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Je viens d’Israël et avant d’arriver à Montréal comme citoyenne canadienne je pensais qu’il était facile de faire tout ce dont j’avais besoin pour moi et mes enfants. Mais j’ai dû faire...
Je viens d’Israël et avant d’arriver à Montréal comme citoyenne canadienne je pensais qu’il était facile de faire tout ce dont j’avais besoin pour moi et mes enfants. Mais j’ai dû faire face à plusieurs surprises, et je ne parle pas de Kinder Surprise… Et c’était juste le début de mon cheminement! Je me suis retrouvée toute seule, sans aide et désespérée, car tous mes documents et preuves d’immigration ont été refusés, non valides, car leur date de validation était passée. Toutes les portes se sont fermées devant moi ce jour-là et je ne savais plus quoi faire. En marchant sur la rue Cote Ste Catherine je me suis mise à pleurer et puis je me suis dit il doit y avoir un moyen d’avoir de l’aide. Tout à coup j’ai vu une annonce qui disait « Help us so we can help others : OMETZ ». J’ai essuyé me larmes puis je suis rentrée pour prendre un rendez-vous avec une des conseillères « d’intake ». Elle m’a dirigée vers le département d’immigration. C’est là où j’ai connue Mme Monique Lapointe, Mme Natasha Sosunov, et Candice Silverman. J’ai alors commencé à voir le bout du tunnel. J’ai récupéré tous mes documents et obtenu une aide financière de l’Agence Ometz.
L’équipe de l’Agence Ometz m’a aidée à être fière de moi-même, m’a donné de l’espoir, et surtout ne m’a pas lâchée. Je voudrais remercier quelques départements. En premier, Monique Lapointe d’avoir cru en moi. Je ne t’oublierai jamais Monique. Je n’oublierai jamais ses mots. « Tu vas y arriver » elle me disait. « Je suis fière de toi. » Ces petits mots peuvent changer une personne, alors je te remercie infiniment, Monique. Ma meilleure amie et mon oreille : Natasha Sosunov. Je voulais te dire que tu as enduré beaucoup avec moi, mais tu ne m’as pas lâchée : avec tous tes conseils, ton support, tes encouragements et les ressources. Grace à toi, mes enfants ont pu profiter de programmes pendant tout l’année scolaire et l’été durant les vacances.
Candice Silverman. Merci pour tous les renseignements sur le gouvernement du Québec et du Canada, mes droits comme citoyenne, les services pour récupérer mes documents, et toutes les photocopies. Je n’oublierai jamais le jour où je suis venue avec un paquet de photocopies. Tu as ouvert tes yeux si grands, puis tu m’as dit « OK, passe-les-moi ». Tu les as gentiment pris de mes mains et je n’ai pas eu la sensation de me sentir mal. Merci. Olga Davydova. Pour toutes les signatures certifiées, Olga, ta signature, elle vaut quelque chose! Merci. Justin et Tamara, et toutes les bénévoles du junior MYP, grâce à votre programme mon fils a amélioré son langage et son comportement social. C’était vraiment très important pour lui car il est arrivé d’Israël il y a trois ans et n’avait pas une bonne estime de soi. Merci de lui avoir rendu sa fierté.
Lori Rubinger et Catherine Cinq-Mars pour la formation « Training for personal support worker ». Catherine, je ne t’oublierai jamais. Cette formation m’a donné d’abord des certificats que je n’aurai jamais pensé avoir, comme Alzheimer Society certificat, CPR, et PTSB. Grâce à ce cours, j’ai développé une confiance en moi-même et devant les employeurs pour aller à la recherche d’un travail. Ça m’a pris beaucoup de courage. Marlène Ben Hayoun pour préparer mon CV de A à Z afin de m’aider à chercher un travail. Finalement, pour terminer, je souhaite à tous les clients de l’Agence Ometz, de croire et d’espérer en l’avenir et je crois à l’Agence Ometz et son équipe. Merci infiniment. Vous êtes tous ma famille! hide
Mon premier contact avec l’Agence Ometz fut en mai 2013. La travailleuse sociale de l’école de mon enfant a suggéré que ma fille se joigne à l’un des groupes de l’Agence Ometz qui se renco...
Mon premier contact avec l’Agence Ometz fut en mai 2013. La travailleuse sociale de l’école de mon enfant a suggéré que ma fille se joigne à l’un des groupes de l’Agence Ometz qui se rencontrait deux fois par semaine. Ma fille a des difficultés à maintenir des relations sociales stables et harmonieuses. À l’Agence Ometz, le personnel responsable des groupes-rencontres travaille avec les enfants afin d’améliorer leurs habiletés sociales.
Dans ces groupes, l’accent est mis sur l’aide et le support afin que nos enfants puissent développer leurs habiletés sociales et ainsi mieux interagir avec leurs pairs. L’Agence Ometz a aidé ma fille en valorisant chacun de ses progrès, en sachant être à l’écoute de ses besoins et en travaillant à développer son sens des responsabilités. Bien entendu, le personnel de ces groupes-rencontres est très patient, enthousiaste, positif, chaleureux et affectueux. Justin, Catherine, Tamara, Nathan, Gill… Ils agissent avec tellement de douceur et de gentillesse qu’aujourd’hui, pour ma fille, aller à l’Agence Ometz est la meilleure des récompenses.
Ce qui m’a le plus marquée à l’Agence Ometz, c’est l’accueil du personnel à l’arrivée des enfants. Après une journée d’école, les enfants sont plutôt fatigués. Ma fille finit sa journée d’école à 16 heures et elle arrive à l’Agence Ometz vers 16:30. Elle est toujours accueillie avec un sourire contagieux et des paroles encourageantes et personnalisées . Malgré leur journée de travail ou d’école, le personnel de l’Agence Ometz agit avec amour et douceur, avec patience et bonté.
L’Agence Ometz a un avenir des plus prometteurs auprès des enfants. En effet, le sérieux et le dévouement du personnel de l’Agence Ometz font de leur travail et des résultats qui en découlent, la fierté des responsables de cette agence. En tant que parent, c’est avec beaucoup de sérénité et de satisfaction que je dépose ma fille à l’Agence Ometz. Aujourd’hui, c`est avec beaucoup d’émotions que je remercie vivement toute l’équipe de l’Agence Ometz qui ne recule devant rien pour le bien-être et la réussite de nos enfants. À l’Agence Ometz, je dis BRAVO et qu’Hachem vous éclaire et vous bénisse dans votre entreprise d’aide a autrui! hide
I was originally part of leadership development at Federation CJA which is a session to aid sensitive young people in the Community, and we did a mission to Montreal during which they gave us a bus to...
I was originally part of leadership development at Federation CJA which is a session to aid sensitive young people in the Community, and we did a mission to Montreal during which they gave us a bus tour of different agencies. I remember going to the JVS Workshop and being so impressed by the work that the workshop did. Iris Wagner was president at the time and she helped give me a good sense of JVS and its history, and I became more and more aware of the agency’s presence within the Community. I was compelled to begin volunteering, and then I continued working, and eventually became president of JVS.
The project I worked on during my presidency that is worth emphasizing is the merger between JFS, JVS and JIAS. I spent most of my presidency in trying to better understand, develop, and adapt how JVS and its mission would be better fulfilled for its clients with a merger with the other agencies. It was a very sensitive time; JVS, an agency that was old and established, was embarking into the unknown. I had to understand why this would make sense for our clients if we merged. Would things improve? Would resources for our staff improve? Would the Community ultimately benefit? There were sensitivities regarding our history that had to be considered as well. It was a heavy mandate that brought a lot of challenge and emotion to all involved, but the interest of the client really prevailed and made it clear why we should have an integrated social service agency.
To this day, I remain active on the board of Ometz. I contribute by virtue of being on the board but where I find it most satisfying is in seeing firsthand that the reasons for the merger have come to light. It is evidenced in how we are able to service our clients in an integrated fashion. Those were all the arguments we made in discussing the merger initially, and it is satisfying to see that they have become reality.
Going forward I see Ometz playing a larger role within the Community simply because the needs of Community continue to expand, particularly as government assistance becomes harder and harder to come by. I see Ometz focusing its efforts in trying to offer high quality services where they feel they can have the most impact on those that are vulnerable. It appears that the vulnerable people in our Community are becoming more and more marginalized, which is why Ometz needs to step in to help them.
I am consistently impressed by the professionalism of the leaders and staff within Ometz. Their commitment to their discipline and to the people they help is very inspiring and rewarding to see. hide
Victor Goldbloom, a pediatrician by profession, has worn many – and varied – professional and community hats, and made myriad contributions to the fabric of Quebec society. He is both a Companion ...
Victor Goldbloom, a pediatrician by profession, has worn many – and varied – professional and community hats, and made myriad contributions to the fabric of Quebec society. He is both a Companion of the Order of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre Nationale du Québec. Although he will celebrate his 91st birthday this summer, he is still active. He is chairman of the Board of the Regional Council on Health and Social Services of Montreal, and chairman of the National Advisory Council to the Canadian Institute of Child Health. Goldbloom spent thirteen years in provincial politics and served as the first minister of state responsible for the quality of the environment and, later, as minister of municipal affairs and environment minister. After leaving politics in 1979, he spent eight years as president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, now the Canadian Centre for Diversity. From 1991 to 1999, he was Canada’s fourth Commissioner of Official Languages.
In 2000, Goldbloom became head of a joint Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Montreal and Federation CJA task force on immigration. The demographics of the Jewish community had been below replacement level for some time, he explained, and as the community had diminished in size, services and institutions had diminished proportionately. Community leader Steven Cummings saw immigration as a source of new human resources. A taskforce chaired by Lynne Kassie and Michael Vineberg had confirmed his hypothesis, and it was in this climate that Goldbloom was asked to head the taskforce that had been promoting immigration as its mandate.
Against the backdrop of a collapse of Argentina’s economy in 2002, Goldbloom and other Jewish community leaders travelled three times to Buenos Aires, home to most of the country’s 180,000 Jews, to meet with community leaders there and to make it clear they weren't being predatory but responsive. “I went with a certain amount of hesitation because, when a community is in trouble, you want to be supportive – and attracting young people away is not supportive,” Goldbloom said. He was prepared to be diplomatic, he said, but it was clear that young people were ready to leave. The economic crisis meant it was difficult for young people to find work and in many cases their parents, who were retired or ready to retire, had lost their savings. “On that basis, we started to receive a flow of people from Argentina,” he recalled. JIAS worked with HIAS, an American charitable organization with offices all over the world, including Argentina. A representative hired by JIAS there “was a wonderful resource,” Goldbloom recalled. “And then we were hit with budget cutbacks, so we didn’t continue. But for two years we were an active presence.”
Around the same period as Argentinian Jews were coming to Montreal, there was also some immigration from France. It was motivated in part by manifestations of anti-Semitism, but also by the attraction of the quality of life offered by Quebec, he said. The majority of Argentinian Jews who came to Montreal arrived between 2000 and 2005; some returned to Argentina once the economic situation had stabilized. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 445 Jews from Argentina living in Montreal, 315 of whom had arrived since 2000, and 1,755 Jews from France. When the stories out of France began to surface about a resurgence of anti-Semitism, Goldbloom recalled, the same kind of contact was undertaken as in Argentina. The psychology of it was different, though. “France is very negative about emigration,” he said, “and the Jewish community goes along with that.”
Although the community has asked the government to be more vigilant about anti-Semitism, Jews are not leaving in large numbers, he said. That said, there has been a fair amount of aliyah, both from Argentina and from France, he observed. French is prominent in Israel, with 15 to 20 per cent of the country’s population able to speak the language. “We always said, ‘Your first choice should be aliyah. If it is not aliyah, think about us. We are a good and welcoming community.’” In 2008 JIAS Montreal, Jewish Employment Montreal and Jewish Family Services were merged into a new agency, Agence Ometz. Although Ometz has an immigration committee, JIAS ceased to exist as an autonomous organization. Goldbloom had high praise for JIAS, calling it “a dynamic organization, with a strategic sense of how to appraoch different countries.” He had high praise also for Shellie Ettinger, who was executive director of the agency during his term as head of the task force and then later, as president of JIAS. “She was a great leader – intelligent and sensitive,” he said. “It was a top-notch organization under her leadership.” hide
I’m a lawyer, and when I graduated law school in the 50s I joined the firm of Max Kaufman, who was then very active in Baron de Hirsch. He got me involved in the childcare and youth services committ...
I’m a lawyer, and when I graduated law school in the 50s I joined the firm of Max Kaufman, who was then very active in Baron de Hirsch. He got me involved in the childcare and youth services committee. I then became an officer and became president of the agency in 1970 and remained president until 1972.
The Quebec government at the time, under Bourassa, passed what became known as Bill 65 which was effectively an expropriation of all family and youth-related agencies of the province. This was unacceptable to the Board and the Jewish Community. We therefore fought the government and traveled to Quebec City to do so. Our main purpose was to retain our Jewish clientele, character and identity. The government even wanted us to change the name of our agency. We were partially successful and the enforcement of the bill became more relaxed. Eventually, it disappeared entirely. That was a very important part of my presidency, and is the project that stands out the most to me.
During my time in office at JFS, an association of Jewish family agencies of North America was created. I was a founding board member and eventually became the 4th president of that association. It was interesting because we met a few times a year, and it gave me an opportunity to interact with other agencies, contribute to, and learn things from them. This too was a highlight of my presidency. hide
When I got involved Ometz was JIAS, and the origin of my interest probably goes back to 1948 when my late father Joseph Shapiro was its President. I was eight years old at the time and I remember my p...
When I got involved Ometz was JIAS, and the origin of my interest probably goes back to 1948 when my late father Joseph Shapiro was its President. I was eight years old at the time and I remember my parents hosting a brunch on Sundays at different times of the year with all of these “strange” people coming into our home. I later learned that these were immigrants coming to Canada from Europe, post-World War II with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their courage and determination to succeed. This experience, as well as others, brought me up with the notion that it is important to help others.
I think I was the president in 1988-89, and at that time we hosted the Ethiopian immigration to Montreal. As I recall, I am proud that Canada was one of the few ports that enabled Ethiopian Jews to leave Ethiopia and come here. We received a delightful community of Ethiopians, many of whom I’m still friendly with today. These young people have celebrated bar mitzvahs and bat mizvahs of their own children. While the Ethiopian community in Montreal is small, relative to the one in Israel, they’re a wonderful addition to our Jewish community.
One of the projects was that I reached out to the senior partners at law and accounting firms to lend us some of their bright young professionals to join our board. By way of example, Herb Siblin, C.A. recommended Bobby Kleinman, C.A. to our Board. Of course the community has benefitted so significantly from:- 1) Bobby’s involvement as a professional, both at JIAS and at the Jewish Community Foundation; and 2) From many other young professionals who then became involved in other communal efforts. I was very pleased with that initiative.
I remember my involvement in JIAS impacted me significantly when my wife and I went to Russia just before Glasnost and Perestroika, when Jews were not allowed to leave Russia. We met these refuseniks in their cramped apartments. They were highly intelligent and skilled but, in many instances, were not allowed to practice their professions and, clearly, not their religion. I felt strongly that these vibrant people were entitled to exodus from Russia and world Jewry, Israel and the United States made this happen. Israel would not be the country that it is today without that exodus and the immigration of a million Jews from Russia. On a much smaller scale, Montreal also benefitted tremendously from the arrival of some of our Jewish Russian brothers and sisters.
I feel very strongly that since I was so privileged to have been born and brought up in Montreal and was exposed to the positive values of my parents that I have tried to give back to the community and elsewhere whenever I can. I believe that one person can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. Thus, while we are here on earth, it is our responsibility to help others less fortunate than ourselves. Ometz, in my view, is critical to sustaining the Montreal Jewish community which is aging. We need new young blood and the primary source of renewal and revival is Jewish immigration from around the world. The time is opportune as there are many areas of the world where Jews feel threatened and underappreciated. The Government of Canada should use this opportunity to allow these people to immigrate and to add to our multi-cultural dynamic society. This would help us sustain the future of the Jewish community in Canada and in Montreal during the balance of the 21st Century and onward. I was truly honored to serve JIAS. I got so much out of my relationship with the JIAS Board, its professionals and our immigrant clients, and learned so much from this experience. I met such wonderful people, both from the volunteering community, as well as the immigrants themselves. My tenure at JIAS stands out as a very significant part of my life and I am proud to have followed in my father’s footsteps. hide
My connection with Ometz is through my leadership at JIAS – Jewish Immigration Aid Services – one of the three agencies that merged to become Ometz is today.One of the key projects we had was the ...
My connection with Ometz is through my leadership at JIAS – Jewish Immigration Aid Services – one of the three agencies that merged to become Ometz is today.
One of the key projects we had was the Hundred Family Program, where we were bringing 100 families at a time to Montreal from the Soviet Union. We sent social workers to Moscow and these families were interviewed before they became eligible to become part of that program. One of the prime concerns was, were they really Jewish? It was difficult to determine but eventually we managed to bring in a couple families at a time. They were assigned a worker at JIAS, who would then refer them to Jewish Family Services and/or Jewish Vocational Services, and they were taught how to do things here – simple things like going to the supermarket to shop and learning to speak English. We were closely working with Rabbi Sirota and Mark Groysberg. One interesting anecdote I remember was one timed Rabbi Sirota a brought in a surgeon who was also a rabbi and he had a mass circumcision of a number of the new immigrants.
In around 2000, I went to Kiev with the executive director of JIAS on the way to one of the Federation annual meetings, and Mark Groysberg gave us the phone number of a person who was a journalist who would tell us a bit about anti-Semitism in the FSU. We called this person, a woman, and we had a cup of coffee with her. During the course of our conversation she informed us that she was a reformed rabbi having studied in Jerusalem and London. While talking I told her about the Hundred Family Program and she said “I know about that program… I’m one of your families”.
I immediately had a certain feeling towards her. She said her husband was having a difficult time getting a Canadian visa, and I went to the Canadian embassy and mentioned it to the person I met and she said she would do what she can. Eventually they both came over. I informed the rabbi (Leigh Lerner) at the Temple Emmanuel about her, in hopes that I could find a job for her. She met Rabbi Lerner and she worked with him for a number of years. I still see her to this day.
My view on Ometz comes from an immigration point-of-view since I was involved with JIAS specifically. I see Ometz being the central focal point for immigration. Having only one agency is fantastic. Immigrants can get all the services they need by going through one door. hide
I was on the JIAS board for ten years, and was the president throughout 1989-1991. In 2007, the year before the Ometz merger, I was asked to sit on the board again for another year. In relating my ...
I was on the JIAS board for ten years, and was the president throughout 1989-1991. In 2007, the year before the Ometz merger, I was asked to sit on the board again for another year. In relating my years with JIAS, I remember that the years surrounding my presidency were years of significant change in immigration in Canada and our community. JIAS initiated the “creation” of the Ethiopian community that now exists in Montreal –mainly as teenage students. The Montreal community agreed to sponsor 100 Russian Families which was also a shared government effort; the Canadian Jewish community was split between supporting more immigration to Canada and directing new immigrants to Israel. These were interesting and challenging times. As a prior board member for 8 years, most of the activities had commenced under prior presidents and concluded or still transitioned under me. It took a great deal of co-ordination between our well trained staff and many agencies to make it happen. JIAS, in many ways, was a transitional agency for immigrants. Our budget was at the will of the community and the politics of the day regarding immigration to Canada. We may have been the face of the community at the airport and in pre-entry into Canada, but very quickly the other social agencies were involved. I was an active proponent of a more proactive immigration policy with the ideology of building the depleting population with immigration and integration policy. It was not a popular stance amongst the majority opinion of the day which seemed to favour making Aliyah instead.
Under my leadership we worked on a few different local projects, the most enduring was effecting the creation of Le Mercaz. Prior to Le Mercaz, there existed a “JIAS Coat/Clothing Room” where immigrants could come and get winter coats and other items of clothing. As nominal as it may seem, people and companies would donate new and old clothes that were in good shape; donating to JIAS to help the immigrants. For me, this was the only connection many in the community had to JIAS. It was informal and a project for charity event at many schools, but it was a connection and let families use the phrase “JIAS Clothing Room” when talking of charity and community. It was closed down during the early 80s but many of us felt strongly that there should be another similar service that could aid both new immigrants and the larger community to JIAS. We quickly initiated the project and found a location. As we were connecting to other social agencies, the Community took over and funded and named it “Le Mercaz “. We had also envisioned combining it with corporate support and creating a “trade school” for tailoring, carpentry, upholstery, electrical repairs, etc. This unfortunately did not happen.
One of my favourite memories was the creation of “show and tell” at our annual meetings. We started having immigrants tell their stories at the annual meeting. Most of them brought tears to everyone; stories of people who crossed mountains to escape their country, describing their process and resettlement in Montreal, and how the community helped them; young artists on their way to professional careers playing their instruments, and many other heroic stories.
Living in Montreal, we were all immigrants at some point. We’ve set our roots here. Being an immigrant can be very isolating, and we shouldn’t forget that thanks to our families’ choices and hardships we have the luxury of being Canadian and having our homes in this wonderful community.
I know that the merger with Ometz has provided new and more efficient services and is continuing the JIAS role in building the community. Being president of JIAS was the most fulfilling opportunity I have had to participate in our community. hide
I was born in Poland at a time when my parents were struggling to reconstruct their lives after surviving the war. Like so many before them, they left for the ‘Promised Land’ with the hopes of st...
I was born in Poland at a time when my parents were struggling to reconstruct their lives after surviving the war. Like so many before them, they left for the ‘Promised Land’ with the hopes of starting a new life. At the age of 5, I remember arriving in Montreal in mid- May. That summer I recall being shipped off, by bus, with my mom to Jewish Laurentian Fresh Air Camp in St. Hippolyte. Years later, I learned that this was part of our Settlement & Integration through JIAS, now part of Ometz.
Since a formal Jewish Education was out of reach for my parents, even with generous subsidies from the community, I attended a Public School and had friends of every nationality. The Jews were a minority in my school. In order to compensate for the lack of Jewish contact that I had throughout the school year, my parents sent me to Camp B’nai Brith every summer. For years, that was my lifeline to Jewish life, establishing friendships with those who had common Jewish values. My parents never shared the fact that it was with the help of Allied Jewish Community Services (now Federation CJA), that my annual camp experiences were made possible. How ironic, or should I say besherit, that granting vulnerable families camp subsidies is the work that I proudly do at Ometz, today.
When my sons graduated from University, they took advantage of the Employment Services that were available to them at Ometz; and later, when my son Ben was seeking to hire employees, he reached out to Ometz as well.
Working at Jewish Family Services, which eventually became Ometz, has not only sensitized me to how difficult people’s lives are; it has also made me appreciate everything around me so much more. More importantly, it motivated me to give back and help our amazing Jewish Community. In addition to my professional position at Ometz for the past twenty plus years, I have somehow managed to have had a complementary second career of volunteering on the Beth Tikvah Board & Executive for 10 years, participating in several Federation Committees, being a founding Board member of the West Island Federation CJA since 1995, Chairing West Island Super Sunday, and Founding and Co-chairing the 50 plus group of CJCS in the West Island.
As I reflect my being a part of the Ometz family for the last 23 years, I am deeply aware of the impact that Ometz has had on my life and in the lives of my family. I am the product of the goals we wish to obtain for our clients. I am grateful for the personal growth that this agency has given me, along with the sense of social responsibility that has been instilled in me as a result of the efforts and decisions that were made for me by my parents, with the support of Ometz and the community, as a child. hide