President’s Message

JCCV President’s Year-End Message
December 21st, 2020

Dear JCCV Members and Friends:

I hope you all enjoyed celebrating Hanukkah this past week and wish you and your mishpocha good health and much happiness in the year ahead.

I would like to share with you my report below that I delivered at yesterday’s JCCV AGM.
I believe that 2020, my 7th year as President, has been a very good year for the Centre, one in which we rose above the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January, we took delivery and received training for a fully automated external defibrillator (AED) from St. John’s Ambulance. We also installed a readily visible and accessible wall cabinet in the main hallway across from the kitchen to house the AED, a naloxone kit, and a first aid bag.

 The year was progressing in a typical fashion, but then in March we were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and closed the Centre.

The board started to meet by Zoom and plan how to operate during the pandemic. We had to change from business as usual and were able to successfully adapt and move forward as follows: 

  • In the first two weeks in July we hosted the Camp Miriam Day Camp, with about 30 campers and councilors singing, dancing, doing crafts, watching videos, learning how to repair bicycles, and having fun with many other activities. 
  • In mid-July, we started the take-out service in our Deli with an abbreviated menu operating safely from the side door. When the weather turned colder and wetter after the Jewish High Holidays, we moved the take-out service safely inside through the front door, with a sheet of plexi-glass at the front desk, a mandatory mask requirement, credit or debit only with our payment device, one-way traffic down the right-side hallway, order pickup in the back dining area, and exiting through the side door. We just concluded a very successful December Latke Mania take-out and Chanukah gift shop. The Centre is now closed and will re-open in the new year on January 11th
  • The 6th annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival also adapted and innovated with 3 nights of drive-in theatre with nosh boxes in August at UVic Parking Lot 10, followed by a virtual film series over 3 weeks in November. Both were very well received. 
  • We started a monthly free webinar series in September and to date have held 4 webinars with others scheduled in the new year. 
  • One of the monthly book clubs is continuing virtually, and a virtual havurah for Jewish study and discussion will be starting early in the new year. 

We continue to maintain an up-to-date website, and we keep our members and friends informed of Centre events and activities through our MailChimp email blasts. Our mailing list has grown to 317 strong.

I would like to thank my fellow board directors who provided wise counsel and were a pleasure to work with over this past year. I would like to thank Janis Diner Brinley, who is stepping down from the board, for her valuable contributions and service.

I would like to thank Edie Reckon for running the office, Ethel Chochinov for looking after the Centre’s finances, Tim Humphreys for his accounting expertise and wisdom, Nanci Secter for running the gift shop, and Juliet Simon for looking after our library.

I would like to thank Sandra Glass for directing the 6th annual VIJFF, and welcome Deborah Bricks and Farley Cates as co-directors for the 7th annual VIJFF in 2021. I would like to thank Phyllis Arron for coordinating our virtual webinar series and Cyril Kesten for leading the monthly virtual book club.

I would especially like to thank Rose Carr, Roz Majorki and Yaaqov Ittah for their inspiration, creativity, dedication and many hours of hard work running the deli take-out service, in particular for the 3 weeks during Latke Mania. And mania is not an exaggeration!!

I would like to thank our many volunteers who help the Centre. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful and dedicated group of volunteers. We could not run the Centre without them and they are greatly appreciated.

The JCCV continues to be an important gathering place for Jewish life in Victoria and home to many Jewish organizations and groups. It is a place in Victoria where any and all Jews can come together to celebrate and enjoy their Jewish heritage whatever their affiliation or level of religious observance.

I look forward to another good year for the Centre in 2021 and to your continued support.

Larry Gontovnick, President

Presented at the JCCV AGM on December 20th, 2020