Our Shabbaton week-end with Rabbi/Cantor Russ was wonderful. It was great to have him back at OJC, and we know that his feelings were exactly the same on being back with us. Friday Shabbat dinner and evening service was very well attended. As expected, there were less in attendance for Saturday morning. His cantorial and now rabbinic skills were very much enjoyed and appreciated. The Saturday evening social event with regards to his career and training as a Hazan was a delight with numerous operatic arias which were somewhat unexpected but thoroughly enjoyed. Wow! What an eventful week-end for those who attended.

On a somewhat less smokey day, August 27, 2023, OJC was able to hold its planned second Community Picnic of the summer at Sarson’s Beach -Okanagan Mission Activity Centre. In spite of still smokey skies, 25 persons were able to attend, and it was great to see everyone out after the challenging 2 weeks that Kelowna has seen because of the fires. Thanks again to Mondy and Misty for arranging the pizza and also to those who brought side dishes for the event.

Rabbi Jonathan Infeld and Lissa Weinberger

OJC was delighted to have Rabbi Infeld and his wife Lissa Weinberger from Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver for our very first monthly Shabbaton week-end on August 11-13, 2023. A lovely week-end consisting of two Shabbat services with corresponding meals and a wonderful presentation by them of their recent trip to search for their roots in Krakow, Poland. The week-end was capped off by a PJ Library program on the Sunday morning, led by Lissa, manager of Jewish Education at the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. The morning program was attended by about 14 children and their 10 parents. Great to see all these young families come out for this very fun program.

OJC’s Annual Start of Summer picnic/bar-b-que took place on Sunday, July 2nd at Sarsons Beach. Spectacular weather enabled everyone to thoroughly enjoy the event, one another’s company and the delicious food that was both supplied and brought by members. The OJC took the opportunity to say “thank you” to Rabbi Tom for his time with us and wish him all the best on his future endeavours. President Laura McPheeters presented Rabbi with a card and gift from the community. Very special thanks to Mondy Challmie and Misty Smith 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 27th.

Although not participating with food sales on the Shabbat, OJC members participated as individuals volunteering at the entranceway to the event at Prospera Place on July 1st, 2023. Our volunteers included Sharon Silver Gitlin, Marla Edelson and the COMPLETE Spevakow family. Thanks to all these great volunteers for helping the City of Kelowna celebrate Canada’s birthday!

Thanks go out to Fern Helfand, Barb Pullan and Lisa Schwartz for organizing and volunteering at OJC’s cultural booth at the recent West Kelowna Multicultural Days on June 24, 2023. We were one of dozens of ethnic communities represented at this great event, which brings us all together as part of Canada’s pluralistic society. Go you, OJC, for participating.

The May 7th Sisterhood Luncheon featured Vancouver artist Linda Dayan Frimer who gave an excellent talk about her artistic career, including her historical roots in Romania and her “pioneering” childhood in the Caribou region of British Columbia prior to eventually settling in the Lower Mainland. The stories and artwork presented on the screen were extremely uplifting. Anyone interested in receiving the Sisterhood emailings, please contact Anne in the office at [email protected] to be added to the list. Wouldn’t want to miss out on any of these exciting monthly events!

Great attendance of about 40-50 persons at our Yom Ha’Atzmaut party celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Great turn-out and support from the Israeli contingent in the Valley. Thanks to Hilla and Oren Shlomi for organizing the event. The food was great with freshly-prepared Shakshuka along with other Israeli delicacies. Thanks to Fern Helfand for leading us in some Israeli Dancing. A fun event for young and old!

What a great Purim Carnival! The place was packed with dozens of members and friends from far and wide, as the synagogue and social hall were turned into a festive carnival setting. The event featured wines from various Jewish wineries in the Valley, hamantashen galore, costumes, treats, face painting and games for the kids, along with a festive Megillah reading accompanied by lots of loud graggers. Special thanks to Abbey, Mark, Mondy and David for the tremendous amount of work they put into the event to make it a smashing success.