Rabbi’s Message November 2018

What Beckons Us

      Rabbi Bill S. Tepper


Rabbis, Cantors and all Jewish professionals have a special fondness for the Hebrew month of Cheshvan.  Following a period [the preceding month of Tishrei] of intense activity – Rosh HashanahYom KippurSukkot and Simchat Torah with their requisite worship services and accompanying learning and social programs, Cheshvan offers a measure of respite, to reflect on the Yom Tov experiences while envisioning another year of equally-rewarding life within our Temple and community.

The post-Tishrei lull however, is a brief one.  It’s not long after having replaced Yom Tov’s white Torah covers with the rest-of-the-year’s multi-coloured ones that we resume planning for Shabbat, schedule and engage in adult and youth programming, and resume attending to our Religious and Hebrew schools.   Pastoral work continues, in addition to involvement with the larger Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Winnipeg.

Everyone, not only Jewish professionals, is beckoned.  Notwithstanding the ‘down time’ of Cheshvan, we do not pause in our commitment to perpetuating Jewish life.   We take no holidays from our Judaism.

That being understood, during the coming year, we of Temple Shalom can anticipate the continuation of dynamic Shabbat services guided by dedicated laypersons, Cantor Len Udow, Janet Pelletier Goetze, guest musicians and myself.   We can look forward to the ongoing learning and questioning that imbue Shabbat morning Torah Study.  We can look forward to rewarding adult programming taking place Saturday evenings and – on occasion –Sunday mornings and afternoons.   We can look forward to specially-planned worship, learning and social programs the aim of which are to enhance the emotional, intellectual and spiritual life of our children and youth.  We can look forward to welcoming those who are Jewish by choice.   We can look forward to welcoming visitors of all faiths, cultures, sexual identities and socio-economic conditions who cross our sacred threshold with open hearts, minds and in the spirit of respect.   Such welcoming is fundamental to who we are as Jews and a congregational community.

And the opportunity to participate in the welcoming, facilitate the programming, and assume leadership in the life of Temple Shalom is open to every member of our congregation.   We invite everyone’s ideas, skills and resources.   Speak with our Temple board members and speak with me.  Everything happens when you take that first step.

Neither however, must we overlook, discount, nor avoid responding to what is occurring politically and socially – here in Canada, within the United States, in our Jewish homeland of Israel, and throughout the world.   Frequently, the information we receive is heartbreaking.  Regress, rather than progress, is pervasive.  With some exceptions, the efforts of our elected officials continue to let us down.  And whatever occurs at a distance inevitably affects us here.

In response then, may we continue to be informed; listen and be heard; involve ourselves in the fulfilling work of Temple and community; and demand the highest ethical behavior of ourselves, those we care for, and those who purport to lead us.  Social justice and tikkun olamrepairing the world – define our view of life.

Optimism is hard work, and the uncertainty is, at times, overwhelming.   But there is still good news; let us all try harder to create it.

Family, Temple, community, and our world.   In Cheshvan and beyond, let us continue to answer the call of what beckons us.

Rabbi Tepper’s Upcoming Visits 2018

Thursday, November 9 – Sunday November 11

Thursday November 29 – Sunday December 2

Thursday Dec 6 – Sunday December 9