In president

By Dr. Harvey Schipper, President

Welcome to this very special Selichot. The installation of a Senior Rabbi is an uncommon event, made particularly special by you who have joined us, and by the distinguished Jewish leaders who grace the bimah this evening: Rabbis Ellenson, Donald Splansky, Dow Marmur and John Moscowitz. I am very privileged to be here, as President, to speak for the congregation.

This is a momentous time in our calendar when we enter the period of contemplation that is our New Year. We reflect on ourselves, our families, our, lives and our world. We acknowledge our frailties and relish our good fortune. It is a time of coming together in celebration. It is a time of beginnings.

The symbolism of the New Year also informs our other purpose. It is about refreshing our Judaism, standing tall as a people, and being humble in our gratitude. This is the occasion we have chosen, as a congregation, to welcome, to install, Rabbi Yael Splansky as our thirteenth Senior Rabbi. It is for us, as a congregation, to bestow this, our highest trust, and we do so with anticipation, hope and pride.

For almost 160 years Temple has been our place of prayer, a venue of learning and the focal point of the expression of our presence in the community, from the perspective of our values. Those values are the bedrock from which we anticipate, evolve and challenge the future. While we may be the largest Reform congregation in Canada, it is something else that we hold to be distinctive: our audacity of purpose.

We entrust that legacy and purpose to our Senior Rabbis. We always have. However, this is not some artifact or role that we hand off in order to observe. It is, rather, a commitment that we are an engaged community. It is an entrusting of the spiritual leadership of a congregation for whom Torah, and learning, and Israel, and Tikun Olam, making the world a better place, is our being. Our audacity of purpose invokes all of us; our rabbis, cantors, teachers, lay leaders like me, and each and every member.

With this ceremony, you, Rabbi Splansky become our Senior Rabbi. You will always be Rabbi Yael Splansky, a Jewish woman of great spiritual depth, and a defining ability to touch each of us as individuals. You, our Senior Rabbi, is the same Rabbi Splansky whose family has grown with us. You are one of us, and that does not change.

As we charge you with the challenge of leadership in these transformative times, we look forward, ever forward, to building our future with you. It is for us, together, to imagine our great place in the future, and to make the vision a reality.

Mazal tov

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