Sunday morning was an absolutely gorgeous day filled with sunshine as about 35 friends gathered to celebrate Sukkot. Thank you to everyone for sharing in the simcha of building, covering and decorating our Sukkah. Rabbi Tom also led us in song and introduced us all to the tradition of shaking the lulav and the joyous citrus smell of the etrog.

Chag Sameach

OJC’s 2nd Summer BBQ of the year took place on August 28th at the Mission Activity Center on Sarsons Beach. The weather was fabulous and over 60 guests thoroughly enjoyed the event. Everyone was treated to the exquisite BBQ skills of Mondy Challmie and Nuri Fisher. Thank you to them both for the delicious food that was grilled to perfection. Very special thanks to Mondy Challmie for arranging, shopping and transporting the OJC food along with all our guests that brought extra treats to make it a successful event Hope to see you all out for the High Holidays and an early Shana Tova.

OJC’s Annual Summer picnic/bar-b-que took place on Sunday, July 10th at Bertram Creek Park. Spectacular weather enabled the 50 or so attendees to thoroughly enjoy the event, one another’s company and the delicious food that was both supplied and brought by members. Very special thanks to Mondy Challmie and David Spevakow for arranging, shopping, transporting and working the bar-b-que! Hope to see you all out again for our repeat Summer event at Sarson’s Beach on Sunday, August 28th.

OJC made their presence known at two summertime Multicultural Events in the City. June 25th, West Kelowna hosted a multicultural event and on July 1st, OJC participated at the Annual Folkfest at Prospera with a cultural display and with the sale of bagels, cream cheese and lox. It was great to participate at these events after a 2 – 3 year period of lockdown during the height of the pandemic. It’s always of great importance to have a visible presence at these public events as one of many of the multicultural communities in the Kelowna.

OJC hosted one of our ”Traditional Shabbat Dinners and traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service” run by Rabbi Tom, on Friday evening, June 10th. This brings back one of the important events that OJC hosted prior to COVID shutting the building and food service down. Twenty-six persons attended and were delighted to welcome back that feeling of connection with one another and with Judaism that we are trying to rebuild after COVID activity is hopefully settling. The food, the company and the ”feeling” of the evening was warmly appreciated. Stay tuned as OJC hopes to run these 1/month. Please note them on your calendar and DO come out to share with your Community.

Thank-you to Evgenia Kempinski of Haifa, Israel for her informative, live, private presentation that she gave to OJC members and friends on Sunday, June 5, 2022. Besides presenting history and cultural information about the shtetl system and society, she was able to present on a good handful of the specific communities that we had submitted from where our grandparents came from. Great research by Evgenia and great photos. Did you see your grandparents in the photos that she presented from the early 20th century?

Members and friends were excited on being together for the first live, in person, seder in 3 years. About 120 persons met at the Harvest Golf Club to enjoy the service, the food and each other’s company. Others at home were able to join by ZOOM. Thanks to all who helped in the organization of the event, including Rabbi Tom for his innovative seder, to Barb Finkleman for helping to organize the food component and to David Spevakow for bringing the whole seder together. Next year again, at the Harvest!

Twenty-eight computers were able to join OJC on Sunday, April 3rd for a truly great presentation by Sharona Liman of Kfar Saba, Israel entitled, ”Following King David to the Stronghold of Ein Gedi”. Sharona is a licenced Israeli tour guide who, using quotations from the Hebrew Bible took us on a journey from the heights of Jerusalem, down through Jericho and the Dead Sea, and ending up in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. She has the unique ability to put together biblical references with current archeologic and tourist sites in Israel. Thank you so much to Sharona for leading us and to all those who attended the event.

Thank-you to all the Bar/Bat Mitzvah kids who participated in the assembly of “Shalach Manot” baskets on Sunday, March 6th, prior to the upcoming Purim holiday. Thanks to the parents for bringing their kids in and assisting by driving the kids and the baskets in the coming weeks to seniors, shut-ins and other members of our Community. It had been a long time since we have had our kids together with everyone in the community – it was really fantastic for everyone to connect again. Yashar Koach to all who participated.

Thank-you to all who joined OJC’s presentation on Sunday, February 27th. The talk given by Monique Rubens Krahn of New Jersey told the story of her mother’s escape to freedom from Nazi-occupied Bordeaux, France with the assistance of an illegal Portuguese visa. The visas were provided by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese consul general at the time in Bordeaux. These visas, given specifically against the direction of the Portuguese government, provided safe passage for thousands of Jews escaping persecution in Occupied Europe.