It feels like a million years ago, I know, but it was only last February that we announced that our school would join fourteen other local Jewish organizations in a commitment to work together to support the future of the Ottawa Jewish Community. Under the leadership of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation (OJCF), our community is in its second year delivering and implementing the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF)’s “Life & Legacy” initiative.
We had only just begun our work when it – and the world – was interrupted by COVID-19. If you want a quick refresher on the big idea, please watch this very short and excellent video produced by OJCF:
We feel passionately at OJCS that our value proposition could not be more clear – or more needed – than now. In these uncertain times, the stability, excellence and innovation of our program; and the love, care and talent of our teachers are critical to the present and the future of not just the OJCS community, but the Ottawa Jewish Community. Investing in Jewish school is investing in Jewish community. The future leaders of this community are being developed within our walls – and for our virtuals learners on our screens – just as the current generation of leaders were. A legacy gift to OJCS ensures a legacy of Jewish continuity for Ottawa – for your children, their children and future generations of children to come.
As the work of educating our community to the need, the value, and the ease of legacy giving, we are thrilled that we already have a number of families who have stepped forward to make their intent known. We want to acknowledge and thank the first members of the OJCS Life & Legacy Circle:
Thank you, merci, and תודה רבה Life & Legacy Circle Members
- Jessica Greenberg
- Rabbi Eytan Kenter & Staci Zemlak-Kenter
- Richard Roth and Dr. Riva Levitan
- Ian and Estelle Melzer
- Jeff and Rhoda Miller
- Lisa and Mitch Miller
- Dr. Jon and Jaimee Mitzmacher
- Ilana Albert-Novick and Mitchell Novick
- Joel Sachs
- Lorne Segal
- Fred Seller and Stacey Steinman
What do all the above have in common? NOTHING! That’s the point; other than a deep connection to OJCS, this list has all kinds of ages and income levels. Every family can leave a legacy and secure the future. Trust me, I’m on that list and I can assure you that you don’t need an estate or a measure of wealth to ensure the future of organizations that you care about. But don’t take it from me, here is what another member of the Circle shared with us:
OJCS (aka Hillel Academy) has been a part of my life from as far back as I can remember. My spouse and I have included OJCS in our Life and Legacy plans because we want to ensure that Jewish education is a strong and thriving part of the Ottawa community now and long into the future.
As we look to grow our Circle, let’s end with another “circle” through the famous story of Honi ha-M’agel or Honi the Circle Drawer:
One day Honi was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree. He asked, “How long does it take [for this tree] to bear fruit?” The man replied: “Seventy years.” Honi then further asked him: “Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?” The man replied: “I found [already grown] carob trees in the world; as my forefathers planted those for me so I too plant these for my children.”
Want to come plant with us? You are invited to a special OJCS-OJCF (say that 5 times fast!) Virtual Parlour Meeting on Sunday, October 25th at 7:30 PM hosted by Roz and Steven Fremeth!
To get the link or to ask any Life & Legacy questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Staci Zemlak-Kenter, our Director of Development, at [email protected]
, or 613.722.0020 x 378.
You may have noticed a new sign in our lobby this week. The Ottawa Jewish Community School has joined thirteen other local Jewish organizations who have made a commitment to work together to support the future of the Ottawa Jewish community. Under the leadership of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation, our community is delighted to be delivering and implementing the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF)’s “Life & Legacy” initiative.
Life & Legacy is a four-year partnership initiative of the HGF that assists communities across North America, through partnerships with Jewish Foundations, to promote after-lifetime giving to benefit Jewish day schools, synagogues, social service organizations and other Jewish entities.
Life & Legacy is an innovative program designed to change the philanthropic conversation in our community by creating a collaborative approach to legacy giving. Everyone has the power to be a legacy donor and make a difference for future generations.
Why leave a Legacy Gift?
Since 1949, the Ottawa Jewish Community School has been a cornerstone of Jewish life in Ottawa. We produce leaders and active members of the Ottawa Jewish community who contribute to Jewish life and to the quality of life in Ottawa in an extremely significant manner. We develop leaders of Jewish organizations, schools and synagogues, all of which flourish as a result. In addition, nearly every secular charitable initiative in Ottawa benefits from the explicit Jewish leadership and generosity taught and experienced at OJCS. However, we cannot take for granted that what was once true will always be true. If we want that to continue – if we want to secure our Jewish future – we need to ensure that OJCS will be here to educate the next generations of leaders. Jewish leadership requires Jewish leaders who know how to lead – not just as Jews, but according to Jewish values.
We are so honoured to provide Ottawa’s Jewish community with a rigorous, high-quality, innovative secular and Jewish education for its children, and it is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Creating your Jewish legacy will help OJCS remain sustainable long after you are gone. While gifts to current operations (annual campaign) are essential to meet ongoing needs, contributions like Life & Legacy are invested to provide benefits for generations to come. You can help to endow our children with the values and knowledge they need for the future by contributing to an endowment that will itself live in perpetuity.
You will be seeing more information about the program and how to participate in the months and years ahead. You may have never thought of yourself as a legacy donor and may be surprised to learn how easy it is to become a Life & Legacy donor, regardless of age and income level. For now, we hope that those of you – students, teachers, parents, grandparents, etc. – who are invested in our school’s sustainability will be both comforted and inspired that we are not only planning for today and tomorrow, but for generations to come.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Staci Zemlak-Kenter, our Director of Development, at [email protected], or 613.722.0020 x. 378.