שבועיים
Every two Weeks
In this Newsletter:

. Celebrating Pride and taking action against racism
. High Holidays 2020/5781: Buy your membership today!
. A video introduction from Rabbi Dara Lithwick
. New virtual offerings from members: Accessibility and Cultivating Resonance
From the Board
Dear Members:

The Board is very grateful to Rabbi Goldberg and Paula Wolfson for an uplifting and inspiring Pride Havdalah service (see the next item). This was Shir Libeynu’s 14 th Pride Havdalah service and Rabbi Goldberg’s last official service as our Rabbi. The Board will be reaching out to members, as we make plans to honour Rabbi Goldberg properly for her enormous contribution to Shir Libeynu over more than 20 years.
 
While this year’s Pride celebrations will be very different, there is still so much to be proud of and to celebrate. Shir Libeynu has been in the forefront of congregations in Toronto supporting LGBTQ+ rights and working to reduce all forms of prejudice and discrimination. It is important for us to continue these efforts to help end anti-Black racism and the racism directed against Indigenous peoples.
 
We say their names: George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Chantel Moore and so many others who have been killed by systemic racism. And we remember Sarah Hegazi.

T’ruah, the organization of Rabbis for Human Rights recommends 10 rules for engagement ( https://www.truah.org/resources/10-rules-for-engagement-for-white-jews-joining-the-blacklivesmatter-movement/ ). The Canadian Council for Reform Judaism provides four initial steps to demonstrate our solidarity with Black and racialized Canadians ( https://ccrj.ca/sites/default/files/canadianreformmovementresponsetoracism3jun20.pdf .) The Board supports these steps and sees recent events in the US and Canada as a call to action. We have been discussing what concrete steps we can take as a congregation to contribute to the struggle. If you want to join with us, or have ideas for action, please get in touch with us: slboard@shirlibeynu.ca .

In her introductory video (see video link under Membership and High Holidays 2020/5781 below), Rabbi Dara Lithwick reminds us of Rabbi Heschel’s words: “The opposite of good is not evil; the opposite of good is indifference.” As Jews we have a responsibility to reject indifference.
 
In her Pride sermon, Rabbi Goldberg told us she believes that we are on the cusp of change—ending both the literal virus in the next year or so and the metaphoric virus of systemic racism. We feel that, too. Despite everything, or maybe because of everything, we feel hopeful.

Happy Pride!
Stay well,
Board of Directors
Rabbi Goldberg’s Pride Healing Havdalah Sermon: An Excerpt  
At this moment in history it would seem that the image of the broken tablets of Shavuot offers us an accurate representation of our lives and the life of the world around us. Not only are we in the midst of a pandemic with the fears and anxiety that it has brought to the world, but as well, we are seeing the outcry of brokenness from the Black community around us. As Jews, as queer Jews, we recognize, we empathize, we rise up with communities of colour to remove the systemic yoke of oppression that they experience daily.

The Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Menachem of Kotzk, said, “there is nothing more whole than a broken heart.” Like the symbolism of the whole tablets and the broken tablets placed side by side, many who have brokenness in them still find wholeness, resilience and strength to not only lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives but to help to make changes within this broken world. As James Baldwin stated, “not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can change until it is faced.” 

Click here to read the full sermon.
 
Click here to listen to the song Rabbi Goldberg played before her sermon, Ana BeKoach:
 
Click here to view the service.
Membership and High Holidays 2020/5781
Join us for inclusive, innovative and truly egalitarian High Holiday services. Be part of our community. Buy your membership today.
 
It is more important than ever to reaffirm our place in our community, and renew our Shir Libeynu memberships or become a new member. Membership supports our monthly Shabbat services and other special services and events throughout the year. As a community, we are facing many challenges. We are living through a global pandemic. Our beloved founder and leader, Rabbi Goldberg, is retiring. If there was ever a year to buy a membership, it is this year! Memberships will help keep our community together and strong.
 
This year’s High Holiday services will be led by Rabbi Dara Lithwick and our Chazzan and Musical Director, Daniela Gesundheit. Click here to see an interview we did with Rabbi Lithwick so you could get to know her better. We will be finding ways over the summer and early fall for her to get to know our members.
 
Our plans for the High Holidays are continuing to focus on virtual offerings . We cannot gather safely in large numbers so it is best for us to focus on creating amazing virtual services. Our decision to hold virtual services (barring a miracle that allows us to congregate) is in line with most other Toronto and North American synagogues and is based on public health guidance. Our first priority is to keep all our congregants safe.
 
Click here to purchase your membership or tickets. The schedule of services will be available closer to the High Holidays.  
Upcoming Events
To participate in any of our virtual offerings, you will need to have a Zoom account and register for the program. 
 
Finding Home: Accessibility in the Jewish View of the World
Guided by Rabbi Bill S. Tepper
Wednesday, June 24, 7:30 pm
 
“Am I welcome here?”
“Is there a place for me?”
“Is this community my spiritual home?”
 
Such are questions asked by those possessing physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual challenges. And such are questions encountered by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons. For millennia, our Jewish tradition has endeavoured to respond to the needs of those in search of spiritual embrace; persons seeking accessibility; persons on a quest for the religious community they will call home.
 
In our program, we will explore both sacred texts – Torah, rabbinic commentary, codes of law – and contemporary perspectives. We will examine where the different movements in Judaism position themselves on the subject of accessibility. We will ask questions, while striving – if not always successfully – to acquire answers. The thought, opinion, feeling and experience of all participants is warmly invited.

Rabbi Bill S. Tepper was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 2008. For eight years he served Mizpah Congregation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by three years, on a commute-basis, with Temple Shalom in Winnipeg. Currently, Rabbi Tepper is a Jewish educator and guest rabbi with communities throughout the Greater Toronto Area. A former high school Drama and English teacher, Rabbi Tepper resides in Toronto – his native city – with his wife Deborah and son Max. 
 
Strengthening the fabric of community through cultivating Resonance
Harvey Weisfeld
Monday, June 29, 7:30-9:00 pm
 
This session is being led by Harvey Weisfeld, a long time Shir Libeynu member and choir participant. Harvey has been a student and practitioner of Zen meditation in its various forms for the past 13 years. Professionally Harvey’s work aims to bring a deeper consciousness to the role of business in supporting social change.

Through the practices of Resonant Breath and Storytelling we weave the fabric of community. Each thread holding its own vibrant energy coming together to bring forth the light that we want to live in through the resonance of our voices. 

Through the use of breath, resonant sounds and gentle movement, this virtual session aims to offer an experience of spaciousness and calmness, cultivating a sense of oneness in community. This simple practice of resonant breath supports us to interrupt thoughts and habits that create harm and separation. Breathing from a place of an open stance/open heart, recognizing habits of the body, and syncing into the rhythm of the universe. Together building resonance as we sync our energy through the rhythm of breath.

“As we breathe deeply from the earth’s core
 And breathe out to the distant stars 
 that we may all breathe into our collective freedom.”

We will then build connection by sharing personal reflections, stories or poems exploring themes of gratitude related to the difficult times that we are currently in. You are invited to bring a poem that speaks to you around what you are grateful for during these challenging times. Some guidance and a prompt will be offered to help shape the themes of our contributions. 

We will end raising our voices together by singing a Hebrew song celebrating community.  
 
Queer Arts & Crafts: All Ages Zine Workshop
Presented by Miles Nadal JCC
Sunday, June 21, 1:30-3:00 pm
 
Join Saul Freedman-Lawson for an all-ages zine-making workshop! Read some zines and comics, and talk about how to share your own stories and interests. Each person needs at least one sheet of paper, a pair of scissors (you can share) and whatever supplies you use to make art. Kids, families and people of all ages are welcome. Pay-what-you-can. No one turned away for lack of funds. In partnership with Machane Lev.
 
Congregation Shir Libeynu