OTTAWA — The Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s 2016 annual campaign kickoff is set for Sept. 9 at Centrepointe Theatre, and this year will see changes in both the event’s format and its organizational structure.
In keeping with the theme “L’Dor v’dor: From Generation to Generation – Inspiring and Empowering Future Generations,” the federation reached out to the Ben-Gurion Society, a networking forum for young members of the Ottawa Jewish community who have committed to donate a minimum of $1,000 to the annual campaign and to engage in leadership roles as well.
Ben-Gurion Society members enthusiastically embraced the challenge of taking on the planning and organizing of the campaign kickoff event. Two members – Tamara Fathi and Stacy Goldstein – stepped forward to oversee the committee, but all members have been taking part, the co-chairs said.
Rather than the traditional guest speaker format, the Ben-Gurion Society chose to present a variation on the well-known TED Talks format, calling it “FED Talks” and featuring three young speakers. Marc Kielburger, the social entrepreneur, best-selling author and co-founder of We to Me and Free the Children; Allison Josephs, founder and director of the Orthodox website Jew in the City; and Canadian comedian Jon Steinberg will educate, inspire and entertain with their various messages.
“The speakers are all young, but the content applies to everyone. The message is universal,” said federation president and CEO Andrea Freedman.
“We are so excited that our emerging leaders are taking the initiative and are in charge. We are also very hopeful that the rest of the community will come out and that our veteran leaders will show their support,” Freedman added.
Fathi was the recipient of the 2014 Freiman Family Young Leadership Award, which recognizes a person under the age of 40 who has been an exemplary volunteer in the Ottawa Jewish community.
“We are really striving to continue in our parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps to shape the future of this community,” she said of her fellow Ben-Gurion Society members.
“The FED Talks idea seemed to be a novel idea that would appeal to a broad audience. It will be somewhat traditional, but with enough of a difference to appeal to the next generation, too.”
Fathi’s sentiments were echoed by Goldstein who, along with her husband Michael, recently joined the Ben-Gurion Society.
“Giving at that level to the federation is a newer step for me and Michael, but we strongly support its work, and we want to lead by example for our Emerging Gen peers that giving generously to tzedakah is something that we can and should be doing now rather than relying on an older generation to support our tzedakah organizations,” Goldstein said.
“Hopefully this format will attract the attention of our friends and peers at that same age and stage as we are and this will impress upon them that communal leadership is something that we can and should be doing right now – not in 10 or 20 years from now, but right now,” she added.
“We’re just really looking forward to seeing everyone at campaign kickoff on Sept. 9. It’s going to be a great night where we’re all going to learn a lot and laugh a lot and hopefully get the campaign off to a great start!”