Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Rabbi Bill S. Tepper
As I write these words, there is a week remaining for the summer of 2018. It’s my sincere hope that all the members of Temple Shalom have experienced a time of rest, rejuvenation and good health in the company of family, friends and community.
During July and August, my family and I took brief but rewarding driving trips to other parts of Ontario. On Shabbat mornings I led worship at Am Shalom Congregation in Barrie, Ontario. There have been good books to read, films to see and restaurants to discover. For Deborah and I there was our thirtieth marriage anniversary! And there has been time spent connecting with Temple Shalom and preparing for the upcoming High Holy Days.
Looking back, it has been a summer to be thankful for. And looking ahead, we of Temple Shalom have as much if not more to anticipate with excitement and gratitude.
We can look forward to enhancing evenings and days together embracing the new Jewish year 5779. It will be a period for renewing our commitment to the God of Israel, our Judaism and one another. It will be an occasion for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth. Together, we will share our aspirations for the year to come. I urge everyone to circle the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur dates on their calendars, and plan to be at Temple Shalom with those you care about – and who care about you.
We can look forward to Shabbat at the Temple on Friday evenings – imbued as they are with music, song, prayers, blessings and good company. As Jews, it is the most rewarding and sacred time of our week. As well, we will be welcoming the special Junior Congregation Shabbat services guided by and incorporating our Temple Youth.
We can look forward to a new year of Jewish study: I cannot overstate the long-term value of Jewish education – for the young and the younger. It is so important that our children learn; it so vital that they are spending quality time in our Temple Shalom building that is, after all, a home away home. We are blessed at the Temple with gifted teachers and a devoted volunteer leadership.
The new Jewish year also implies a renewal of study opportunities for adults: Shabbat morning Torah Study and an array of weekend programs. Please take advantage of these endeavours! Learning of this nature will enlarge your world-view and draw you closer to one another as a congregational community.
We can look forward to social activities at the Temple and elsewhere. Good meals, conversation and opportunities for catching up. Such gatherings serve to strengthen us even further as a community dedicated to perpetuating Jewish life – and Reform Jewish life in particular.
And we can look forward to time in the company of others with whom we share lives of purpose in Winnipeg: those in the larger Jewish community of our city, as well as the different faith groups, ethnicities and cultures who are our partners in building a better city.
To reiterate: it’s my wish that we may all look back on a summer well-spent, while looking ahead to a year brimming with possibilities. Let us make it happen, together.
An early Shanah Tovah, and see you soon at the Temple.