Jeremy Parnes

Jeremy Parnes received his Smicha

On January 8, 2012, Jeremy Parnes, our new Rabbi, received his Smicha! We've posted a photos of the ceremony for all to see this momentus occasion.

 

Please see pictures below

 

We are living in a fearful world with corrupt politicians and a questionable mainstream press and power mongers determined to maintain their own selfish agendas. Anti-Semitism is on the rise, in a recent report in the USA, anti-Semitic acts were up 60% and yet Jews represent less than 2% of the population. We are living at a time where membership in our Centre and volunteers are hard to come by and those who are stepping up are getting tired. There is much we cannot do about this and yet there is much we can. To paraphrase a famous saying of Rabbi Tarfon:

 

“The day is short, the work formidable....the employer impatient.... It’s not your job to finish the work, neither are you free to walk away from it.”

(Mishnah Avot/Ethics of our fathers Chapter: 2)

 

For me and for your Board of Directors the work is about giving people a reason to be an active part of our community. It may be as critical as providing the services of our Chevra Kadisha. It may be about revisiting our traditional prayer services and seeing how they might be more meaningful to us today. We have legacy work to do. We have to ensure that there is something to pass on to the next generation. And we have to guide the next generation to realize that there is something here worth having and work with them helping them to understand why they should step up and continue the work.

 

We have witnessed the change in complexion of our community and the dramatic changes taking place in the world. We have been through difficult times and endured. Our community has gradually and thoughtfully morphed from Orthodox to a more liberal style all while trying hard not to throw the baby out with the bath water. We have done well but more needs doing.

 

There are of course many more reasons for us to continue to exist both on a personal community level, within the larger community and as we seek to respond to world events, especially as they impact the greater Jewish community. But we need your help.

 

We can start with donations to UIA. 40% of every dollar donated to UIA comes back into our community to help support initiatives such as the new programs introduced by our Shlichim Yaniv and Sapir. We can support JNF, who is involved in forestry, greening our homeland of Israel and water projects that impact not just Israel but the whole region. And just as important we need also to step up and be active and participating members of our Beth Jacob Community. The world, and Regina, has serious problems and we have a history of providing a safe haven for Jews from around the globe and contributing in significant ways to our greater Regina community. We need to continue this work. We need to insure the future of our community for the next generation. Today it is more vital than ever. And we need all of you both young and old alike.

 

Someone once challenged me on this. Why, if we are supposed to exist, if God has covenanted our purpose and existence as an example to the world, do we need to do anything? Surely if God ordains it, it shall be?

 

My answer was to be found in Torah. If you read about the life of Abraham in Genesis, you will learn that in his senior years, after his wife Sarah had died, he didn’t slow down. In fact, he got busier. To paraphrase Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, he had been promised that he would have children and future generations that would become a people and go on to inherit a land that would be inhabited by them. But at his advanced age he reviewed his life and realized that he had neither. He had not done his part to ensure this legacy. He had no land and no future generations - his son Isaac was without a wife.

 

The Holy One of Blessing had Covenanted it to him but a covenant requires commitment from both parties. This is when, as old as he was, instead of slowing down he got busy. He purchased the cave and field at Machpelah establishing a foot hold in the land promised him and then he found an appropriate wife, Rebekah, for his son Isaac so as to ensure the future establishment of his people. Without these two critical acts the covenant could not be realized. Of course, that legacy was just the beginning. It was now up to the next generations to ensure, that the process would continue.

 

This reminds me that we are never too old and retirement does not mean giving up. For our younger members it means stepping up and joining us in this amazing Jewish project of almost 4000 years (113 in Regina).

 

And if you are unsure of its importance to you, to your community, to Regina, I would be delighted to chat with you.

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