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President's Message May/June 2017

President’s Message May/June 2017

 

I always find that the months from January to June are the busiest time of the year (except for the High Holy Days!) at Temple Shalom and in the Jewish community. Although some of you are able to take holidays in warm locales over the winter, the rest of us are kept busy and warm with the many activities and celebrations that occur.

We’ve really enjoyed having Rabbi Tepper with us this year; his warmth and generosity of spirit are a delight. He brings tremendous enthusiasm to his teachings at Friday night services, Saturday morning Torah study, and Saturday evening gatherings for Adult Ed and Havdallah. We’ve seen some wonderful movies together and had lively, interesting discussions before and afterwards, heightened by the Rabbi’s love of Jewish history and Jewish stories told in contemporary film. Only last week we watched Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer” and I was quite amazed that the first ever “talking” film was so thoroughly steeped in Judaism. In addition, the Rabbi’s dedication to the students at our Irma Penn School of Jewish Learning, and to our post B’nai Mitzvah youth group has been important for all.

Recently the Temple’s Board of Directors had a strategic planning / visioning session which we plan to be talking about with you in the coming months. The board would like to hear from you about what we are doing right, and where we could be making improvements. Please do contact me if you have something to say. It’s an ongoing pleasure and privilege to be engaged in looking ahead to the future of Temple Shalom, continuing as innovators in the daily life of our community.

Please do come out to join us at the Bat Mitzvah and wedding simchas in June, which you can read about in this bulletin. And I hope that Temple Shalom will be well represented at the community Shavuot where we gather to celebrate the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. The Rabbis will each share their favourite Jewish teaching; there will be a lovely dinner; there will be breakout sessions with clergy and teachers regaling us with their contributions to the evening; followed by a short mincha/maariv service and then dessert! See p. 10 for details.

We hope to see you in the coming months and over the summer.

Linda Freed

 

President's Message March/April 2017

President’s Message March 2017

It’s been an enjoyable week here as we’ve had the annual pre-Spring thaw. I love it but felt sympathy for my dogs as they scrambled to avoid the very cold puddles of water we encountered everywhere we went. Now we’re back to normal, below freezing weather, making it easier to get around but it’s still important to navigate carefully over the ice.

This is somewhat like moving through the world lately – one needs to be alert to what’s ahead, while maintaining an even demeanor in day to day conversations about politics, religion, and what is in the best interests of people here and everywhere.

At Temple Shalom we are immersed in the tasks of maintaining daily activities and also in long- term planning, that are part of our congregation’s commitment to the spiritual aspects of Judaism and to connections that advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life.

We are certainly looking forward to this year’s Shabbat Across Canada (and North America) at the Rady Centre. It’s a wonderful opportunity to join with three congregations for a Shabbat Service and a wonderful meal, singing songs led by our cantors and listening to a few words from each of the Rabbis. Amazing crafts and games for children will be running in the Adult Lounge throughout the evening. If you don’t make it this year, start planning now to attend the next one.

And of course the next holiday we are planning for is Purim, starting with our Purim Shpiel on March 10 and then the Megillah reading and children’s Purim party on March 12.

Following that, our next big event is a Jewish Songwriters Night on March 18. This is a fabulous opportunity to hear artists from our own Jewish community perform their original songs as well as some old favourites. We proved that we could create a unique evening with our Jewish Comedy Night in November, and we plan to do it again! It was a Sold Out event so get your tickets now for this one.

Please come out and join us at these activities, or come any Friday night to our Shabbat Service all are welcome.

Linda Freed 

President's Message Jan/Feb 2017

President’s Message  January 2017 – Linda Freed

Dear Friends,   

 

It’s hard to believe that we are on the brink of 2017 but I’m looking forward to it with anticipation. We’ve had some wonderful programs and events over the past two months, I hope you were able to join us for some of them.  The annual Shabbat Peace Service includes a selection of songs about peace, which I find deeply moving every year owing not only to the content and context, but also to the incredible vocalists we have amongst us. Another one of particular interest for me was the Adult Ed with Rabbi Tepper, when we showed the movie “Paper Clips”.  We heard the Rabbi’s personal experiences of visiting the railway car and the school near Chattanooga that organized the display. There are artifacts from people around the world who heard of the project, and paper clips, totalling six million for the Jews and five million more for the gypsies, homosexuals and other victims of the Holocaust.

 

We were very pleased with our Jewish Comedy Night, a sold out event held at the Temple. A successful fundraiser with ambiance, great food, and very funny comedy from four young local Jewish comedians – it couldn’t have been better. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the volunteers who helped organize the event (it was a valuable learning experience for me), and those who helped run things that night. We had support from generous sponsors, local TV and print media. A good time was had by all!

 

Our Chanukah celebrations began with a party for the Irma Penn School children with entertainment, crafts, and of course latke-making! Then at Shabbat we made and ate latkes together at the annual Chanukah Potluck. Over 80 people attended. We ate, sang, prayed and shared a memorable evening together. The following night we had an adult Chanukah party with more delicious food and fun.

 

Join us for the coming months, read this Bulletin and the eBlasts for upcoming events, and remember to come for the entertaining evening we will have with Rabbi Tepper on January 14th. In February we have a Tu Bi Shvat potluck & seder with the Rabbi, and the Dramatic Theatre fundraiser for Temple Shalom, an Agatha Christie play.


My thanks to the staff, the board, the volunteers, the teachers and you, for continuing your involvement and support for Temple Shalom. We are an integral part of the community, and will be continuing our efforts to be a thoughtful, spiritual, comfortable and inspiring home for Reform Judaism in Winnipeg. My very best wishes to you and yours in the new year. 

 

President's Message Nov/Dec 2016

It’s hard to convey what goes on from day to day at Temple Shalom – as with any community organization there are myriad details on a daily basis. We have the great privilege of representing Reform Judaism in the city of Winnipeg, with all the interactions that entails locally, nationally and internationally.

On a recent teleconference with congregations who are members of the Canadian arm of the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), the President of URJ Canada, Paul Lezner, spoke about being proud of the URJ as well as proud of our distinct Canadian status. The URJ is the largest and most diverse Jewish movement in North America, with 900 congregations and more members than all others combined. Interestingly, there are 40 or 50 Reform congregations now in Israel.

What the Reform movement strives to do is strengthen communities that connect people to Jewish life, building a more whole, just and compassionate world. The URJ priorities are: 1) strengthen congregations, helping them stay relevant and innovative; 2) repair the world: galvanize people to pursue social justice, equality of all people; 3) invest in the next generation, through youth programs; and 4) “Audacious hospitality”: make our Temple a place where Jews of all persuasions come together. An important part of what we want to achieve is that everyone can feel at home in being Jewish.

I’d say we’ve been working hard at these basic principles for the past many years, and are always looking for new ways to do it better. So please feel free to call or write me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have suggestions for changes or improvements you’d like to see in what we are doing at Temple Shalom.

And do come out to participate in some of our regular events, listed at the front of the bulletin. It’s such an interesting, varied and stimulating environment – come make it even more so! Rabbi Tepper will be here for Shabbat services once a month, all year. While he’s here there will be Torah Study on Saturdays at 10 a.m., plus Havdallah and an entertaining program on Saturday evenings. The discussions are lively and informative – we’d love to have you join us.

And I can’t close without urging you to come to the Jewish Comedy Night we have planned for Sat. November 26th. It’s shaping up to be a uniquely special evening for our Temple Shalom family so you won’t want to miss it. Tickets are limited so don’t wait ‘til the last minute!

Best wishes for health and happiness as we forge ahead into our New Year.

President's Message Sept/Oct 2016

The Rabbi is coming! The Rabbi is coming! After working together since March, we are finally getting together with Rabbi Bill Tepper for the first time on Shabbat when he will lead the service, Friday September 16th. If you have a chance to attend I know you’ll be glad you did, as from what I have read online and in the discussions we’ve been having, I have found him to be highly engaging, resourceful, thoughtful, and humble.

It will be a whirlwind tour, filled with meeting people: for final planning w clergy & choir re the High Holydays; for meeting and getting to know board members and congregants; for leading the Shabbat Service Friday and a Torah Study on Saturday morning Sept. 17th, 10 a.m.; and more. Hopefully even have a chance to see a few Winnipeg sights.

Here’s a glimpse at Bill’s CV - he’s: an accomplished teacher in the dramatic arts and teacher in all Jewish and synagogue-related activities; a high-achieving student in Rabbinic school; a generous contributor of his time both to the Jewish and to the broader community in many matters including in the area of Social Justice; and when, for family reasons after 8 years there, he had to leave his Chattanooga synagogue in March 2016, the Mayor of the city proclaimed a “Rabbi Bill Tepper Appreciation Day” – which to me says a lot.

So please come on down. It’s four weeks from now, the third weekend in September. September 16th. There will be an oneg afterwards, of course. Nothing happens at Temple Shalom without food.

For parents and grandparents, there’s an opportunity for you and your child to meet the Rabbi at the first day of the Irma Penn School on Sunday Sept. 18th. More details will be sent out in the eblast and on Facebook.

Then we are almost at the High Holydays. Please be sure to consult the many HH dates outlined on the Schedule in this Bulletin. On the weekend after Yom Kippur you might note that we’ll be having an Erev Sukkot Potluck and Lay led service on Sunday Oct. 16th, followed the next weekend by Erev Simchat Torah on Sunday Oct 23rd, when we will hold a Simchat Torah service – that’s always a fun one, seeing an entire Torah unrolled around the Temple Sanctuary.

Finally, I’m very happy to tell you that we will have two new shofars for the HH services this year. After much deliberation the two beautiful ram’s horns that were chosen are apparently the perfect pair, and make a wonderful chord when sounded together.

L'Shana Tovah u'Metukah I wish you a good and sweet year. Linda Freed

President's Message July/August 2016

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 

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