May and June at Temple Shalom were a deeply spiritual and rewarding time, as well as celebratory. In early May we held our annual Shoah Memorial with a fascinating, moving service on Shabbat, followed by what had become an annual Songs & Stories evening.
Later that month we were pleased to see two of our members honoured with the Jewish Federation’s Shem Tov awards. These awards are meant to recognize the value of volunteerism and the key role volunteers play in building our local agencies and organizations. They are intended to give affiliated agencies of the Federation an opportunity to provide community-wide recognition for the volunteer of their choice. Myriam Saitman was honoured for her service as Chair of the Board of the Irma Penn School of Jewish Learning, Temple Shalom’s Hebrew School and Sunday School; and long-time congregant Faye Mount was honoured as a faithful volunteer for Shalom Residences, a non-profit organization which provides care and support in community based homes for adults with intellectual disabilities in a Jewish milieu.
At the end of May we were fortunate to be visited by Rabbi Larry Hoffman, a leading scholar of the Reform movement. He spoke to us at our Friday night service with an introduction to his presentation on Saturday, when he gave us his unique insights into ‘authentic Jewish spirituality’. As I had heard him speak previously at one of the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism) Biennial conferences, I was expecting an inspirational and brilliant talk – I was not disappointed. Those of us who were at the lecture were taken on a wonderful journey through the Torah and its many applications to present day, with a focus on what Judaism offers for people seeking meaning in their lives.
In June we had our final visit with Rabbi Soria, a bittersweet time filled with the memorable words she gave us on Shabbat (a link to which you will find elsewhere in the Bulletin), and her excellent panel presentation on Saturday night when we celebrated the community Shavuot services at our Temple. There were many joint planning meetings with Adas Yeshurun Herzlia, Etz Chaim, Shaarey Zedek and the Jewish Federation for Shavuot; and on the day of the event we had a fabulous crew of staff and volunteers managing everything seamlessly. We’ve had very positive feedback from throughout the community, saying that Temple Shalom created an outstanding Shavuot celebration for all. Thank you so much to the staff and volunteers for providing once again that welcoming and wonderful atmosphere that is such an important part of who we are.
And finally we held a farewell tea for Rabbi Karen Soria the following day. Thanks to everyone who donated to the plaque on the Tree of Life in her name. She will long be remembered for her kind, caring, scholarly and thoughtful contributions to our Temple over the past eight years.
Have a great summer, and stay tuned for our exciting fall lineup.
Linda Freed, President