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Message from the President

16/07/2021 05:22:17 PM


Gary Hyman, President

Dear friends,

Exciting times are ahead and I want to give you an update about current business at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

Our new Executive Director, Ran Ukashi, was warmly welcomed on Monday by board members, the clergy, and staff at a socially distanced meet and greet. He has already made a positive impact during his first week in the office, getting to know the staff and their roles, and engaging with volunteers and congregants that have reached out. In the weeks since accepting the position, he has also attended two board meetings as he orients himself with current synagogue business and projects. A special thank you to the Search Committee who were integral in the selection of our new Executive Director – Anita Neville, Chairperson; Barb Kowall; Michael Stronger; Rabbi Anibal Mass; and our consultant from Calgary, Ken Goldstein. We are eager for Ran’s contributions to the synagogue.

We are pleased to announce some changes to the composition of the clergy and ritual team under the leadership of our spiritual leader, Rabbi Anibal Mass. Leslie Emery will move into the role of Cantor, and Dr Rena Secter Elbaze will act as Lay Clergy in addition to her work as the Director of Engagement and Education. Additionally, our team continues with the great work of Bill Weissmann, Lay Clergy and Shammes; Stacey Bazak, Ritual Secretary; Marvin Polanski, Audio Visual Director; and also the help of Bonnie Robinson in davening Minyan on a weekly basis. The clergy team is very confident that it will continue to grow over time, and that they can provide an exceptional religious experience, and I want to thank them all for their hard work and dedication to the shul. Please reach out to them if you have questions about their different roles, responsibilities, or just to say ‘hi’. Contact information is available by clicking here. And don’t forget to join us for services twice daily, 365 days a year. More information is available by visiting clicking here. We also thank the Shaarey Zedek Quartet and welcome them back under the direction of Justin Odwak, with John Anderson, Kyra Krassnigg, Mal Magorel, and Sarah Sommer.

Many of you are curious to know what is happening with High Holy Day Services. Please stay tuned for an important announcement that will be made early next week about Selichot, service times, tickets, the Yizkor book, and holiday catering take out. On the topic of catering, please visit our website for our summer take out menu by Joel Lafond Executive Chef and his team – Click here to view the menu.

With COVID positivity rates dropping and vaccination rates increasing, we are reviewing our current synagogue pandemic policies with regard to Minyan and Shabbat attendance, life cycle events, and programs. Although government regulations are allowing for reduced restrictions and increased attendance, we are taking a cautious approach. More information will be made available about the gradual reopening when plans have been finalized and approved.

Although the synagogue is closed, the Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop is open by appointment should you need a gift or item for your home. Contact Carole Jeffries, Merchandising and Volunteer Lead, by clicking here to schedule a time to come in.

The L’Dor Va’dor Committee – our capital campaign group raising funds for renovations to our shul – has been very active under the leadership of campaign chair, Neil Duboff. At present, the plan is to remain in our building through 2021, and in early 2022 move to a temporary location while construction begins on the building. Even though we will be temporarily displaced for this important work, it will be business as usual, with all rituals, services, and events occurring in that temporary location – hopefully with reduced COVID restrictions. Many thanks to Neil Duboff (Chair), Dr Ted Lyons, and to our fundraising consultant, Bob Freedman, for their work on this project. More information will be coming this Fall as this project continues to evolve.

For those waiting for the next Shofar magazine, I have some news. We are publishing and printing a High Holy Day edition in late-August to provide information about Fall programs, insightful articles, tributes and other content. We are unable to produce a congregational calendar this year, but will be integrating full-page grid-style calendar pages in each edition of the Shofar with Jewish and Canadian Holidays, Minyan and event times.

I want to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to our board members for their leadership and tireless commitment: David Stern, Vice President; Dr Ted Lyons, Past President; Neil Duboff, Holly Harris, Barbara Kowall, Fanny Levy, Dr Noam Millo, Anita Neville, Richard Pollock, Dr Brent Schacter, Michael Stronger, Mara Lyons Zipursky, and also to Sisterhood representative, Sandy Polanski, who is Sisterhood co-President.

In addition to everyone thanked above, an extra special thank you to our other staff team members for their hard work and ongoing commitment to the shul: Bill Croydon, Synagogue and Cemetery Building and Maintenance Supervisor; Robert Didych, Communications and Marketing Director; Freddie Guzman, Synagogue Maintenance; Alexandra Haims, Accounting Clerk; Wally Hewak, Pastry Chef; Oliver Hopkins, Cemetery Maintenance; Nancy James, Banquet Server and Supervisor; Annie Johnston, Junior Sous Chef; Brett Kist, Cemetery Maintenance; Joel Lafond, Executive Chef; Inna Liss Haim, Administrative Assistant; Lina Lokshin, Program and Marketing Assistant, and High Hoy Day Seating Coordinator; Donald Luddick, Cemetery Maintenance; Jen ‘Dolly’ Middleton, Sous Chef; Larry Peebles, Synagogue Maintenance; Estelle Raber, Live Cycle Director; Rafael Reyes, Synagogue Maintenance; Greg Rosaldo, Synagogue Maintenance; and Eduardo Saveliovsky, Chief Financial Officer. Our staff team is available for contact by clicking here.

I want to thank all of you – the congregants and friends of Congregation Shaarey Zedek – for your ongoing support, including through the pandemic and operational transitions. Whether apart or together, we are all a team dedicated to continue strengthening our synagogue community for today and for generations to come.

Shabbat Shalom,

Gary Hyman

Wed, 8 February 2023 17 Shevat 5783