the ground. JOIN is a grassroots organization that promotes the inclusion of children with all abilities in our community.  You may have noticed their sensory squad at various events around Ottawa offering sensory break areas at busy community events. KBI has been proud to provide a sensory break area at High Holy Day events, the Chanukah carnival, and other busy events for children.  This gives children and adults with sensory challenges a safe place to take a break during fun but busy events and gatherings in our shul.  JOIN, in partnership with Jewish Federation of Ottawa, Tamir, and Jewish Family Services of Ottawa, will be hosting two fabulous inclusion events as part of 'Pushing the Boundaries: Disability, Inclusion and Jewish Community' in April. On April 2 at 7pm, KBI will host an evening community discussion about disability inclusion featuring inclusion expert Shelly Christensen (founder of JDAIM) and best-selling author Daniel Tammet. On April 3 the conference will be held at the SJCC for all community leadership, volunteers, front-line staff, and anyone interested for a day of learning on the fundamentals of inclusion in our Jewish community. Registration will open soon.
 
In this same spirit of inclusion,  I have been asked by several congregants to please remind everyone during services to try to limit unnecessary conversation so that all may enjoy the experience. As well, please remember our no-scent policy at KBI. There are some members of our congregation who are particularly sensitive to scents. 
 
I'm so pleased to report that our own Rabbi Deborah Zuker has successfully donated a kidney to David Uzan. The surgeries both went well and David's kidney is already working. We are so proud of Rabbi Zuker and thrilled to have her as a leader in our community. Yasher Koach and refuah sheleima!
Finally, as many of you may have already heard, Jane Ehrenworth Shore has alerted me that she has chosen to step down from the board.  In accepting Jane's resignation, I also expressed my gratitude for all of her hard work with our board and congregation.  Her work as chair of our Cantor Search Committee brought us an outstanding new clergy member for our team and her efforts chairing the building committee helped set up the foundation for the Building Our Future Campaign.  Her efforts have played an invaluable role for our congregation and for that she will always have my thanks.  We wish her all the best. 

 
Respectfully submitted, 
Helen Zipes
President, KBI
Tue, 2 June 2020 10 Sivan 5780