Like so many other parents who had a son approaching Bar Mitzvah age, my husband and I went shul-shopping with a list of items that were important to us. We wanted to join a synagogue that honoured tradition but was able to embrace change, a synagogue where our daughter would also be able to have a similar coming of age experience as her brother. We chose to join Shaare Zion Congregation with its beautiful sanctuary, inspiring Shabbat service, wonderful choir, and warm and welcoming congregants. And, as we had hoped for, both our son and daughter learned how to wear tefillin and talitot, read Torah and chant the Haftarah, and perform various Aliyot.
We joined Shaare Zion because of our children, but remained because it satisfied most of our needs and expectations: a daily Minyan, approachable clergy, beautiful cantorial music, thought-provoking sermons, a friendly community and a means to connect to Judaism and Jewish culture.
My experiences at Shaare Zion haven’t always been happy ones. Sitting on the Board of Trustees and the Executive, and now being president of Sisterhood, I have had many passionate disagreements over how things should be done. But I have learned a few things in my journey as a synagogue volunteer, first and foremost being that a synagogue cannot be all things to all people. We all have different opinions and compromise and mutual respect should be our watchwords.
Most importantly, instead of wondering why somebody didn‘t do something about a certain issue, I realized I could be that somebody. And although I may disagree with their approach, I understand that the other volunteers who make decisions about our synagogue do so with sincerity, with no motive other than preserving the rich heritage bestowed upon us by past members.
We are a congregation of talented, intelligent people with varied interests and backgrounds. I strongly encourage all of you to join one of our committees. Our synagogue can benefit from your experience.
If you have any ideas for programmes, speakers, and events, please feel free to contact me anytime at