It is so hard to believe that the end is near. We wanted to be able to say goodbye to all of Beth Tzedec and thank you for an incredible year.
Coming to Beth Tzedec, we didn’t expect that the Jewish community here would be so warm, inviting and welcoming towards us. Our expectations were that we would work, plan programs and have a new experience. We expected to give to the community, but we were not able to predict how much we would learn and grow because of you. We learned so much about Judaism and our Jewish identity.
In Israel we often take our Judaism for granted. Being Jewish is just what we are; it is built into our society, and therefore making Jewish decisions comes without thinking. Here, we have learned how beautiful it is to choose Judaism. Shabbat is a scheduled day of the week for us across the country. In Canada, coming to shul and celebrating Shabbat is a choice you make, a special time you set aside in the week. Seeing this really inspired us. It will have a very big impact on what we do when we return to Israel. Beth Tzedec is not only a community, it is a family, and after being here for a year, we feel part of the Beth Tzedec family.
For me (Inbar), it was wonderful to see how volunteering is such a big part of people’s lives here. It is amazing to see that people of all ages take part in this and try to reach all the people in need. The groups of students, parents and other community members who come out and get involved make this place and this community so special. It is exciting for us to see how, when there are so many other areas of life, people get involved in the synagogue. Israel plays such a big role in people’s lives here in Toronto. There are so many events and programs that support and celebrate the country. We were shocked by this, and so incredibly excited. For instance, when Operation Pillar of Defense happened, we felt such love and interest from people in the community who made us feel supported.
In Israel, I (Alon) was scared of going to synagogue and did not feel connected. Coming to Beth Tzedec made me want to make synagogue a part of my life. The Jewish community gave us more than we could have thought, and therefore we loved being able to give back. Israelis should know what is going on here in the Diaspora. Our emissary job starts when we are back in Israel; that is when we have to share with Israel what it is like in Canada, and what we can learn from the people here.
We couldn’t talk about our year here without thanking our amazing host families. They not only let us into their houses but created Canadian homes for us and brought us into the whole community. It is so special that we will return home with a whole new set of brothers, sisters, parents and cousins. As strange as it is,
it is something so special that we feel so fortunate and lucky to have been able to be a part of.
We feel such a connection with the youth in the shul, in such a special way. These relationships are so strong that when someone lands in Israel, we want to be their first call, and we will be there to pick them up from the airport! We also want to thank all the staff at Beth Tzedec for always supporting us and pushing us to do our best work. As well, thanks to our lay leader, Todd Beallor, who was like one more dad here in Canada and we thank him for welcoming us into his family as well.
It is almost the end of the year, but just the beginning of our relationship with all of you. Please keep in touch with us by email, and please come to our formal goodbye Shabbat dinner on June 14. Alon Reichman firstname.lastname@example.org Inbar Erez email@example.com
Help us wish Alon and Inbar well at our Shabbat Dinner on June 14. For information or to register, click here.