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President's Message Nov/Dec 2017

President’s Message – Linda Freed


Greetings. We have been very busy at the Temple, as always when it’s time for the High Holy Days, followed by Sukkot and Simchat Torah. I’ve heard from many of you about how you were uplifted by the music, prayers and readings, along with the gifted leadership of our clergy and choir leader. I certainly enjoyed seeing so many of you up on the bimah to participate in one or more of the honours – reading from the Torah, Aliyot, assisting in the rituals at the ark and with the Torot. I felt lucky and blessed to be in this congregation.
In the coming months of November and December we have lots to look forward to: of course the Rabbi will be here from November 2-5, so we have the opportunity to spend time with him – Friday night there’s a Children’s Shabbat Service at 5:30 – don’t miss it if you can get yourself and your child/grandchild to the Temple – you’ll be glad you did. And of course the regular Shabbat service at 7:30. The Saturday evening program with Rabbi Tepper is always stimulating, and in keeping with our Capital Campaign launch the next day, on Saturday we’ll be discussing “A Home Away from Home” – please join us, bring your ideas and have a pleasant evening. Soon we have our Peace Service on November 10th, followed by Phil Spevak’s presentation of “4000 Years of Judaism with Music and Humour” on Nov 18.
I’ve been thinking about the many special aspects of being a member at Temple Shalom. We are lucky to have Rabbi Tepper leading services for the HH Days and once a month all year, as well as working with our students, providing pastoral care, and guiding us with his influence and teachings. In addition, we have also developed an amazing cadre of lay leaders: congregants hear many new ideas and ways of looking at the weekly parashiyot from these volunteers. It’s a wonderful opportunity for growth for the lay leaders as well as the congregants; if you’re interested in leading a service sometime please let us know. We’d be happy to provide you with information about what you need to do. If you’d like someone who is experienced to co-lead with you, we can do that too.
I do hope you can attend the Reaching Out Reaching Up Capital Campaign Launch on Sunday Nov 5, 2 to 4 pm. There will be a gathering in the Sanctuary for all the news about the campaign, then fun, food and friends in the Social Hall. We have Joy Coffee Bar serving great coffee, there will be lovely food of course, and refreshments. We’re planning for the future, and want to hear from you!

President's Message Sept/Oct 2017

Greetings to all of you. As the summer comes to a close, some of us are back at work, others are still dangling their feet in the lake, and yet others are in the midst of back to school preparations – it’s that time of year. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Days of Awe and the important holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah that follow.

In light of recent occurrences in Canada, the USA, and Jerusalem, I’d like to give you an excerpt from a URJ interview with Elie Wiesel in 2005:
“How, despite your disappointment and bouts of pessimism, have you been able to cling to hopefulness?

One must wager on the future. I believe it is possible, in spite of everything, to believe in friendship in a world without friendship, and even to believe in God in a world where there has been an eclipse of God’s face. Above all, we must not give in to cynicism. To save the life of a single child, no effort is too much. To make a tired old man smile is to perform an essential task. To defeat injustice and misfortune, if only for one instant, for a single victim, is to invent a new reason to hope.

Just as despair can be given to me only by another human being, so too can hope can be given to me only by another human being. Peace is our gift to each other. For the sake of our children and theirs, I pray that we are worthy of that hope, of that redemption, and some measure of peace.
Do you still have faith in God as the ultimate redeemer?

I would be within my rights to give up faith in God, and I could invoke six million reasons to justify such a decision. But I don’t.
I am incapable of straying from the path charted by my fathers and forefathers, who felt duty-bound to live for God. Without the faith of my ancestors, my own faith in humanity would be diminished. So my faith, wounded as it is, endures.”

So my friends, we continue to live our lives while keeping in mind that we can make a difference in the world every day: by striving to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves; by standing up for justice and against hate; and for doing our best to repair the world Tikkun Olam.

When we come together as a community we can enlighten and encourage each other, as well as provide physical and spiritual sustenance to those around us. I look forward to seeing you at the High Holy Days, and throughout the year at Temple Shalom: a welcoming, dynamic community that lives Judaism.

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

President's Message July/Aug 2017

President's Message July August 2017

As I sit down to write this message to our congregation I am struck with frustration at what’s happened in Israel this week. It’s hard to know what will happen next, but the Reform movement and others are clearly going to make themselves heard. As Jews we have many different opinions on how to practice our Judaism, but on the subject of Israel, we are all committed to our spiritual home.

From the WRJ (Women of Reform Judaism) statement today I quote: “On Sunday, June 25th, Israel announced that it is suspending its promise for an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall (Kotel). In addition, the Israeli government advanced a bill that would give exclusive control for conversions to ultra-Orthodox rabbis. These actions will deepen the divide between Israel and the Diaspora communities. WRJ is outraged that the Israeli government would renege on its prior negotiated agreements.  WRJ is working collaboratively with our partners across the Reform Movement to convey our strong views on these matters and to convince the Israeli government to uphold its previous commitments.

Their partner-groups have made their thoughts known; you can read their statements here:

 

On the home front, I can tell you that we will of course be holding Kabbalat Shabbat services every Friday through the summer, at 6:15 p.m. It’s a chance for connecting with friends every week, sometimes followed by supper together at a local restaurant. Please join us as we mark the Shabbat.

Be sure to read Rabbi Tepper’s message in this Bulletin – it’s chock full of wonderful suggestions for summer entertainment and stimulation, on various Jewish themes. This summer he will continue with his Shabbat greetings to us, which are always thoughtful and enjoyable.

Summer is upon us, although the jet stream is stuck in its current configuration and we’re not getting seasonal weather; however that’s about to change from what I hear. Hooray!

I wish you the very best for the summer and look forward to seeing you at the Temple in the Fall.  

Linda Freed

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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