A Year of Growth
Sep 9th 2013

Despite Rav Baruch’s reminder in June that there were only 10 weeks left until the High Holy Days, I remained convinced that there was plenty of time to enjoy the summer. As I finally sit down to write this column, it is clear that summer has come to an abrupt conclusion, and the High Holy Days are upon us. Now is the time to take stock of the year that is ending and focus on the one that’s about to begin.

Rosh Hashanah Tab Cards – Volunteering at Beth Tzedec

When you opened the envelope with your High Holy Day tickets, you will have seen that we are once again inviting you to get involved in our Synagogue community. Even if you didn't submit your card on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, it is not too late. Please tell us how you will help us. We changed the options this year, as well as the follow-up process. We invite you to:

  • Offer to Serve on a Committee by matching your skills and interests with our diverse needs. Descriptions of the committees who need your help will be posted on our website, along with details about the tasks and time commitments involved –tell us which one appeals to you, complete a simple volunteer information form, and then staff or committee chairs will be in touch to discuss how best to get you involved.
  • Sign up for the Beth Tzedec Reserves. This is a newly created team of people who will offer to be called on when we need help on a particular project or task, such as assembling packages for members who are studying out-of-town, publicizing an upcoming Concert Fundraiser, or staffing a Beth Tzedec event. Tell us that we can reach out to you when we need you, and we will.
  • Shape and participate in ẖesed/tikkun olam initiatives. Each year, more of you tell us that you are looking for meaningful opportunities to provide tangible support to our local community and Israel together with your children. Our goal is to integrate a tikkun olam perspective into more of our programs for all ages. We will contact you to help conceive of and execute these initiatives.
  • Learn new Jewish Skills. There is no better time to commit to learning to lead services (which will enable you to support members of our community during shiva) or to chant Torah or Haftarah (for  example, by participating in our returning Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program). You will hear from a member of our Klei Kodesh who will help get your learning started.

If you didn't tab down your card, all you have to do is send an email to our new Membership Coordinator, Sheri Federman, at 416-781-3514 ext 220 and she will ensure that you are set up. Volunteers WILL hear from us by the end of September this year.

High Holy Day Hot Topics!

As you may have already experienced first-hand, these learning sessions (formerly called “Break-out Sessions”) involve interactive discussions led by dynamic professionals who have volunteered to share their perspective and expertise on a variety of subjects relevant to Judaism and the holidays. On Yom Kippur, we offer six different discussion opportunities, culminating with a panel discussion by four Ontario judges on the themes of responsibility, judgment and forgiveness. The number and quality of this year’s sessions are excellent. Please come see what they’re all about.

I would like to thank Rav Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Daniel Silverman and Aily Leibtag and everyone else who conceived of these fascinating, engaging topics. And, most importantly, we are extremely grateful to our Synagogue members who are leading these sessions—we are so lucky to have you as part of our Beth Tzedec family.

From the Heart: A Joint Fundraiser for Beth Tzedec and Canadian Friends of Shaare Zedek Hospital

We are thrilled to announce that Beth Tzedec has joined hands with The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation to co-host this special fundraising event jointly benefiting Beth Tzedec and Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital, with whom we share the common goals of pursuing righteous activities that care for, enhance and save lives.

This extraordinary evening will take place on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at Beth Tzedec and will include a cocktail reception, dinner, presentations and a champagne dessert after-party for upwards of 800 guests.

We are very excited to welcome guest speaker Gideon Raff, award-winning Israeli film and television director, screenwriter and writer of Israel’s television show Hatufim (Prisoners of War) and Executive Producer of its acclaimed U.S. adaptation, HOMELAND (for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2012). In addition, that evening, we will be presenting The Hon. Irwin Cotler with the inaugural Kurt and Edith Rothschild Humanitarian Award in recognition of his extraordinary vision and accomplishments in the pursuit of justice and the welfare of society, and his unwavering commitment to advancing human rights, advocating for Israel, and fighting anti-Semitism, racism and terrorism.

This joint initiative is consistent with our goals of creating strong, engaging programs, nurturing strategic partnerships with other local organizations, and supporting Israel, as we serve as a Community Destination for Jewish Living. Through this event, we hope to raise at least $500,000. These net proceeds will support the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Clinic at Shaare Zedek Medical Center which also serves as a peacetime military Hospital, annually treating more than 12,000 soldiers, and help fund our launch of the physical renewal of our Synagogue building which is so critically needed. We encourage each and every member to join us on November 21st and to help get the word out to your friends and business associates—you won’t want to miss this unique and special evening. Learn more at

Program Guide

All of your committees and staff have been hard at work planning for the coming year, and putting the details in place for our Annual Program Guide for Adults, Families and Youth. Copies will be available on Kol Nidrei. Be sure to take yours home and plan to be with us often in the coming year for a myriad of new and returning events, celebrations and educational  opportunities for all ages.

I wish all of you and your families a happy, healthy, sweet and peaceful new year.