Aleph Canada Newsletter - August 2010


Dear Friends of Jewish Renewal,

In my previous note, I neglected to list our Newfoundland board member, Shifrah-Leah Gilbert, as the Rabbinic Pastor that she is. Shifrah-Leah holds the distinction of being the first Jewish clergy person to be licensed to officiate at weddings in our easternmost province.

Second, I again want to encourage you to read Rabbi Marcia Prager’s letter about becoming a chai/month donor to ALEPH. Reb Marcia is the dean of our ordination programs and her thoughts about investing in ALEPH’s infrastructure are especially relevant for us, given our focus in Canada on ALEPH’s educational programs. Response has been gratifying to date and it would be wonderful if a few more of you would commit to this easy and painless way of giving to ALEPH and helping further the work of Jewish Renewal, both in Canada and world-wide.

Third, the first ever Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur experience on Hornby Island is beginning to take shape. A machzor is coming together, reflecting the idea of infusing the entire morning service with the primary themes of the day instead of leaving them for the end. Noam has sketched out a second day in nature, with shacharit happening as we walk through the Helliewell Woods, Torah reading and Shofar blowing on the bluffs overlooking the water, a picnic lunch, and tashlich on the beach. And, given this year’s amazing improvement, I’ve purchased a freshly caught sockeye salmon for us to share.
Given the intimacy of the group, there will also be ample opportunity to prepare for the services through learning and discussion.
We have let go of needing a minimum enrolment and have committed to experiencing the holidays on Hornby as long as we have a minyan of participants. So now is the time to check out the ALEPH Canada website for more details and to let us know if you would like to come. For now, please don’t be concerned about the cost or about paying; we will do what we can to help out if the cost is too much and we will also let you know when the registrations have hit the magic number of a minyan (actually, it already has for Rosh HaShanah and the next two registrants for Yom Kippur will take us there).
After reading what is on the website, please contact Daniel directly with more questions or to let him know of your intention to come (

Finally, last month I mentioned that some changes were in the works and they have now received formal approval. The board of ALEPH Canada has approved a simple budget for next year, which includes a predictable salary for me, split between administration (20%) and program (80%). We have agreed to adopt the Jewish year for budgeting purposes. And, our sponsorship of the Bet Midrash is now moving into a new partnership with the ALEPH Ordination Programs, in which I serve as the Associate Dean. From now on, I will be focused more on the development of new classes and resources for the ALEPH Bet Midrash as well as working and teaching in the ordination programs.

I pray that the summer has been going well and may we learn to be happy with what we have.

Rabbi Daniel Siegel