Summer is almost here, and with it the countdown to the High Holy Days, 5778, starting on September 20. In this, my first as board president of our great shul (but having been around as a member and volunteer for two decades!), I welcome you.
This has been an amazing year at Shir Libeynu, starting off with the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services that saw a multicultural art show, new musical offerings, dancing led by our rabbi and deep, meaningful services with Rabbi Goldberg and Chazzan Gesundheit guiding us. Since then, our many Shabbat services, holidays events, adult education sessions and children’s program, not to mention this year’s Bnei Mitzvah cohort, have attracted record numbers of enthusiastic people, eager to experience the vibrancy and warmth that the community offers.
But, equally important, is what the future holds: next year will see the launch of two new children’s programs, including a weekly supplemental school and a monthly junior congregation for our older children ages eight through 11 years. We will present an enhancement of our younger children’s Shabbos sessions. Our bnei mitvah program will continue with a new group of young people. We are very grateful for and excited about the work that Rabbi Goldberg and the education committee have done to develop and nurture these programs. They have also found us four talented, young educators to teach them.
Of course, there is plenty for adults in addition to the monthly services downtown, including lectures and study groups by Rabbi Goldberg and specialists from the worlds of academe and literature Ahead for the second year is our new film series, serving as both an educational and social opportunity. We are planning to commemorate and participate in Holocaust Education Week with a special movie and discussion, and will be a co-sponsor of the downtown all-night Shavuot Tikkun at the MNJCC again. There will be more, including what YOU may bring as volunteer facilitators of interesting, future events.
For our upcoming High Holy Days’ services, Rabbi Goldberg will lead our congregation in prayer and reflection, while Chazzan Gesundheit conducts the musical array that includes volunteers and professionals alike in song and worship. All these services will take place at the mid-town First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto site.
This year, we are keeping our fees and ticket prices in line with those of last year, respecting a decades-old commitment to financial accessibility for our members and congregants. But, as an unaffiliated congregation, without any current funding from foundations or major donors, we rely on you to keep this little shul that could, and did, running.
Please buy your memberships now, knowing that the funds from them and your donations constitute our only source of revenue. Individual tickets will go on sale later in the summer. They both pay for all that we offer at High Holy Days and all services/events through the year ahead: staffing, rentals, administration, kiddishes and other free meals, adult education, most of the children’s programs and all other costs. We do so much with so little because of a small group of dedicated volunteers who carry the load, along with staff members who go well beyond the call of duty. But love takes us only so far: we cannot do without the funding from our membership fees and ticket sales. Please be generous, within your means, and join us for another great year at Congregation Shir Libeynu.
With Respect and Regards,
President, Congregation Shir Libeynu