Shavua tov. This has truly been a week of joyful celebration as simcha has followed simcha. We were blessed on Kabbalat Shabbat to hear from inspiring guest speakers including Dr. Joel Fagan, Rabbi Allan Finkel and Dr. Pekka Sinervo, all introduced by Kolot Mayim members. I was very honoured to be introduced by our hard-working president Sharon Shalinsky, who presented me – and us – with a gift from the congregation. We now have a beautiful silver yad to use when reading Torah. This is a wonderful example of hiddur mitzvah – trying to make each mitzvah shine with beauty! And then again, Sunday afternoon, a joyful crowd gathered. Sari Alesh played his beautiful music and then Lindy Shortt, Nava Friedmann, Pekka Sinervo, Aaron Devor and I all spoke, and then we had a resounding l’chaim and some excellent nosh prepared by Samuel and Deborah.
How do I begin to thank everyone for coming to celebrate with us, for making meaningful donations to Kolot Mayim, for helping with set-up and clean-up, for helping with photography and Power Point slideshows, for helping organize both the Friday night service and the Sunday afternoon tea? For all the ways we have come together as a community, I thank you all. This truly is a taste of what we can do together when we bring honour to our beloved Kolot Mayim community within the larger community of Victoria. I will be going to Winnipeg for Rabbi Allan’s installation in late October (I have been assured that there will not yet be snow on the ground), and I know I will be bringing him a yasher koach from all who met him.
I know many of you were moved by his words to us, and by Rabbi Allan’s challenge to us from Shoftim, last week’s Torah reading. Tzedek, tzedek tirdof; Justice, justice you shall pursue. Many years ago, in my reading about the Shoah, I was brought into my deep knowledge that it was a necessity for me to be part of rebuilding justice in a world that had turned its back on this holy command. But I chose to become a Jew – and stay a Jew – not because of the darkness of the Shoah, but because of the beauty and dignity of the treasure we all have inherited – a Jewish tradition that always honours life, a culture that demands we work together to achieve justice for all, and a deep history of valuing the light of learning. I am honoured to now hold the baton – and now the yad – in this continuing cycle of learning and pursuit of justice. Much love and gratitude to you all, Rabbi Lynn