President’s Message Mar/Apr 2020

Temple Shalom Membership: A Prescription for Long Life!

I am still on a bit of high from the URJ Biennial in December. So many interesting and creative people, so many exciting ideas. It’s easy to remain enthusiastic, partly because 5 of us went and we keep talking about what we learned and did, and partly because the URJ information sharing platform, The Tent, makes it easy to exchange ideas with presenters and members of other congregations. We at Temple Shalom are small but we certainly don’t lack for interested and creative people with exciting ideas and commitment, so how do we bring what we heard and learned here?

For starters, the Board had a very fruitful half-day retreat which will help engage our members and others in the community of all ages, family configurations and wherever they are in their Jewish journey. Soon we will be welcoming your input in shaping our next few years.
We often ask ourselves what would make someone join Temple Shalom. We know that younger people are less and less inclined to join religious organizations for many reasons and even older adults don’t always feel they need to be part of a synagogue community. Even in Winnipeg, there are so many other ways to connect with the Jewish community.

So I was interested to read a short article in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “A Prescription

for Longevity in the 21st Century: Renewing Purpose, Building and Sustaining Social Engagement, and Embracing a

Positive Lifestyle .” It spoke to me because the life-lengthening measures it prescribes are found at Temple Shalom.

These prescriptions work at any age, but the earlier that they start, the greater and more long-lasting the effects. It’s a short list of prescriptions, no complicated pill containers or medical expertise needed. Here they are:

1. A Sense of Purpose: easily accomplished through volunteering, acts of chesed (caring for others), engaging in tikkun olam (repairing the world)

2. Social Engagement: developing relationships with others and building social relationships. These can be purely social or involve learning, tikkun olam, singing in the choir, participating in services, or sharing a meal, holiday or life-cycle celebration

3. Lifestyle Choices and Wellness: OK, I admit we are not outstanding in offering fitness classes and healthy food but exercising the mind is at least as important for a living long, healthy life. Want to keep those neurons fit, try any of our education opportunities (Irma Penn school for kids or the Rabbi’s classes for adults), think about a d’var torah you hear at services, have a conversation at the oneg, take time to reflect and meditate during services)

Temple Shalom could just be the key to longevity! Hope to see you soon. Judith
1 Philip A Pizzo; JAMA. 2020 Jan 9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.21087.