In the past few days I have had the good fortune of connecting with our YVR-Israel partnerships.
On Shabbat, I spent Friday night visiting our new sister congregation in Tsur Hadassah. I had coffee with their wonderful rabbi, Stacey Blank, a few weeks ago and she invited me to come visit for Kabbalat Shabbat.
Tsur Hadassah is a lovely town, about a 30 minute drive from Jerusalem. The Reform congregation has been there for many years and has a significant presence in the community. They have a small building that was provided by government funding (which is a major political victory for a Reform congregation) and regular Shabbat services, adult education and an active Noar Telem youth group.
Before the service, Rabbi Stacey invited me to join her on a survey walk with about a dozen others through the nature park right next to the synagogue. A number of Tsur Hadassah residents (including many members of the congregation) have begun to organize themselves to think about its future use for education, conservation, and community benefit.
It was a beautiful walk in nature, to be certain. But also interesting to see how the rabbi and the congregation played a role in these broader communal efforts.
The Kabbalat Shabbat service was very nice, with an incredibly warm and welcoming congregation. I even had the honor of giving the Drash (in Hebrew, no less!)
I am very pleased that our two congregations have created our new partnership. They are a community that really value relationships and I think that our Temple Sholom community will form wonderful connections with them. Next time you are in Israel, be sure to visit. Their families would love to host you for Shabbat dinner!
Earlier this week, I joined Cathy Lowenstein, Jenn Shecter, and Lissa Weinberger for two days of interviews with candidates for the upcoming cohort of ShinShinim in Vancouver. We have been blessed this year with the presence of our Shinshinit, Ophir, in our congregation.
It was inspiring to meet with so many terrific candidates this week. We are still in the process of finding out our match, but I know from our meetings that whomever we match with will bring a dynamic connection to Israel to our community.