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ASIYAH - The Physical and Practical

This is the world of the physical and practical. We humans experience everything through the filter of the physical world and the bodies we live in, and our communities do the same.

 

 

What is Or Shalom? Or Shalom is a synagogue affiliated with Aleph, the umbrella organization of Jewish Renewal communities. While every Jewish Renewal Community is unique, we have the common values of a willingness to explore and experiment with our traditions in an effort to draw closer to God and the Jewish soul. Or Shalom is egalitarian: Both men and women have equal access to the leadership of services and community positions. We believe in searching for the unwritten stories of the women in Jewish history and bringing them forward as a means of bringing balance to our world. We seek to bring repair to the world through our commitment to Tzedaka and social justice. We deepen our own Jewish lives, and the community around us, through study of the traditional sources and the creation of new rituals and liturgy.  In September 2008, after consultation with the membership, the Board released a Vision Statement for Or Shalom's growth and development.

 

History. Or Shalom began as a havurah (small group of friends) in 1982 which, led by Rabbi Daniel Siegel and Hanna-Tiferet Siegel, met in members living rooms to daven on Shabbat mornings. Daniel was the first person to receive smicha (rabbinic ordination) by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Daniel now works with Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the co-ordinating body for this movement.

Or Shalom has grown from a Shabbat morning minyan (prayer group) into a community of well over 200 single people and families. In the late 1980s Rabbi Itzhak Marmorstein became Or Shalom's spiritual leader and was part of our community for five years. In 1993, after squeezing into rented houses for years, we bought our present building at 10th and Fraser. From 1995 - 2003, Rabbi David Mivasair served as Or Shalom's spiritual leader. He can be reached at mivasair@aol.com.  

Today our spiritual leader is Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan. Reb Laura and her family moved to Vancouver in January, 2005 and we look forward to many years of growing together.

 

Much of the history of our community is told by the objects which surround us. Ritual items, artwork, practical things - each has a story to tell. Please read the stories of these precious witnesses and come to know us better.

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Philosophy. Or Shalom is committed to a living Jewish heritage which values tradition while encouraging creative expression.

Or Shalom is committed to egalitarianism. Women and men participate with equal access in all aspects of community life and worship: being called to the Torah, counted in the minyan, leading services and reading from the Torah. Or Shalom is also committed to searching out the unwritten stories and contributions of Jewish women throughout our history.

We are committed to both the roots and fruits of the Tree of Life - our Torah.
Without study of our received tradition we cannot know where we are going.
Without a commitment to create new forms of practice, we're only going in circles.

Or Shalom is committed to participation. Our paid staff are the rabbi, a part-time administrator, the religious school teachers and a little custodial help. Everything else is done by us! We lead davenen, read Torah, plan and carry out holiday events, shlepp, cook and clean. Everything from the glamorous to the mundane is done by us! Any skill you might want to volunteer, Or Shalom could probably use. Contact Or Shalom's administrator to volunteer at (604) 872-1614. 

Or Shalom is always open to debate an issue or new way of being in the world as a result of fresh insight. A major on-going exploration in our community is the topic of patrilineal descent. Community discussion also led to Or Shalom's very visible presence in the Vancouver Gay Pride parades. We have struggled with and endorsed a practice concerning same-sex marriages. These discussions represent our community's way of engaging with current issues from a Jewish position.


Rabbi
.  Over the years we have gained from the rabbinic leadership of R' Daniel Siegel, R' Yitchak Marmorstein and R' David Mivasair.  

We are pleased to be growing today with rabbi R' Laura Duhan Kaplan.  Reb Laura has a website of her writings and lectures from the past several years, as well as her personal blog.   Reb Laura is available for appointments at Or Shalom  on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Please phone her at 604-872-1614 or email her at reblaura@orshalom.ca

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Where is Or Shalom?   710 East 10th Avenue (at Fraser) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Here is a map.  Our bayit (home) is a former Scots Presbyterian Church which we acquired in 1993. The original building has been thoroughly remodeled and is partially wheelchair accessible. The main floor which is the davenning area and the basement which is where we eat are both accessible by ramp. All washrooms are accessible and equipped with bars. Events held away from Or Shalom are often in private homes and may not be accessible. Please get in touch with the event's contact person if you would like to attend an inaccessible event and arrangements can be made to move back to the Shul. The Broadway bus #9 and Fraser/Granville bus #8 both serve us. There are hotels and bed-and-breakfast accommodations within easy walking distance.

Renting the building.  The Bayit is available to members.  A pdf with policies and application is available here.

Who are the members?  Or Shalom members come from a very wide variety of backgrounds, Jewish and non-Jewish as well. We are learners and teachers, the curious and the dedicated, the unsure and the more sure. Or Shalom is a community of seekers who have discovered the depth and value in Judaism, whether through a lifetime of Jewish involvement or after years of exploring and learning from other religious traditions. Besides our rabbi, Or Shalom has members of the congregation who are available to teach, give workshops, and conduct life cycle events. We welcome all those who wish to contribute from their background in traditional Judaism, other philosophies, creative arts, community building, social action, etc -we sincerely look forward to your enriching us through your energies.

Patrilineal Descent? Or Shalom follows the traditional understandings of Who Is A Jew - anyone born of a Jewish mother or who goes through a conversion process. We have also struggled with the issue of people born to Jewish fathers but non-Jewish mothers. The discussion involves fundamental questions of identity, community and values. You can follow some of the documents of that community introspection by reading here

New to Judaism? Are you approaching (or returning to) Judaism for the first time? The Exploring Judaism course might help in your quest.

 

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Boards and Committees As with any open organization, Or Shalom is administered by a volunteer Board and a variety of committees. Elections to the Board are held each fall, with Board members usually serving for two years (one half of the Board is elected each year). The following are the Board of Directors for 2012:

Pam Atnikov

Jordana Corenblum

Ron Einblau

Robert  Ezzy

Marissa Fischer (Miriam Doba)

Pat Gill                      co-chairperson

Martin Gotfrit          secretary

David Kauffman      co-chairperson

Ros Kunin

Motti Lis

Shira Macklin

Phil Moses

Linda Peritz             treasurer

Leora Zalik

 

If you have feedback, suggestions or have an idea you would like to make happen, please contact the appropriate committee chair, or contact the board.

 

Or Shalom has a number of standing committees which are vital to the life of community. In addition to board members who serve on the committees, volunteers are welcome and needed to help these groups accomplish their objectives. Standing committees (and their contact persons) as of winter 2012 include:

 

Committee

Chair(s)

Board Liaison

Bayit

Martin Gotfrit

Frank Segal

Martin Gotfrit

Children, Youth & Family

-

-

Communications

-

Dave Kauffman

Finance

Linda Peritz

Linda Peritz

Gemilut Chesed

Bat Ami Segal

Pam Atnikov

Governance

-

-

Kiddush

Karen Rabinovitch

 

Membership

Robert Ezzy

Robert Ezzy

Personnel

Ron Einblau

Ron Einblau

LGBTQ

-

-

Ritual

-

-

Strategic Financial Planning

Maurice Bloch, Mary Adlersberg

-

Tikkun Olam

Helen Waldenstein

Pam Atnikov

YAC

Jordana Corenblum

Jordana Corenblum

 

 

There are also many ad hoc groups including organizing committees for the annual retreat (here are some photos and info/schedules from some past ones), holidays and special events, and planning for Shabbat davenning. To contact any of these committee heads with questions (or offers of help) please contact the office (604 - 872-1614) or mailto:board@orshalom.ca and your message will be quickly passed on.

Constitution and stuff  Or Shalom is a registered society under the Societies Act.  Our legal name is Or Shalom Jewish Spiritual Society, and of course we have a legal constitution and bylaws. The 2010 consolidation of our Constitution and Bylaws. Frankly, reading Torah is more interesting.

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How do I join? Should I join Or Shalom? Or Shalom recognizes that joining a congregation is rarely a spur of the moment decision. We welcome visitors to participate freely in as many events as desired while deciding whether this is the right fit. If you are a newcomer to our community, we invite you to talk with the Welcome Committee. If you are certain, simply write to us at Or Shalom, 710 East 10th Ave, Vancouver V5T 2A7. Enclose your name, address & phone info, and your membership contribution (see the section on money).

You can download a copy of the membership form here.

Money    Or Shalom's policy is not to exclude anyone if  a program is unaffordable for you. However, Or Shalom needs the financial support of its members and donors. We have a building with a mortgage, a rabbi, a part-time administrator and a youth & programming coordinator to support. We also raise money for tzedakah projects.
Regular membership dues are:

 

Two-Adult Family (with or without children)

     1700

One-Adult Family (with or without children)

850

 

High Holiday participation only:

Adult

                                           380

Child

18


Additionally, members are asked make a one-time commitment of $2,500 to our Building Fund as we have a large mortgage and maintenance costs. If a lump-sum payment is difficult, this may be paid according to a flexible schedule in monthly or annual installments, etc. The school charges a separate fee.  

DonationsDonations large and small are necessary and most welcome. Membership dues alone do not balance the budget, we rely on donations from members, support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver,  and community who believe in Or Shalom’s work. We have created a Wish List of some of the things we could use. A donation to our General Operating Fund or our Building Fund will help us provide services to the Vancouver Jewish community. We also have the following special funds:

The Tzedakah Fund is for contributions to be made to charitable organizations.
The Rabbi's Benevolent Fund is reserved for those in need, under the discretion of the Rabbi.
The Lisa Nemetz Or Shalom School Educational Fund is to upgrade the skills of students who require extra tutoring.
The Len Ryant Or Shalom Children's Fund is to enrich children's experience during Shabbat and other times at Or Shalom.
The Shiva and Gemilut Chesed Fund responds to the needs of members who are overcoming an illness, or have experienced a family death.

The Ethan Minovitz Fund is be used to to assist Or Shalom in welcoming members who need assistance with annual dues. 

Donors will receive tax receipts. Any persons you wish to honour will be notified of your gift, and their name mentioned in our newsletter, Keren Or. We have a secure method of online transactions, so you may donate securely using the "CanadaHelps" button on the home page.  Or you could mail your contributions to 
      710 East 10th Ave 
  
  Vancouver, BC    V5T 2A7 
or contact Or Shalom's Administrator by phone (604 - 872-1614) or by email.

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FoodEating together is an enthusiastically pursued mitzvah at Or Shalom. The Or Shalom kitchen and facilities are all dairy/vegetarian, but not strictly Kosher. We prefer products which bear a Kosher seal, but do not require such, provided that nothing served contains meat or shellfish. Read the ingredients! If you are still not clear about what to bring to an Or Shalom potluck, remember that fresh fruit and vegetables are always a welcome addition.

Adam va-Adamah, the local Jewish environmental group, has prepared a list of kosher organic products available in Vancouver. That list will also lead you to links to several Orthodox kashrut websites.

A complete Guide to Kiddush and Kitchen provides answers to your questions about potluck meals, running the dishwasher, hosting a kiddush, sources of kosher foods, snacks for kids, etc.

Please avoid serving nuts and other foods likely to cause allergic reactions. If you have allergies to wheat and other grains, you are not alone. Efforts are made to include non-wheat products. We hope that everyone will make the additional (small) effort of bringing a written description of their food offering, so that those seeking strictly kosher products or those with health concerns can make informed choices.

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Biblical Garden. Or Shalom’s gan, or garden, tries to grow plants that are useful for Jewish rituals and evoke the biblical Land of Israel. Check out the garden’s webpage and feel free to contact Ben Harris at benjamincerf@gmail.com for more info or to get involved.

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For further information on any of these matters
 please call Or Shalom at (604) 872-1614

 


[ Home ]

[ Asiyah ]

[ Yetzirah]

[ Briyah]

[ Atzilut]

[Calendar]

 

( Doing )

( Feeling )

( Knowing )

( Being )