There’s a chill in the air.
If you are a long-time Holy Blossom Temple person you know what that means, soon our kitchen would be humming with volunteers and Thursday nights would bring guests from all over the city to “Out of the Cold.” Out of the Cold has historically been one of our key Tikkun Olam programs, hosting and feeding people who are experiencing homelessness during the harsh Toronto winter. In the time that I’ve been here, Out of the Cold is the program that people have asked me about the most. When is it coming back? How can I volunteer? Are we still running it?
And the answer to all those things is complicated. During the pandemic, city and provincial ordinances made it impossible for us to welcome people into the building for a hot meal, let alone host guests overnight. Currently, with the aid of MPPs and members who specialize in assisting those in need, we are navigating the uncertain present- trying to determine what we can do, how we can do it, and who is in greatest need of our assistance. Food insecurity has become a greater and greater threat to our neighbours, and we are planning to offer hot meals to those in need this winter.
On Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30 pm in the Mishkan, the Tikkun Olam department will host a panel, informational session, and meet and greet. We will hear from professionals who are on the front lines, members who have dedicated themselves to this work, and the long-time volunteers who want to see our volunteer work feeding the hungry rekindled. Together we will do what the good people of Holy Blossom Temple have always done; learn about the problem facing our community and mobilize to help those we can reach.
I also wanted to take this moment to warmly invite you all to join me, my family, and my teacher Rabbi Peter S. Berg for my installation next Shabbat on October 29. Rabbi Berg is one of the leading rabbis in the Reform Movement and is a visionary leader in the realm of Tikkun Olam and Social Justice. During my time as his Assistant Rabbi, he helped shape my understanding of what a truly Jewish response to justice work needs to be. He is also a world-class mensch, an excellent darshan, and a gifted teacher. I have no doubt that those of you who have the chance to interact with him will be inspired by his passion and touched by his gentle wisdom.
There will be a wonderful congregational Shabbat dinner on October 28th, and a full range of opportunities to learn from Rabbi Berg and to celebrate together as a community with numerous musical tefillot. We will also have the chance to honour Charlotte Myers as she is called to the Torah and becomes Bat Mitzvah. Mazel Tov to her and her parents Dr. Jeffrey and Gillian Myers!
I hope that I will have the opportunity to see many of you, match names to faces from emails and zooms, and meet some of you for whom I haven’t had the chance yet. I look forward to celebrating with you and your families multiple times throughout the weekend.
Thank you for this incredible welcome you are giving me, it is such an honour to serve as one of your rabbis.