Dear <<First Name>>,

We are starting the year thinking about the future.

If the past 3 years have shown us anything, it’s that the world has shifted. There’s been a change in the way we communicate, changes in industries and supply chains, and notably, a change in the economy.

These changes are happening as technological growth is accelerating, yet the gap between those who can and can’t access basic needs like food and shelter is also growing. How do we decrease this gap?

There isn’t a clear-cut answer, but what we do know is that this kind of progress can’t be achieved by technology alone. We still need heart. Our ability to connect with each other, invest in relationships, and focus on issues important to us, matters as much as ever.

I am excited to share some people-centric updates this month, including the Innovators Lunch returning in-person, ways we are building bridges to improve diversity and inclusion at JFS and in our community, and honouring those who lost their lives on the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day

We're also thrilled to announce that Moishe's Farm Retreat and Cohort is returning this year in March, offering an immersive experience for young adults looking to connect the dots between food and environmental justice.

Finally, when I think about heart and investment in our community, I am always reminded that volunteers are at the heart of JFS. If you’re looking for ways to get involved in the community, you can learn more about becoming invaluable resource to thousands of people in our community.
With warmest regards,

-Tanja Demajo, CEO

Imagine the Future

We are thrilled to announce that we will finally be back in-person, for the 17th annual JFS Innovators Luncheon, presented by Austeville Properties and Shay (Shy) Keil!

JFS Innovators 2023
May 10, 2023
The Hyatt Regency Vancouver

JFS Innovators 2023 has the power to positively influence the future of over 3,000 children, youth, adults, and seniors. JFS provides food, mental health support, emergency housing, financial aid, home care and much more. All funds raised at the Innovators Lunch benefit JFS programs for individuals, families, and older adults who struggle to meet their basic needs.

Since our last in-person event in 2019, we have seen a 50% increase in the number of people we support. The lingering effects of the pandemic, combined with rising inflation rates and economic uncertainty are eroding the resilience of many, especially those in our community who are already marginalized. 

We are also excited to introduce you to keynote speaker and Global Futurist, Anders Sorman-Nilsson, His passion for thinking bigger, smarter, and more sustainably to elevate human consciousness is refreshing and inspiring. 

After 3 years of being apart, we can’t wait to finally see you all at this highly-anticipated, future-forward event.

Buy your tickets today!

We are also looking for Table Captains, Sponsors and SubCommitee Members. Click here for info on how to get involved. 

Thank you for investing
in community resilience.

“Thank you for providing the opportunity to make a difference in our community.” Friends of the Family donor, Dec 2022 

Last month, 380 people showed their commitment to nourishing and uplifting lives and strengthening our community resilience by donating a total of over $220,000 to the Friends of the Family Annual Campaign! A huge thank you to everyone who donated or who supported the campaign in other ways! 

Over 3,000 community members use JFS services every year. The donations you made will help ensure that everyone in our community is able to meet their basic needs through JFS crisis intervention and advocacy, community programs, and longer-term supports for seniors and disabled people. 

If you didn’t get the chance to donate yet, our Friends of the Family donation form is still live at  

Thank you again. This work would not be possible without all of you. 

Remembering the Past to
Build a Better Tomorrow

On January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we will be taking the time to honour the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the millions of other victims of Nazism.

There are still some spots left in our partnership program with The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC). “Descendants of Holocaust Survivors: Sharing Our Voices” is a six-week online workshop facilitated by Dr. Abby Wener Herlin and Claire Sicherman, 3rd-generation descendants of Holocaust survivors. The program will provide a focused and creative opportunity for descendants to explore their identities in writing.

Go to our event page for more info and registration.

Last month, held a Hanukkah lunch for Holocaust Survivors* with the support of the JCC and a grant from the Claims Conference. Guests were treated to a delicious meal from Nava Café and entertained by a live musical band. The luncheon was a great opportunity for the attendees to greet each other, socialize, and connect.

*A Holocaust survivor is considered a person who suffered persecution due to his or her Jewish nationality, lived in a Ghetto, survived a concentration camp and/or who had to flee or evacuate from the place of persecution.

Building Bridges to Inclusion

The path to our amazing partnerships and projects have always been led by our values. We are proud of the several new initiatives introduced this past year that align with one of those values - Diversity & Inclusion. 

As mentioned in a recent Jewish Independent (JI) article, "...projects like the Shiva Delivers partnership with Vancouver’s Black community and the Twice Blessed 2.0: The Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ Initiative are helping forge alliances and cultural understanding."

Shiva Delivers was launched in 2020 by Madison Slobin and Becca Schwenk in response to the injustice and grief that the Black community in Vancouver was experiencing following the murder of George Floyd. They provide traditional home-cooked meals to Black families dealing with loss and grief. Madison and Becca ran the program independently thanks to volunteers from the local Jewish community. Last year the Kitchen provided the space to the operation of this amazing program, which took place in June.  

The Twice Blessed 2.0: The Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ Initiative was formed in response to a survey that Vancouver Jewish Queer and Trans Vancouver (JQT) and JFS compiled in 2021 to determine the needs of the local Jewish LGBTQ2SIA+ community. The survey results revealed a need for change on the part of Jewish community organizations, and  13 Calls-to-Action were released to help empower these organizations to fulfill their responsibilities to all community members.

Insights like this help us dive deeper into understanding what our connection with diverse demographics within our own community looks like, as well as examining our own gaps.

Read the JI Article

A few months ago we were approached by a group of Jewish parents and caregivers of children and youth living with disabilities, who discussed the issues they were facing regarding the community support and services available. We sent out a Parent & Caregiver survey to help gather more information from the community about how families access support, and feedback around programs and services. 

Based on the results from the participating families, the existing community supports currently offered are not meeting their child's needs, and this is causing families to feel isolated and disconnected. And when they do find programs that offer the connectivity they are looking for, these families are often faced with additional barriers like cost, location, and lack of inclusive services. 

The complete survey data will be reviewed and used to develop a full report to help us understand the real-life challenges, issues, and needs of parents and caregivers of children and youth living with disabilities. 

Moishe's Farm Retreat

How we eat, as a society and individuals, is one of the primary ways we get to enact our values. But what does our current food system say about those values? 

We are seeking young adults (19-39) in the Vancouver Jewish Community who are looking to engage in food and environmental justice through a Jewish Lens.  Moishe's Retreat and Cohort is an immersive experience that begins a dynamic 3-day retreat, March 17-19 2023 at the beautiful Brooksdale Environmental Centre, followed by six monthly evening gatherings at the JFS Kitchen in Vancouver.  

Together, we will explore and make connections between: food, food justice, climate change, environmental justice, and our personal and Jewish values and traditions. We can build a more just and environmentally-resilient food system and we can start by connecting the dots. 

This experience will leave you with warm, new connections, a deepened awareness of your own individual power, and clarity around the steps we—as individuals and as a community — can take to connect our hearts to our plates.

If you are interested in joining us, click below for more info and to submit an application. 

Apply Now

Volunteer Opportunities

We are currently seeking volunteers for the following positions:

Community Kitchen Volunteers
On January 19, from 1pm – 3pm 
Help with set up, assist cooks, and clean-up 

Load and Unload Food on Delivery Truck
Every other Thursday from 11am - 2pm
Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs

Grocery Delivery Driver – Burnaby 
Every other Thursday from 12 – 2pm

Warehouse Food Sorter
Every Monday from 11am – 1pm
Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs

Food Hub Prep
Every Wednesday from 12pm – 2pm
Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs

Farm to Plate Marketplace Packaging Volunteer
Every Thursday from 3pm – 5pm
Must be able to lift 25 lbs

For all volunteer opportunities, contact Martin, Volunteer Programs Manager at or click below for more info. 

I'd like to volunteer!
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Jewish Family Services · 320-2285 Clark Drive · Vancouver, BC V5N 3G9 · Canada