Rosh Hashanah is a time for celebration but also a time for reflection. It’s hard to believe that another year of the COVID pandemic is behind us. At this time last year, we were hopeful that life would have returned to “normal” by now. However, it now seems that our new normal will not be quite the same as the normal we were referring to one year ago.
This year, more than ever, individually and organizationally, I firmly believe our focus needs to be on creating the future we aspire to. The importance of community and social interactions can no longer be underestimated. Our mental and physical health require the support of our families, friends and community. At its essence, community is what the Y is all about. Although many of our members (myself included) turned to online fitness apps and meeting spaces such as Zoom over the past year and a half, these platforms do not come close to replicating the experience of walking through the doors of “our Y”. Community happens face to face, in person. That is why our members are returning to the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA in significant numbers now that COVID restrictions have been eased. With the onset of the Vaccination Passport, we are hopeful that even more of you will join us in person in our safe environment.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the newly renovated Sylvan Adams Y. If you haven’t been back yet, you will be amazed to see our state-of-the-art facilities. Our benefactor, Sylvan Adams, has given our community a most magnificent gift: a spectacular space where we can connect with one another and improve our mental and physical health. After the holidays, we will be able to gather at our gorgeous new kosher cafe run by Montreal’s own District Bagel, thanks to a generous donation from the Segal family.
I am also thrilled to formally announce that Jeff Bicher stepped into the role of Interim CEO at the Y in mid-July, while maintaining his previous responsibility as Chief Development and Organizational Culture Officer. Since taking on this added challenge, Jeff has been focused on ensuring all members of our community feel welcome at the Y. Jeff comes to the Y with a wealth of leadership experience in the community, both in lay and professional capacities. Over the last 25 years, Jeff has served as the Director of Camp Massad, the National Director of Leadership Development at UIA Federations Canada (now JFC-UIA), the National Executive Director of the Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation and the CEO of Hillel Montreal. Jeff also has extensive experience consulting with not-for-profits working in development, governance and education. Jeff has already helped shape the culture of the Y since joining our team in April. His impact in creating an inclusive and welcoming space for all members is surely noticed. We wish Jeff much success in this new role.
In my message to the membership this past Passover, I introduced the work done in developing our Strategic and Sustainability Plan. I also shared our revised Mission, Vision and Values. We are starting to see the positive impact of our plan on our operations and financial position. Our professional team now has a road map to follow and can focus their efforts on common goals. Our camps, YCC City camp and YCC residential camp, had very successful summers and put smiles on the faces of so many children. Our fundraising events, such as Hockey du Rue, Y Golf Tournament and Ian Karper Raffle, have all exceeded expectations. Our professionals are working hard to introduce relevant and interesting fitness and Jewish programming for the fall. To support them, our marketing professionals have built, and continue to develop, creative marketing tools to get the word out. Please see our newest fitness video here.
The Y has been an integral part of the lives of so many members of the Montreal Jewish Community. Our institution was chosen to participate in a Life & Legacy program led by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Jewish Community Foundation in light of the pivotal role the Y has had in the lives of so many. I am very proud to say that every member of our Board of Directors has signed a letter of intent to include the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA in their wills. If the Y has been an important part of your life, leaving a legacy gift is a beautiful way of ensuring others will continue to benefit as well. I would like to encourage you to consider joining us in ensuring the future of the Y. Our professionals can help you determine the most cost effective way to include the Y in your legacy planning. Please feel free to reach out to our professional in charge of Life & Legacy, Sarah Malka at email@example.com
I would like to invite you to get involved, become a member and participate in our events. With your support, we will emerge stronger than ever and at the Centre of our Montreal Jewish Community. Be a part of your Y’s future.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, our professionals and my family, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy New Year. Shana Tova U’Metukah & G’Mar Chatima Tova.
Tina Apfeld Rosenthal
President, Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA