May 24, 2019
Dear Members of Our Community,
We are writing to introduce you to Or Shalom’s new Housing Taskforce. The Taskforce began in February with the mission to improve space for Or Shalom’s many activities and growing membership.
Or Shalom was founded on the principles of opening its doors to all, encouraging equal participation in all aspects of its Jewish community, from ritual to governance, and embracing Jewish spiritual practice and education. As Or Shalom enters its sixth decade, these principles remain at the heart of the community.
In fact, this foundation has strengthened and broadened in recent years—so much so that Or Shalom’s spiritual and social needs have outgrown its physical space. Or Shalom needs more space and increased flexibility to house family and adult classes, administrative and program staff, and community-wide events.
In the short term, more flexible seating in the sanctuary will allow Or Shalom to make better use of its current space. Thus we plan to replace some of the pews with individual chairs so that the sanctuary can be configured for different activities.
In the long term, the Housing Taskforce sees two options to meet Or Shalom’s needs for more space. One option is to expand and renovate the current building to provide a larger social hall, study rooms, more office space, a renovated kitchen and better handicap access. The other option is to purchase another property in east Vancouver that could be renovated to meet Or Shalom’s needs.
We are confident that this is the right time to fulfill the community’s needs while at the same time nurturing the unique soul of Or Shalom. Our work is guided by an abiding commitment to honour the community that is Or Shalom, now and into the future.
In the coming months, the Housing Taskforce plans to keep the community informed about changes to seating in the sanctuary. We also plan to consult with the community regarding long-term housing needs and securing funds to improve our space. We look forward to having your input on our goals and activities.
Or Shalom Housing Taskforce:
John Fuerst (chair), Moishe Mansur, Wendy Oberlander, Richard Wassersug, and Russil Wvong