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Goodbye Speeches from our 2018/19 Shinshinim, Noa and Itamar.

2019-06-25 02:50:51 PM

Jun25

This past year, Darchei Noam was fortunate to have two wonderful Shinshinim, Noa and Itamar. On Saturday, June 8, they addressed our Shabbat congregants to say goodbye and tell us about all that they had learned during their year in Toronto.

Here is the transcript of their speeches:

Shabbat Shalom,

Being a Shinshin in Toronto has meant a great deal to me. It meant leaving my family, the kibbutz and my home, Israel, but standing here today, I can say it also meant experiencing an adventure of a lifetime.

At the age of 18, I was given the chance to go live abroad for a year, and I got the opportunity to represent Israel in the Diaspora, in Toronto, where I was greeted with warmth and kindness by the amazing Jewish Community of this city everywhere I went. Families opened their houses for me for 5 months each, and I created a home away from home. This experience has resulted in a lot of personal growth for me, and has helped me mould my Jewish, Israeli and personal identities.

Stepping into the sanctuary at Darchei Noam every Saturday was something that was very new to me. I didn’t know a lot of prayers, I didn’t know the difference between the different types of Judaism, and, frankly, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. However, this Congregation has shown me how much beauty and grace the Jewish religion can have. After just one or two services, I found myself humming prayers in Darchei Noam’s unique melody, as I walked down the street.

I was also amazed by your community’s love for Israel and the strong sense of belonging your services gave me. I also got the opportunity to learn what an Egalitarian Synagogue is and how beautiful it is to be a part of one.

It is really important for me to say thank you to you all for making this year possible. Todah Rabbah to all of you for accepting us into your Congregation and always making us feel welcome. Thank you for making this place a second home for us and treating us like part of your Darchei Noam family. Thank you for listening to our monthly Hadashot Tovot, for participating at our Hebrew tables, שולחן שינשינים, and events throughout the year. Thank you for the chance to work with your awesome Hebrew school where we could teach about Shvil Israel. You gave us the opportunity to bring “our own” Israel to you.

When I finish my time here, I will go home, join the IDF, go to university, maybe travel a bit, and one day I hope to have a family. 

The lesson I learned for myself this year, is not just to be Israel’s voice in the Diaspora (which will not end end when I come home, no matter where my life in Israel takes me), but that I also have a responsibility to be the Diaspora’s voice in Israel. I will spread the word of what it means to live a Jewish life in the Diaspora and how much importance communities such as yours have for the State of Israel, and of course for me personally.

It feels weird to think that next Shabbat I will walk into this sanctuary for the last time, I will miss these services, I’ll miss the music and this loving and caring community. Thank you very much, and for the last time,

Shabbat Shalom,

Itamar

___________________________________________________________________

Shalom everyone,

What an incredible year I’ve had, I can’t believe that it’s almost over. I learned so much this year, about being independent, about being Jewish outside of Israel, and I also learned the importance of building a strong Jewish community in the Diaspora. I want to take everything I learned this year and bring it back with me to Israel. For me, these memories and life experiences will become a living bridge between the Toronto Jewish Community and my community in Israel. Before this year, I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of community.

Two years ago, I was part of a delegation called “Diller Teen Fellows,” which was comprised of Israeli, American and Canadian teenagers. During this program, we had conversations about which components make up Jewish identity. While every single one of the North American students said that “Community” is the biggest component of their Jewish identity, none of the Israelis mentioned it. As Israelis, we were so surprised to hear that community was so important.

In Israel we are surrounded by a Jewish community automatically, and we sometimes take it for granted that we are part of a community. Because we live in Israel and are obviously all Jewish, we don’t need to work for it, but here in the Diaspora people need to work to be Jewish. They send their children to Jewish Day Schools, or Sunday Schools, Jewish Camps and Youth Movements. They go to Shul every Shabbat and on Jewish Holidays. Only this year, when I was working in this beautiful community, did I realize the REAL meaning of this word community, and what it means to me. Only this year, I truly understood what the North American students meant.

Still, every Jew, whether in Israel or in the Diaspora has a role to continue the Jewish culture and faith. And yet, while we are separated by 9,000km, we are truly united as a nation.

Someone once asked me during Kiddush: “what is your favourite part about the service”. And without even thinking twice, I said Birkat Hashalom. Every Shabbat during the service, when we do this blessing, we always make sure that no one stands alone. We gather and put the Talit on each other. I’m always amazed when I look around and see everyone together as one. It truly feels like I’m part of a community, where no one stands alone. It’s such an incredible feeling the way we stand united as one. I am so grateful to have had this special experience.

I want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us this year. Thank you for always listening to our Chadashot Tovot during service. Thank you for joining us at our Shinshinim table. Your warmth and welcoming love have been felt every Shabbat deep in my heart.

Thank you for making me feel like this is my home away from home. Now I can proudly say: I am a part of your community. Thank you for being my community this year and forever.

All the best,

Noa

Fri, 14 May 2021 3 Sivan 5781