(EJNews) – On August 1, 2019, the Presidents of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Edmonton Talmud Torah Society issued this letter to the Edmonton Jewish Community regarding the status of the Jewish Community Centre project in Edmonton.
Dear Edmonton Jewish Community:
We are writing to you as the Presidents of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Talmud Torah Society. After years of stakeholder engagement, over the last 18 months, our two organizations have been negotiating the terms of an agreement to build a Jewish Community Centre on the Talmud Torah Society lands. The negotiations culminated in a vote in December 2018 by the members of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton to continue negotiations and thereafter proceed with the build provided an additional $1 million was raised. Later this past winter, the members of the Talmud Torah Society, which include the members of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, failed to pass a motion giving the board of directors of the Edmonton Talmud Torah Society the power to enter in to an agreement to lease a portion of its lands and building to the Jewish Community Centre of Edmonton.
We would like to acknowledge Clive Oshry’s commitment to the Edmonton Jewish Community over the last 9 years as he nurtured this JCC project. He brought us closer to a new JCC than most would have fathomed just 10 years ago. We would also like to thank the committee members who spent hundreds of hours negotiating the terms of a potential JCC: Matt Singer, Adam Merrick, Ori Ovics, Mike Sadovnick, Steve Shafir, Kevin Swerling and Doug Wolch. The dedication of these individuals to bettering the Edmonton Jewish Community cannot be underestimated. We are indebted to the hard work of all of our volunteers, who take time out of their lives to serve the community’s interests.
At this time, we are announcing the mutual disbanding of our negotiating committees, as this process has exhausted the time and energy of these groups; going forward, neither organization has identified an individual willing to take over the leadership of this JCC project.
Despite this impasse, the Jewish Federation of Edmonton wishes to confirm its commitment to the Talmud Torah Society and the Talmud Torah School. The school will remain a significant beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton. The failure to come together to build a JCC and the strong historical, current and future relationship between the Talmud Torah Society and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton are mutually exclusive and we want to stress that the two organizations will maintain, continue and build on our existing relationship.
In addition, the Talmud Torah Society confirms its vital role in Edmonton’s Jewish community and recognizes that, as the community’s school, the Talmud Torah Society and the school building can be, and will be, a central gathering point for the community for future events.
Both the two of us and our organizations look forward to working together for the benefit of the Edmonton Jewish community as a whole. Please stay tuned for future communication from the Jewish Federation of Edmonton regarding the next steps regarding the use of the Jewish Community Centre funds.
Steve Shafir & Gary Wolch
Presidents, Jewish Federation of Edmonton & Edmonton Talmud Torah Society