On a recent Sunday evening, on one of the first beautiful spring days, about 25 members of DJC committees pulled themselves away from their families, gardens, and events around the city to learn, discuss, and plan together. The room (and backyard) were filled with ideas and enthusiasm for improving programming, communication, and welcoming of new (and not-so-new) members at the DJC.
I was struck not only by the wisdom and creativity of the DJC members gathered, but also by the sense of DJC history in the room. As we introduced ourselves, many individuals commented that they were among the founding members of the community, or joined the DJC shortly after it started. So many of these members who helped turn the DJC from an idea and neighbourhood buzz to the vibrant and dynamic community that now exists are still committed volunteers. And making their place in the community are the many newer members, who have jumped in feet-first to contribute to the DJC’s evolving story. Together, these volunteers – who help run the DJC Movie Night, the Fundraising Committee, the Jewish Studies Program, the Accessibility Working Group, and the other 15 or so committees and working groups – dedicate their time, energy , and occasionally a beautiful spring evening, to help sustain and grow our community.
As the DJC continues to define and redefine itself, I believe it’s essential that we maintain dialogue about how to honour our origins and our history while embracing new ideas and new members within our community. We are working on ways to support and connect members to the current programs and activities, for example through the Member Engagement Committee. And we are trying to learn more about new things DJC members want and need from our community (a DJC cemetery? Interfaith weddings?). As we move forward, we need to thoughtfully chart a path that bridges between and complements both the old and the new.
I encourage all members to participate.
Elisabeth Marks, Chair, DJC Board of Directors