Rabbi’s Message May/June 2017

Passing the Baton

Temple Shalom – May/June 2017 Bulletin

Rabbi Bill S. Tepper


Among the highlights of being a spectator at a track-and-field meet is the relay race, where a baton is passed

from one runner to another. It’s a competition during which – for some reason – I find myself rooting for every

runner on every team. How we groan when witnessing one of the batons inadvertently fall to the ground. I

suppose I’m one of those rare sports fans who – when it comes to the relay race – wishes that every team might


However, my most recent visit to Temple Shalom as your rabbi provided us in the congregation with winning

experiences in passing the baton and successful endeavours in extending our beautiful traditions of worship,

learning and Jewish living to the up-and-coming generation of community members and leaders.

On Friday evening April 21, prior to the regular Kabbalat/Erev Shabbat service, students representing both

Sunday morning’s Irma Penn School of Jewish Learning and Wednesday’s Hebrew school participated in a

special ‘PJ Shabbat Service’ involving their recitation of our liturgy, singing our songs and presenting – with

enthusiastic performance skills – a Jewish story to each other and their parents. The event was a memorable

experience in sharing the Judaism we love.

On Sunday morning April 23, I attended the Irma Penn School to assist students in preparing for another

opportunity to inherit our tradition of welcoming Shabbat: the Youth Shabbat Service taking place at Temple

Shalom on June 2. On that evening Irma Penn and Hebrew school students, in addition to the post-B’nai

Mitzvah adolescents, will participate in our evening service. They will guide us through the siddur, lead us in

song, and offer their commentaries/reflections pertaining to Shabbat, Torah, being Jewish and the celebration of


And passing the baton continued into the Sunday afternoon of my visit. During an enjoyable lunch [at one of

Winnipeg’s many excellent dining locales!], the post-B’nai Mitzvah adolescents and I discussed affliating with

NFTY – the North American Federation of Temple Youth. As I know from my son Max’s experience, this is an

important step for our adolescents. Through NFTY, they will connect with their peers in Reform Jewish

communities throughout Canada and the United States. They will engage over issues of concern within the

Reform Movement and of importance to both Jews and non-Jews everywhere. And they will set the stage for

their future roles as leaders and exemplars of Jewish community life.

I cannot overstate the magnitude of encouraging the future generations of our Jewish community; of providing

the best of conditions wherein our youth will learn, grow and assume positions of responsibility, and of ‘relaying’

to them all that is sacred and valued in our Judaism. It means passing the baton in the most winning of ways.

Rabbi Bill Tepper was live with Nadai Kidwai of CBC Radio Winnipeg. Enjoy the story of our “Flying Rabbi”…




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