Passover has always been my favourite Holiday. I look forward to being surrounded by my family and close friends to celebrate our heritage and partake in the Seder. While reading the Haggadah we celebrate our freedom from slavery and acknowledge the inherent value of each individual, which is so fundamental to everything we believe in as a community. Judaism is very much anchored in the importance of each and every person participating in community life. This has always been a source of tremendous strength for us. Although I am disappointed that we will not be able to have guests at our Seder this year, I am encouraged by the arrival of spring and the increased pace of the vaccination rollout here in Quebec—a sign that we are about to turn the corner.
This year has certainly highlighted the importance of the connections which give meaning to our lives. I believe the community needs a strong vibrant MontrealJewish Community Centre where these connections can be nurtured. This is why I have decided to dedicate my time and energy to the continuity of this important organization. Our Y serves as a second home for many within our community. It represents the rich diversity of our community and welcomes members regardless of age, ability, level of religiosity, socioeconomic status, language, gender, sexual orientation or cultural background.
We are excited that we are opened—slowly and in a way that will ensure your safety. We encourage you to come back to the Y as a member, for your physical and mental health, participate in our programming, join our amazing fundraising events, volunteer and donate.
We recently completed a major renovation of our facilities thanks to our very generous benefactor, Sylvan Adams. Our state-of-the-art welcome center and fitness facilities will be ready for your arrival.In a few months, I hope you will join us in our new restaurant cafe, renovated thanks to the generosity of the Segal family.
Strategic & Sustainability Plan:
The Board of Directors and Professional leadership have been hard at work to ensure we emerge from this pandemic stronger than before. We have run a strategic planning process and, together with consultants from EY, have developed a Sustainability Report to guide us. The report is a very comprehensive roadmap to a thriving MontrealJewish Community Centre. The key takeaway is the recognition of the need for a major transformation of our organization to meet the evolving needs of the community. We are working to strengthen our relationship with our community partners such as Federation CJA, Jewish Community Foundation, Communauté Sépharade Unifié du Québec, Segal Center, Azrieli Schools, Ometz and other agencies within and beyond the Jewish community.
We have a new mission, vision and values statement that firmly position us and will guide us as we work to transform the Y.
Our Mission is to provide a welcoming, engaging and inclusive Jewish Environment, where all members of the community can participate in social, athletic, and hands-on learning activities. We encourage physical health, Jewish culture, and Jewish identity. On our campuses, people can connect with each other, and build a sense of community.
Our Vision is to be Montreal’s Jewish Community Centre; and inclusive and vital platform for Jewish identity, belonging, and well-being.
Our Values are:
• Commitment to Community (Kehila)
• Preserving Jewish Tradition, Identity and Culture (Massoret Yehudit, Zehut and Tarbut)
• Belonging and Inclusion (Koulanu Yachad)
• Health and Wellness (B’riyut)
From goals to actions:
Our goals are supported by actions that will be measured and evaluated by our professionals and Board. We will bring a renewed focus to customer service. We will be agile and responsive to our members and deliver the services they want in a warm and welcoming environment. We will focus on being the inclusive Jewish centre of the community. Our restaurant will be kosher so all can feel comfortable sitting down and enjoying a coffee or a meal. We have received a grant to develop and deliver a pluralistic Jewish after school curriculum. Our camps will teach our children experientially to be proud of our heritage, our culture, our people and the land of Israel. We will look to develop more relevant Judaic programming ourselves and with other community partners. We will prioritize Jewish values; improving health and wellness (“a strong mind in a strong body”); preserving Jewish identity through our learning initiatives and youth programs, such as BBYO, Diller and our camps; deepening our commitment to community; and expanding our welcome to those that need us most, including our inclusion services.
Maximizing our Assets:
We must capitalize on our largest assets – our city block campus of 300,000 square feet and our gorgeous, sprawling YCC property. We are currently in discussions to bring other organizations into our city campus, which will advance our goal of becoming the centre of Jewish life in Montreal. With a very dedicated team of lay and professional leaders, we have already entirely reimagined our model for camp. We will be returning to our roots, enhancing our Jewish content, taking advantage of our spectacular property with 3 private lakes and safely building our hiking and tripping offering within our very own property. It is our intent to welcome young Jewish Montrealers to enjoy a Jewish camping experience, which for many serves as one of the most profound Jewish identity-building experiences. We will then engage those children the other 10 months of the year here in the Sylvan Adams Y building. We will run YCC in the country and in the city with our YCC day camps—the day camps serving as a feeder to our residential camp.
I would like to invite you to get involved, become a member and participate in our events. With your support, we will emerge stronger than ever and at the Centre of our Montreal Jewish Community.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Y Foundation and our Board of Trustees, for their unwavering commitment to the Y and for their support in our efforts to achieve our goals.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, our professionals and my family, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families good health and wellness and a very Happy Passover. Chag Sameach!
Tina Apfeld Rosenthal
President, Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA