Sept. 22, 2006
40 years, many hours
Temple Sholom tribute book is finally launched.
After more than 19 months, 1,000 hours of work, several editorial
debates and the contribution of countless congregation members,
Temple Sholom - Our Story (1965-2205/5726-5766) was
launched at the shul Sept. 13 to a modest, but receptive audience
of about 50 people.
Rebbetzin Cathy Bregman said the somewhat low turnout was not indicative
of support for the project, and that a large number of congregation
members were involved in one way or another.
She said the book is significant in that it connects congregation
members to the history of the shul.
"The congregation has grown dramatically, and I think that
there are a lot of people who are no longer connected to what it
used to be, in the beginning," she explained. "This will
give them a sense of where it came from, and why it is as warm and
engaging and inclusive as it is today."
Rochelle Garfinkel, synagogue administrator and one of four editors
who has dedicated the last year and a half to the book, said there
were things that could have been done better from a production point
of view, but that for the next book, they'll know to do things a
As a fairly new member of the congregation, she said that she learned
a lot by participating in the creation of the book.
"I've got a real respect for what they [the founders] have
accomplished in such a short time," Garfinkel said.
Not only was the book, in the form of a textbook with an accompanying
seven-hour DVD, launched to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the
synagogue, but also the more than 25 years Rabbi Philip Bregman
has dedicated to the shul. Bregman said he's seen many changes in
his years at Temple Sholom.
"When we came here, we were 70 families. We're now 700 families,"
Bregman said. "We weren't in this building, we were in a little
building on West 10th ... the scope of the programming, the staff.
I mean, every aspect of the synagogue has changed."
He said the book will give congregation members something concrete
to refer to.
"We have an oral tradition in Judaism and we have a written
tradition, and the oral tradition ultimately itself got written
down," Bregman said. "When you have it written down, people
can actually then refer to it, and go to it and say, 'aha!'
"It's something that's very tangible," he continued. "While
the oral tradition is important, it's very important to hand a kid
a book and say, 'Look, this is where this came from. Here you are
reaping the benefits of religious school, youth group or camp
it didn't just drop out of the sky. There were dedicated men and
women and teachers and rabbis and presidents of boards who came
together and made this happen.' "
Besides unveiling the new written history of Temple Sholom, the
event included food and drink, a piano performance, speeches made
by the rabbi, four editors, Cantor Arthur Guttman and congregation
member John Henry. Also, a history quiz was handed out to audience
members, and an answer period followed the speeches, during which
congregation members were tested on the extensiveness of their knowledge
of Temple Sholom.
As for the future, Bregman said, "It's an open book. This is
only the first 40 years of Temple Sholom. God willing, there'll
be a book when she's 120."
Veronika Stewart is a Vancouver freelance writer.