Each week when we have services over Zoom, I like to find part of our musical heritage to end the service – sometimes contemporary and sometimes an historical treasure. These past two weeks I was with families as we buried their beloved husbands, fathers, and grandfathers – both men born in Istanbul. In their memory, here is the link to the Sephardic Turkish music we played on Shabbat this past week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyuSTIwL1RI More
Rabbi Lynn Greenhough
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We had a wonderful Shabbat morning service this week. Two people were called to Torah – one for the first time, and one for the first time since her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in 1997! Kol haKavod to George Haniotis, moved here (we hope to stay) from Quebec, and to Cathy Basskin, visiting from Calgary.More
This week in Parashat Kedoshim, we face into some of the fundamental demands of Judaism. We are commanded to be kadosh, holy – to do what is holy – in all that we do. God tells us, “I am holy, so too, you are a holy people unto Me.” But holiness for Jews isn’t a feeling, or sacred relationship – although that is certainly an ingredient in this ancient recipe.More
We are a community of learners and a community of givers. I am so grateful to be in your midst. One of our members has suggested that we use our Seders moving forward (as we did this year – instead of a full – and costly – meal), we offer the Seder as an opportunity for tzedakah, serving charoset and matzah as our meal. What a beautiful recognition of how to share in a meaningful manner. So all charoset makers – be prepared for Seder next year!More
We are now in the week of Pesach. We had a truly wonderful Seder this year, highlights included eating a delicious variety of charoset, singing with Susan Cogan, Neil and Charlotte Marcovitz, hail (marshmallows) flying around the room during the recitation of plagues, and (gently) whacking each other with scallions during Dayenu. Across the board, the consensus seems to be that we should have a similar Seder next year. Never mind the stress of preparing/hiring a meal; the charoset with matzah and chrain more than sufficed. Thanks to all who helped out: Pat Dunphy and Doug Marshall, Sam Savard, Francie Lake, Lizzie Dailey and Laura Weeks.More
Chag sameach everyone, may you all have a joyous Seder.
At our Seder this year we are incorporating a Sephardic custom of holding the Seder plate over the heads of each person, welcoming them with this song: “Bibhilu yasanu mi-mitzrayim, ha lahma ‘anya, bené horin,” “With haste we left Egypt, this is poor bread, [now] we are free.” If you would like to learn the tune, and more about the custom here is a link:
Wishing everyone the blessing of Pesach, even as it snows!
Shabbat HaGadol is traditionally a morning when the rabbi addresses the congregation with an often lengthy discourse about the mitzvoth applying to preparation for Pesach – how to rid one’s home of Chametz, preparation and koshering of kitchen, stove, fridge, counters, burning of Chametz and planning of Seder.More
It is time for my annual sending of photos of our beautiful Victoria to my brother who lives in Calgary: sprays of pink cherry blossoms, blooming magnolias and clematis, all sent as counterbalance to the near dead looking grey soil of Ted’s backyard.
And yet. I know that spring will come to Calgary. I know that his backyard will be luxuriously thick with grass sooner than I could imagine. I am not quite sure how it happens but I have witnessed the revival of the earth in Calgary – it is a different miracle of welcome than what we are accustomed to here, with our quarter year of springtime.More
The weeks before Purim and Pesach are weeks of planning and dedicated eating – eating as much of the chametz in our homes as we can, prior to Pesach. The pasta, the bulghur, the cookies, (so much baking as we use up the flour), checking our pantries for what must be eaten or sold before that first night.More
So much going on at this time of year – Purim/Pesach/Shavuot – we do love celebrating springtime, don’t we?
And now we are also celebrating our return twice a month to being in a room with each other for services. We hope to see you soon – April 1st is our first Kabbalat Shabbat service and then April 9th our first Shabbat morning service.
And our Seder will also be in person – but with a twist. We are honouring our own heritage of our families having to flee our homes – not just from Mitzrayim, but often much more recently with pogroms decimating Jewish villages throughout the Pale of Settlement, in the Ukraine and Russia. And we can never forget the massive uprooting and decimation of our families homes during the Shoah.
Mah nishtana ha Laila hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights?
This year we are not serving a festive meal. We are asking you to join us, to be together, in person. But instead of a four-course dinner, we will eat matzah, dry as fear in our throats. We will eat chrain, the bitterness of horseradish bringing tears to our eyes. And we will eat charoset, a reminder of that mortar that binds us to our past, but that also brings the sweetness of memories forward on our tongues.
We will have our four cups of wine, and we will dip a little parsley in salted water. This will be our Seder: a Seder where we reflect on what it might mean to flee in the night, to not be able to feed our children, to not know where we might sleep. Come and join us on First Night, April 15th, at the JCC.
With love, with hope,