The DJC Community – Responding in Times of Challenge

Dear DJC Community, 

Together, we can face the challenges and suffering of these difficult times. Together, we can build beauty and close connection, enact justice and cultivate new wisdom in response.  Together we are the DJC our vibrant, inclusive, innovative and engaging Jewish community. We need each other in order to move forward with strength.

Here are a few of the ways the DJC has been responding to the current challenges:

  • In the face of separation and isolation, we made phone calls to our members, offering support to our most vulnerable members, including delivering Kosher for Pesach food to those who couldn’t shop.
  • Rabbi Miriam increased her pastoral care hours to respond to those who are struggling emotionally or spiritually.
  • We acted quickly to move all our programming online, finding creative ways to be together in community, celebration, support and learning, including:    
    •  an interactive Pesach Seder and community-led Shavuot workshops
    •  a magnificent group bnei-mitzvah service for 6 students with over 300 households in attendance  from around the world;
    •  a curated evening of community story-telling;            
    •  Bi-weekly prayer and song gatherings, ensuring that members in mourning can say kaddish in community; and much more.        
  • The DJC Social Justice Committee turned general feelings of hopelessness into concrete action and hosted an on-line public talk on climate change with Dr. Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s former Environmental Commissioner, as well as kicked off a letter writing campaign to our politicians.
  • We concluded this year’s Jewish Studies Program on-line with creative classes and activities.    
  • We developed a Tech Team to ensure the best quality and safety for our on-line programs and to provide tech support to members who need more guidance accessing our programs.     
  • We are planning High Holyday programming that will not simply replicate what we do in person, but will build unique outdoor and online options for all ages, engaging wider community leadership and creativity. 

Uniting our individual efforts, with shared Jewish commitments to tzedek (justice), chochmah (wisdom) and chesed (lovingkindness), can effect transformative change –  

“Ever since watching the horror of Charlottesville, Michael and Sandra felt the need for a deeper connection with our Jewish heritage. After hearing the rabbi speak, we realized that there was a comfort and sense of belonging that came with being part of a Jewish group. The Social Justice committee has opened the door to engagement: as I joined an anti-hate committee and participated in a workshop to develop a refugee support organization for private sponsors. Through the SJC, we feel the comfort of being part of a principled, caring, committed group of people, bringing us unexpected fulfillment and connection to our Jewish heritage. The DJC empowers our connections with other social justice activities.”

None of our community’s work can continue without your support. Our sustainability as a year-round Jewish community depends on your Membership and your participation. Your Membership pays for so much more than High Holyday services.

Your Membership ensures that:

  • The salaries of our staff are secure – our Rabbi, Cantor, Director of Education, Director of Administration, Communications Manager and our Jewish Studies and Bnei Mitzvah teachers. 
  • The DJC remains accessible and welcoming tothose who cannot afford the full cost of membership, the Jewish Studies Program or the Bnei Mitzvah program, especially as more people are facing financial hardship.
  • We can do the extra work required to create moving and meaningful services and lifecycle rituals online despite being physically separated – including Bnei mitzvah, brit milah/brit bat (covenant ceremonies for babies) and shiva services.
  • We enhance the range of ways we to stay connected with one another; get to know each other more deeply; matter to each other and show up for one another; and discover how to keep growing and thriving as an interdependent Jewish community while other institutions are unraveling.    
  • We are able to sustain the vibrant future of East-end progressive, inclusive, justice-engaged and spiritually enlivened Jewish living and learning, teaching the skills and insights we need to meet the challenges ahead.     

“I never needed the DJC so much. I did not even realize this. I was homebound and scared because of the pandemic. I was not sure where to turn and then I received a call from a DJC volunteer.  I felt connected.  I am still anxious but it helps me to know I can reach out to Rabbi Miriam or the Chesed Caring Committee for support.”

In the past, this letter and the High Holyday postcard included information about purchasing individual tickets. For all the reasons we share above, we want to encourage those who usually buy single tickets to consider becoming a DJC Member. If you are a member we want you to renew and if you have the means, please consider contributing in ways you may not have before. 

This year, the DJC goes global! Consider inviting your extended family and friends from around the world to be online with you at the DJC for High Holydays and throughout the year. With our new connectivity anyone, anywhere, can fully participate and benefit from Membership.  

As you consider your membership and the level of your contribution in the range and beyond, you may be interested to know that your extra contribution of:

  • $360  helps fund a guest speaker on important issues like Climate Change and Social Justice    
  • $500  supportsmembership for an Individual/Single Parent (one adult & dependent children)  
  • $1,050  funds a music-filled Shabbat service with Rabbi Miriam and Cantor Lisa    
  • $1,300  covers a full year of tuition for a student in Jewish Studies Program    
  • $2,300  covers the full cost for a student in the DJC Bnei Mitzvah Program
  • $3600 or more  helps ensure the long-term sustainability of the DJC and all of its programming

Please stay tuned for more information in our E-newsletters about High Holyday programming and services!

In this time of restriction, there is also tremendous creative potential.  Jewish life is transforming and we need your participation to help shape what our community, and Jewish life, can become.   Please become a DJC Member today: djctoronto.com/membership/  and take this opportunity to be a builder of the DJC’s future – values-based and responsive, inclusive and connected, soulful and resilient.

Sincerely,
Emma Firsten-Kaufman, Kathy Glazier, Nicki Weiss
DJC Board Co-chairs