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Message from the Membership Committee Chair

19/01/2023 05:46:40 PM


Amy Karlinsky, Membership Committee Chair

The Membership Committee affirms the value of participating in and growing with Jewish communal life in Winnipeg. All of us have had powerful and meaningful experiences at Shul, engaging in individual, familial, communal life cycle events, prayer services — memorial services — enriched by the traditions and innovations that a modern shul can bring, with programs and opportunities for connection. Simchas and sad farewells — the shul holds it all. There are so many opportunities here for growth, on an individual and communal level — now and for the future. I am challenging the congregation to take a first step or more steps. Come to morning Minyan, attend Shabbos service. Yes, you can come late and stay for lunch and bring a friend. Book the Rabbi for some spiritual counselling. Read the weekly Parsha and explore the topic during a lunch and learn. Sign up for Torah Reading and learn with Cantor Leslie. Brush up on your Hebrew or find new connections with Dr. Rena. Engage with Sisterhood programming. Check our website for prayer dates and times, and to see our ever changing roster of community programming like music, book clubs, lectures and collaborations.

We hold in our hearts and minds the Congregation Shaarey Zedek of the past with its inspiring spiritual leaders; and hopefully we hold on to the positive and uplifting aspects of these experiences, letting hurts and slights drift away. But what about the Congregation Shaarey Zedek of the future? What of our future Jewish selves and our family and community legacies? What is the path that we are building and supporting for them? Now is the time for some commitment and some resilience.

Can membership be challenging in our times? Absolutely. We are beginning to come back together, cautiously, and in-person after what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic. Loved ones have died from COVID-19 and the pandemic has taken its toll on us - our family and community connections and on our mental, physical and emotional health. We’ve been isolated and at home, tuning the URLs to the wealth of Jewish experience on our screens. Or not. People have come and gone. We are out of our beloved building, temporarily, and have had to consider new schedules, new routines, and new locales to participate. There has been a lot of change. Let’s find the hidden light!  We are in the midst of a building and fundraising campaign. There is a lot to look forward to and time to seek out communal experiences together. L'Dor va Dor building campaign is a tremendous opportunity to remediate the building and renew it for our future sustainability. Part of that process involves a fundamental search at core values. Are we committed and dedicated? And if so, to what?

I am chairing the membership committee, and if you are interested, please send me an email with your skill set. We need constructive, positive thinkers who love the synagogue and who are willing to read, research and discuss. I’ve been reading about the synagogue membership in North America. Some commentators emphasize the give-and-take nature of membership, insist on the covenantal and not the transactional aspect. Other writers prefer the term friend to member. Generational demographics, declining memberships, reliance on the model of annual dues, new membership models, fascinating programs of in-reach and outreach, the shape of the Interfaith marriage and DIY solutions are all topics of significance. Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Winnipeg faces many of the same issues.  Winnipeg is unique in its strong foundation of synagogue building, its legendary generations of close community cohorts, revitalized by Argentinian, Russian, Israeli Jews, and Jews by choice. Our creative and innovative thinkers and assembly of truly brilliant individuals who love Jewish life are willing to put in the time, solutions, the money and commitment to see CSZ flourish now and in the future. We need to identify and address the challenges.

Let’s be better together. Let’s have the faith in the leadership and management of the staff, Clergy and Board. Yes, being a friend of the synagogue means getting active in renewing your commitment to Jewish life and values and community.

Have thoughts about membership? Email me at

Amy Karlinsky
Membership Committee Chair

Congregation Shaarey Zedek
1077 Grant Avenue, c/o Temple Shalom
Winnipeg MB R3M 1Y6

Sat, 13 April 2024 5 Nisan 5784