As June is upon us, we are moving towards the lull that some of us experience in the summer months; the Jewish year coming to the end of its cycle, but the High Holy Days still feeling far away. The DJC is coming to the end of our Year of Wrestling Together. We held our last substantive learning and discussion session just before Pesach, and on June 5th we will hold our closing conversation — discussing and reflecting on the year the community has spent together. We have grappled with some complex and compelling issues, and many of us in the community have spent long hours learning, arguing, thinking, compromising, and crafting a way to move forward through some challenging moments.
We recently posted the document Jews & Non-Jews in Ritual Leadership Roles that explains the issues, process, and decision we came to regarding this particular topic. We came to this decision after months of hearing from and consulting with the community. As we said in the closing paragraph of that document, this process has exemplified our intent to be a progressive Jewish community that strives to revitalize our traditions and culture with moral courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit.
The Board would like to express its gratitude for the wealth of kind messages that have been sent to voice satisfaction and pride in the path we have chosen to follow in terms of Ritual Leadership Roles. We are honoured to be on the Board of this community, and we have been deeply moved by the response to the recent decision. Here are some of the words we have received from community members:
I love the path the Board has decided to take between being inclusive and holding the importance of knowledgeable participation in ritual. Seems both smart and thoughtful to me. I appreciate the investment of time and energy the Board, Rabbi Miriam, and the community has made in this process.
I want to thank the Board and Rabbi Miriam for their incredible commitment to finding a solution regarding the roles of Jews and non-Jews in ritual practices. I am so very impressed and want to let you know how proud I am to be a member of this congregation.
Terrific compromise! I congratulate the Board for steering us through such complicated waters. And good on Rabbi Miriam for being so flexible. It’s a great day!
What a long, incredible process you have shepherded. I, for one, am very proud of the community as a whole, and especially grateful to the DJC Board Members and Rabbi Miriam for bringing us all to this conclusion. The value of good dialogue once again rises to the surface. I humbly thank you for you ear, your heart, and your intelligence. I am encouraged and look forward to new opportunities to learn and develop deeper understanding of Jewish means and meanings.
I just finished reading the letter from our Board and Rabbi summarizing the outcome of our year of struggling, and am so delighted and moved! That we started down this road is admirable, that we stayed the course is amazing, and that we achieved such wonderful results and learnings is quite beyond words. Heartfelt congratulations and thanks to all of our leaders for caring and stewarding so well. I feel very fortunate to be a participant and beneficiary of what the DJC continues to strive for and accomplish. Communities like ours need to challenge and respond if they are stay vital and relevant. In difficult times, this is Jewish living at its richest. We are very lucky!
And indeed we are lucky to be involved in such a vital, passionate, thoughtful, progressive Jewish community. The Board and the Rabbi lead a process this past year, but the strength of that process was the community; the many, many people who grappled hard, who voiced concerns, who pushed the community to think through how we want to move forward and who we want to be. The Board stands on the shoulders of those in our community who engage thoughtfully with these complex issues and, importantly, we stand on the shoulders of the many community leaders who have come before us. We would like to thank all those who have been part of creating this community and bringing us to this place.
Please plan on attending our AGM on Sunday, June 5th, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm for a snapshot overview of the many things that have happened in our community over the past year, as well as for the election of new Board Members.
And then, please plan to stay from 2:00 – 4:00 for the culminating session in our Year of Wrestling Together. We will have an open conversation about what we’ve learned this year, how we’ve changed, and will have an opportunity for the community to question, reflect, and comment on the decisions that have resulted from our year-long series of community conversations. Join us to discuss the innovative decision concerning Ritual Leadership Roles for Jews and non-Jews in our community, to reflect on what we’ve learned together about the DJC’s relationship to our Rabbi, to each other, and to Jewish learning and life, and to look back on the process.
We hope to see you there.
The DJC Board of Directors
Hilla, Josh, Ken, Lis, Margaret, Marlee, Michael, Nadya, Shari