For those of you who heard my speech on Yom Kippur AND have a good memory, this column will sound a bit familiar. However, there are several important messages and “thank you"s (including an update) which deserve to be recorded in Lev HaDavar so I will repeat myself a bit.
For those of you who heard my speech on Yom Kippur AND have a good memory, this column will sound a bit familiar. However, there are several important messages and “thank you"s (including an update) which deserve to be recorded in Lev HaDavar so I will repeat myself a bit. We have just come through another High Holy Days "season," and I say "season" because while most people think only of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there are a few more festivals to celebrate - Sukkot and Simchat Torah which follow shortly after Yom Kippur and as well, Selichot and even, if you wish to be more complete, with the whole month of Elul which leads up to Rosh Hashanah, preceding the Days of Awe. I hope many of you were able to celebrate on some of these other occasions and this year, in particular, as we
• ...learned the true story behind our Westminster Holocaust Torah scroll, brought back to our shul by David and Thelma Rosner in 1986. The talk was further enhanced by Pepa Livingstone's memories as she came from a Czech village from which our Torah scroll may even have come. Unfortunately, we don't know for sure, but fortunately for those of you who missed this event which preceded our observance of Selichot, Rael Wienburg recorded it and the video can be found on our home page by clicking on “About Us,” then “Our Building,” and finally, “Torahs & Ritual Objects.”
• ...inaugurated our new Sukkah platform with many thanks to Jim Stevens, Sergio Saavedra, and Howard Granville for their construction skills and to the children of the Religious School and others who decorated it while enjoying a pancake breakfast made by our youth group kids. On Erev Sukkot, we enjoyed Pizza in the Hut preceding Sukkot services.
• ...dedicated our new Ark, Reader's Table, and Ner Tamid during the service on the evening of Simchat Torah, the holiday where we conclude the reading of the Book of Deuteronomy and immediately begin anew the cycle of Torah reading by reading the opening verses of Genesis, showing that the study of Torah is never-ending. About 75 people attended this service which also saw the consecration of two new students who entered Chevra Aleph in our school. A HUGE thanks to the Ark/Art Committee under the expert - and patient - direction of Susan Agranove. Other members of the committee and participants in the process over the years have included Janet Merrill, Linda Fried, David and Thelma Rosner, Naomi Stambler, Francee Ender, Sharon Raskas, Louise Shanfeld.Ailene Wittstein, Rabbi Joel Wittstein, z"l, Phyllis Cohen, z"l, Len Silverstein, Rabbi Debra Dressler, and myself. Kol HaKavod to Susan and her committee for a job well done in shepherding this large and important project to a beautiful conclusion. Well, almost, as there still are a few small pieces left to complete, but the main pieces are in place. Watch for the announcement of the installation and dedication of the last pieces in the puzzle, hopefully at Chanukah but remember, craftspeople can’t be rushed if you want perfection!
Please mark your calendars and call the Temple office to buy your tickets for Jubilation - A Musical Celebration in Memory of Rabbi Joel. Renowned musicians James and Graham Campbell, who were and are close friends of the Wittsteins, along with the Afiara Quartet, will perform for the lucky first one hundred people who purchase tickets which are $50 each with a tax receipt for the largest possible amount. Proceeds will be used to provide partial scholarships for our kids who will attend URJ's Camp George in the
Parry Sound area which is coincidentally the home of the Festival of the Sound where James Campbell is Musical Director. Research shows that a Jewish camp experience as a child greatly enhances one's Jewish involvement later in life. Let us help ensure the future of Reform Judaism and Judaism in general and have a great time as well. And of course, we are also honouring the memory of our beloved founding rabbi, Rabbi Joel Ira Wittstein, z"l. Donations to the Rabbi Joel Wittstein Camp George Scholarship Fund are, of course, always gratefully received and can now be made online.
Here is where this column diverges from my High Holy Day talks. I asked at both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for somebody to come forward and take over as chair of Social Action. I am pleased to announce that following Kol Nidre services, Nancy Davis and Lisa Faden approached me and “made my day” by telling me that they would take it on as a team. I am thrilled that Social Action will be continuing in capable hands. Todah Raba to Nancy and Lisa and my new request is that we all give them the support that they will need to allow social action to continue as a pillar in our congregation. May they, and we, go from strength to strength, following on in the grand tradition set by Leora Swartzman