Printed from

Rabbi's Blog

JCC - Who??

Over the last few weeks, I have been working closely with the Chabad Building Committee on ideas for the design of the future Centre for Jewish Life and Learning. We are looking forward to presenting our concepts to the community on May 25.

It is an extremely exciting process by its nature, but this week there was a moment which went far beyond that.

While working with an Architect on the facade of the building, I struggled with conveying a design idea based on the second story windows of the building. In my effort to find an example for what I wanted to propose, I googled, 'Building JCC', looked through the images, and there I found it - a building that had the windows which I thought might be perfect for the west and north sides of the building. 

I clicked on the image to go to the webpage where it is posted, and there I found the name of the Centre, "The Mayer Kaplan JCC"!

mk jcc.JPG 

In my entire life, I have never before met another Meir Kaplan, let alone come across a building with my name on it. I definitely didn't expect it to be the name of the one building that had the design I liked... 

One can consider it a rare coincident; I added the incident to my lengthening list of Divine Providence for  this awesome project for Jewish life on Vancouver Island.

Powerful Unity

In the last 48 hours, since I have returned from an amazing trip to Israel, with ten other members of our community, I have been reflecting on my experiences of the trip. One event stands out powerfully in my mind this morning.

It took place on our way up to Jerusalem, with many who were going on their first visit to the holy city of the hopes of our ancestors for thousands of years. We stopped at the Judah Desert for a day of activity at Genesis Land, where we participated in the usual activities of camel riding, pita making, tent building etc. Later in the day, we all sat down together for a gourmet dinner in the fresh air and the breath-taking views of the hills of Israel.

photo (12).JPGDuring dinner, two soldiers who were injured in battles in recent years addressed us. One had lost his sight in Gaza, and the other lost his Legs in Lebanon. There was not a dry eye in the crowd. Moments later, we experienced one of the most joyous moments of the entire trip. Hundreds of us gathered in circles and danced to songs with an energy that is difficult to describe.

I was standing near the dancing and thinking about the soldiers who were at that point sitting by our side. I tried to make sense of this emotional shift.

When the soldiers were speaking, I felt that we didn't look at these young men as heroes; we just felt like they were our own children. Each one of us felt like getting up and hugging the young men as though they were our own flesh and blood.

I believe that the intensely powerful feeling of unity was the reason for the great joy that followed. 

I remember telling one of the members of our group, "I don't feel like going anywhere from here". I now realize that what I mean was that I didn’t want to leave that state of mind; I wish I could live with this passion every day of my life.

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.