I have to confess, I have always loved babies. I enjoy holding these little, squirmy bundles. I love watching as they become aware of the world around them, and I love the journey as their personalities are revealed as they grow month by month, and season by season.

For a number of years at Temple, we haven’t had any new babies; today, we have at least a half dozen new little members to celebrate, along with the big brothers and sisters, parents, bubbies and zaydies, and joyful friends. We are truly enriched by the young families who have made us their Temple home, and we look forward to these youngest members as they grow among us.

Young families have unique challenges and needs, and we at Temple Israel are eager to offer ways for these members to connect as a Jewish community. Many thanks to Lisa Faden and Coralia Tudor, who surveyed our families and now have planned some special “Family Fun nights” for us to share together. On February 1, we have a family bowling night (see details on p.5), and in March we are planning a “Parents’ Night Out” with sitters and activities here at Temple for the kids so parents can enjoy dinner or a show together while their children are happily engaged with their Temple friends. We are so blessed to have these new families enriching our congregation with their energy, their ideas, and of course their beautiful children we get to watch grow.

Just as young families have shared interests, adult members and empty nesters have their own unique opportunities for connection and engagement with the Temple community. I have always been proud of Temple Israel’s commitment to “Lifelong Jewish Learning.” Adult education programmes have always been a Temple priority, and our classes continue to build community around shared learning year after year.

As you move from stage to stage in your own Jewish journey, please keep us – your Temple family – in mind. Whether you want to re-explore the basics of Judaism, or you are ready to tackle Bible or Talmud on an adult level, there are partners here who want to share that endeavour with you. Please don’t hesitate to suggest a topic or course -it is through the interests of our members that our educational offerings are shaped.

Keep an eye on our Adult Education calendar – there are Hebrew classes as well as many diverse Judaic topics going on throughout the year. Please note the upcoming “Learner’s Service” on Saturday, March 1, at 10 am. If you have ever wondered how our worship service came to be, and what the rhythm of the prayers represents, this is the service for you. You do not need to be enrolled in the RJ101 or Adult Bnai Mitzvah class to come and learn more about Jewish prayer.

Stay warm, and join us with a good book, a favourite topic, or a challenging question. Lifelong learning is alive and well at Temple Israel, and we welcome everyone – no matter what your educational background. See you in class!

Rabbi Debra Dressler