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March/April Update

Dear Friends,
 
Congratulations to those of you who have " braved" it through this harsh Ottawa winter and welcome home to our Snowbirds. Spring has now officially arrived and with it lots more exciting programming and activities at Kehillat Beth Israel.
 
The Purim party was a huge success. There were megillah readings for both young and old
and the pews were filled with people in wonderful costumes. Everyone got into the fun and merriment with our Rabbi Kenter changing his outfit three times during the evening.
 
 
Speaking of Rabbi Kenter, on behalf of your Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that we have renewed his contract for the next 5 years. We look forward to continuing our relationship with him and his beautiful family and working with him as our congregation evolves and develops into a forward-thinking and progressive synagogue of the 21st Century.
 
The dinner with Israeli writer, international speaker, social media activist and advocate Hen Mazzig kept the audience spell-bound as he recounted his experience serving five years as an openly gay commander in the IDF. Working as a Lieutenant in the COGAT (military government) unit, Hen's unit oversaw construction of medical facilities, schools, environmental projects, roads and water-related infrastructure, and coordinated with the Palestinian Security Forces, part of the PA. Many thanks to David Roytenberg and his Programming Committee for again bringing us such an interesting event.
 
Many thanks to Mordechai Brodt for adapting the Slack app, which is a team messaging application, and which KBI is using to help coordinate minyan attendance. You are all invited to join the KBI minyan Slack channel. You can install the Slack app for iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. You can also use it in your desktop browser. For full information on hoe to register, click here. If you need help with the app, please contact Mordechai for assistance. It is a wonderful convenience to help enable those who wish to recite Kaddish ensure there is a full minyan.
 
For quite some time, we have been in discussion with the Ottawa Va'ad HaKashrut, (OVH), to arrive at a mutually beneficial plan regarding the operation of the kitchens at KBI. This was to address operational and financial concerns as brought to us by our members, and I am delighted to remind the congregation, as Rabbi Kenter had announced in a previous bulletin, that an agreement was reached and has taken effect as of April 1st
 
Essentially this agreement means that the kitchens at KBI are no longer under the exclusive control of the OVH but will now be primarily under the auspices of Rabbi Kenter. He will set the appropriate kashruth policies and most foods served at KBI will be under his supervision. When there is a bar/bat mitzvah, wedding or other event when an OVH caterer is actively cooking in the kitchens or an individual wishes for a function to be under the supervision of OVH, the Ottawa Va'ad HaKashruth will prepare the kitchens and supervise those events that take place within the synagogue.
 
I would like to stress that OVH and KBI will continue to have a productive and supportive relationship and we definitely look forward to continued collaboration in the future. Lorne Goldstein, phrased it best in his report to our Board saying,
 
"As a representative of Kehillat Beth Israel (KBI) on the Ottawa Va'ad HaKashrut (OVH), I am very glad that Rabbi Kenter and Rabbi Teitlebaum have come to a mutually acceptable agreement. I believe that this result promotes both the importance of Kashrut in Ottawa and the vision of KBI. It is important that KBI keep its voice on the OVH and throughout all the Ottawa Jewish Community social organizations while being true to its mandate. I thank both Rabbis for their diligence and happily endorse the result."
 
The Ottawa Kosher Food Bank has taken on a fundraising project of branded grocery bags. These blue twill light-weight yet sturdy totes are perfect to "bag" your groceries. At $20.00 for 5 bags not only can you replace your old soiled bags but you also assist in funding the Food Bank. To increase the revenue to the Food Bank, the bags will be available for sale (cash only, please!) for the next few weeks at Loblaws College Square, in a booth in the Kosher department. We need your help - anyone willing to volunteer manning the booth can contact Alyce Baker
 
As President, I have been privy to a lot of the operational and other goings-on at KBI. One thing that has amazed me is how busy our facility is during the week. The Ottawa Talmud Torah afternoon school and many other regional organizations and groups utilize our space for meetings, their AGMs, training sessions and ongoing classes and events. Walking through our halls, one can regularly hear recorders playing, singing and people getting together for social action, learning and fun.
 
I was previously unaware of the large involvement of our clergy with the secular and non-Jewish religious school Boards that regularly bring their students to KBI to learn about our religion and practices. Just last week, Cantor Green hosted a large group from Mer Bleue, College Catholique.   Indeed, Rabbi Kenter had immediately reached out to our Ottawa Muslim community after the horrifying attack in New Zealand. I know through these and other ongoing activities we are building strong bridges in the community with our neighbours, which I am confident will make the world a happier and safer place.
 
 
Respectfully submitted
Helen Zipes
President, KBI
Sat, 25 January 2020 28 Tevet 5780