With extraordinary gratitude and sincere humility, I am thrilled to announce a gift of $1,000,000 to bridge the journey from stability through sustainability at the Ottawa Jewish Community School. This gift represents a significant milestone in our school’s journey of revitalization, reimagination and return over the last few years. The gifts we hope it inspires will ensure our newfound stability leads to long-term sustainability, through which our school will not only be able to secure the Jewish future of its students and families, but will help secure the Jewish future of our community.
We begin with thanking directly the families who, through their philanthropy, are guaranteeing our present while inspiring our future. Thank you to Stephen Greenberg and Jocelyn Greenberg. Thank you to Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg. Your quiet leadership and meaningful investment have sustained our Jewish community for years. This new commitment to our school not only validates the hard work our teachers and board have put in over these last years, but raises the bar for what we hope to accomplish in the years ahead. We accept this gift not as a celebration of what we have done, but as a charge for what we now must do.
We must also add sincere thanks to Andrea Freedman and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa who played an instrumental role in keeping OJCS moving forward during its leanest years and who took a lead role in securing this $1,000,000 gift. It is a blessing to work in a Jewish community whose institutions are invested in each other’s success. We look forward to ongoing cooperation and coordination with Federation, not only in the fundraising work to come, but in the overall work of strengthening the Jewish Superhighway.
You may be wondering what (specifically) this $1,000,000 gift and campaigns ahead is going towards. In order to ensure a growing school is capable of providing a high-quality, progressive, personalized, innovative, trilingual, Jewish and secular education, it does take funding. We need to retain and attract passionate, professional teachers who continue to learn and grow. We need physical spaces as cutting-edge as our program. We need to provide financial assistance so that the decision whether or not attend a Jewish day school is not a financial one. We need to increase access for children with special needs. We need to keep tuition increases modest so as not to squeeze families already feeling pressure. We need access to consultants and experts to ensure we capitalize on current research and practices.
We need all this and more to truly achieve sustainability.
We look forward in the weeks and months ahead to making this case directly to our community. We look forward to the active participation of our parents, grandparents, alumni and community. We look forward to connecting and reconnecting to all those people for whom Hillel Academy/OJCS played a meaningful role. We look forward to sharing the story of our school with a wider audience. We look forward to living up to the expectations that come along with such generosity and ambition.
Thanks to these donors and this gift, together we will write the next chapter in the story of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. We write this chapter knowing its plot will include growing enrollment, educational excellence, innovative spaces, and meaningful Jewish experiences. We write this chapter knowing that we have more chapters to write. As it says in Pirkei Avot (2:16), “It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.”