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Rabbi's Blog

I am overwhelmed...

Dear Friends,

I'm overwhelmed.  Not with work, though it was a very busy week between moving the Shul, the building campaign, Camp Gan Israel and others... I'm overwhelmed right now for a different reason.

The volunteering spirit of this community, and the constant care we received this week from so many of you warm our hearts and make us feel so fortunate to be part of this community.

Last week I announced that we are moving the Shul and that we needed some help packing.  On Sunday morning after tefillin club I rushed to a discussion group at the JCC where I was asked to speak.  Meanwhile, I told the volunteers they can start the packing.  Ninety minutes later I got a call: "We are all done."  Apperantly more than ten volunteers came to pack the boxes.  On Wednesday, it was again members of the community schlepping boxes and unpacking them beautifully at the Shul.

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that there is not yet a sponsor for the Kiddush this week.  Hours later we got two sponsorships for the Kiddush.

This morning I was on my way to buy plants to complete the Mechitzah in the Shul.  A woman texted me: "I heard that you need plants for the Mechitzah? Can I donate them?"  Within thirty minutes I met her at the store, where she paid for the most beautiful decorative trees.

We are humbled by the unity, love, and care that you showed again this week.  This is truly overwhelming.

Getting an Aliyah...

Dear Friends,

Last Shabbat, as of every summer Shabbat, there were a significant number of guests from out of town.  Amongst them there was a man who will be playing a very important role in a world event that started from our little 'Shtetl'. 

Dr. Peter Gary, an accomplished composer and conductor and a member of our community, wrote an oratorio in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  This oratorio, the first one ever written by a survivor, will be performed in Jerusalem on April 16th of next year.

Barak Tal, a well known Israeli conductor took it upon himself to conduct this historical concert.  Last week, he came to Victoria to meet Peter and to plan this great world premier.  Peter, who is a regular at our Shul, schlepped Barak along to Shabbat morning services.

At the luncheon Kiddush, Barak asked to share a few words.  

"This is my first time in services outside of Israel and this has been the most amazing service. The atmosphere in this synagogue is outstanding."

"I am very thankful for being called to the Torah. The first time I got an Aliyah was at my Bar Mitzvah, the second was on the Shabbat before my wedding, and this morning was the third time!"  It was clear that Barak was very moved by the experience.

In close radius of Barak's home there are hundreds of Shuls, but it took traveling half way across the world to get an Aliyah.

I have a feeling that next time I meet Barak it will be after he has had many Aliyahs and visits to the local Shul.

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