OTTAWA – Plans are underway for a major exhibit marking the contribution of Jewish people to Canada that will open in Ottawa in 2017 to coincide with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Under the leadership of committee head Tova Lynch, a small group of local volunteers has put together a proposal for what has been named “The Canadian Jewish Experience: A Tribute to Canada” (CJE) and is working hard at developing the various aspects of the project.
“Things are moving quickly,” says Lynch. “Through our partnership with the National Capital Commission [NCC] which manages federal property in Ottawa, we now have an excellent downtown facility. Key people and organizations are coming on board and excitement is building. So we expect to be ready to tell Canada’s Jewish story to thousands and thousands of visitors to the city in 2017.”
The NCC has provided space in a building two blocks from Parliament Hill, in the shadow of the Peace Tower, which is an excellent location for tourists.
Three exhibit designers have been invited to submit estimates for construction of the exhibit and the committee is now actively soliciting funding from both public and private sources.
The estimated cost of the full project is $2.9 million, of which 40 per cent is expected from private sector corporations and government agencies. Fundraising is also targeting individuals, Jewish federations across Canada, private foundations and the corporate world.
In addition to money, organizers are seeking temporary donations of various other items, such as artifacts, medals of Jewish Canadian veterans, photographs, diaries and other appropriate items.
The exhibit will attempt to answer two questions: what has been the effect of the Jews on the identity of Canada, and what has been the effect of Canada on Jewish identity?
Volunteers from across the country will have a wide variety of opportunities to participate in the project, from acting as docents at the exhibit to helping organize cultural events, such as lectures and musical events, around the theme.
The CJE has the support of major Jewish groups, as well as Rabbi Reuven Bulka, rabbi emeritus of Ottawa’s Congregation Machzikei Hadas and a member of the Order of Canada, and Victor Rabinovitch, former longtime president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) and the Canadian War Museum, both of whom are actively involved in the planning, organizing and fundraising.
To donate or volunteer, contact Lynch at [email protected] or 613-680-8820.