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Message from the Executive Director

12/01/2023 06:00:58 PM


Ran Ukashi, Executive Director

It is from the wisdom of King Solomon in Mishlei Shlomo, the Book of Proverbs, that the Jewish People learn the value of seeking wise counsel from others. In the words of King Solomon “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).” In today’s day and age this timeless lesson is as relevant as it was in the days of King Solomon’s reign, and at Shaarey Zedek we have taken, and continue to take this lesson to heart.

The pandemic taught us a stark lesson. That lesson was that deliberately investing in people—the Congregation—is absolutely critical to the future success of the synagogue. By “deliberately” investing, I mean to say that with the absence of people in the physical building, there needed to be a way to meaningfully engage the congregation remotely and to ensure that the connection with the synagogue was not severed over time and distance. Physical attendance, engagement, and involvement could not be taken for granted. We had entered a new world and a new way of thinking.

All in all, while I genuinely believe that the synagogue’s Board, staff and clergy worked as hard as possible to operate and serve the congregation and community very well in what were certainly unprecedented times, more can always, and must always be done. We learn not only from our successes, but even more from missed opportunities.

In our President’s recent message, he discussed how new committees are being formed to better engage congregants in the work of the synagogue, and to facilitate more volunteer opportunities to benefit from the broad range of talents, expertise, and dedication that you as congregants can bring to the synagogue.

But this isn’t all that we are asking or hoping for. In the spirit of King Solomon’s words, we want to proactively hear what you would like to see at Shaarey Zedek. Your priorities. Your ideas. Your hopes for the future—and most importantly, how to get there. We seek your wise counsel as the centre of the synagogue’s life.

As with anything in life, we cannot always guarantee that everyone will get the outcome they want, but we can guarantee that we will sincerely consider the ideas, desires, and aspirations of the congregation and work to continuously improve Shaarey Zedek, both now and for generations to come.

We recognize that not only can this work not be done without you, but also that this work can never be truly “done.” The conduct of “holy work” is never finished. Rather, it is always in a state of progression and refinement, so that each individual must pick up where others have left off and make their own mark and their own contribution.

As Rabbi Tarfon teaches in Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it (Ethics of the Fathers 2:16).”

We hope you heed the call to reach out to us and to share and explore honestly, and in good faith, various ways to get involved in synagogue life at Shaarey Zedek. Your ideas are always welcome, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Truly,

Ran Ukashi
Executive Director

Sat, 13 April 2024 5 Nisan 5784